Packers’ Rookie Talent Named Among Biggest Draft Mistakes

Matt LaFleur, Packers

Getty Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers celebrates on the sidelines during the second half in the game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on September 18, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Awily front office and a generation of Aaron Rodgers under center have helped the Green Bay Packers remain annual contenders for the last 15 years, but even the shrewdest of franchises make the occasional misstep.

That is what David Kenyon of Bleacher Report on Tuesday, September 27, accused the Packers of doing when they decided to trade up to the top of the second round to select wide receiver Christian Watson out of North Dakota State University.

Only three weeks into his first season, a strong argument could be made that judgement on Watson should be withheld, especially until he gets a chance to prove himself healthy. That said, Kenyon laid out his case for Green Bay already wishing for a “do-over” where Watson is concerned.

In the moment, the Green Bay Packers had little idea how receivers might fly off the board following an opening round that featured six wideouts getting picked. So, the Packers traded up and took Christian Watson at No. 34 overall.

In that deal, they sent the No. 53 selection to the Minnesota Vikings, who later moved that pick to the Indianapolis Colts. Indianapolis took Alec Pierce at No. 53.

The early signs from Pierce have been promising. He hauled in three catches for 61 yards in the Colts’ upset of the Kansas City Chiefs this past Sunday. Meanwhile, Watson has already fallen behind Green Bay’s fourth-round pick, Romeo Doubs.

Had the Packers not jumped up the board for Watson, they could’ve kept the 59th overall pick and had a great opportunity to bolster their defensive depth with edge-rusher Drake Jackson or safety Bryan Cook. Both were selected within three spots of No. 59.

Injuries Have Marred Watson’s Start With Packers Since Preseason

GettyWide receiver Christian Watson of the Green Bay Packers on the sidelines during the second quarter of a game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on September 18, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

There is no disputing that Watson has stumbled out of the gate. Nothing symbolizes his start with the Packers better than the offense’s first play from scrimmage in 2022, when Watson beat Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson down the field and dropped what would have been a walk-in touchdown of 75 yards that hit him directly in the hands.

Including that wasted look, the receiver has been targeted just seven times and made only five catches for 43 yards in two game appearances. Some of his issues clearly stem from the fact that he missed most of the preseason due to a minor knee surgery, which appears clearly to have altered his learning curve and impeded the growth of his chemistry with Rodgers.

To make matters worse, a hamstring strain sidelined Watson for Green Bay’s matchup last week with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His status for this weekend’s showdown with the visiting New England Patriots remained unclear as of Tuesday.

Romeo Doubs’ Stock Heading in Opposite Direction of Watson’s

Romeo Doubs, Packers

GettyWide receiver Romeo Doubs of the Green Bay Packers leaps into the stands following a touchdown reception against the New Orleans Saints during a preseason game at Lambeau Field on August 19, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

While Watson is already being maligned, perhaps well too early in his professional tenure, Doubs has been lauded as a steal of the 2022 draft class.

The fourth-round pick literally “wowed” Rodgers during the preseason, as the quarterback offered praise for Doubs’ performances on several occasions. Doubs’ first two professional outings were a bit slow, but he burst onto the scene in Tampa Bay last Sunday with eight catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. He has tallied a total of 16 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown thus far this season.

With Sammy Watkins on IR for at least the next three games, Doubs looks likely to enter into a regular role with Green Bay’s starting lineup — a job he isn’t likely to forfeit to Watkins, Watson or anyone else if he continues playing the way he did against the Bucs.

But even as Doubs ascends more quickly than his rookie counterpart Watson, Packers fans have much to be excited about when it comes to the young pass-catching duo. Watson has plenty of time to turn things around, and if he does, Green Bay may be set up well for the foreseeable future at a position that has caused them all kinds of headaches early this season.

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William Lewis
William Lewis
2 months ago

Another sports writer smarter than the management of the team. Sounds more like fortune telling to me.

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