Christian Watson hasn’t gotten the chance to speak with his new quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, just yet, but the Green Bay Packers’ newest wide receiver has an idea of what he’ll say when he finally talks with the four-time NFL MVP.
“I’ll say I’m ready to work, I’m ready to learn and I’m ready to get after it,” Watson told reporters on April 29 after the Packers drafted him in the second round of the 2022 NFL draft. “I know he’s going to be tough on me, and that’s exactly what I want. I want someone who is going to continue to push me to be the best possible player I can be, and I know that with him being one of the greatest that he’s going to get everything out of me. So shoot, I’m going to tell him I’m ready to work and ready to go.”
The Packers finally got their receiver on the second night of the 2022 NFL draft when they traded both of their second-round picks — Nos. 53 and 59 — to the Minnesota Vikings to move up for Watson at No. 34 overall. The 22-year-old receiver caught 43 passes for 801 yards and seven touchdowns for the Bison in 2021 and added another 114 yards and a touchdown as a rusher. He also clocked the 10th-fastest time in the 40-yard dash (4.36 seconds) at the NFL scouting combine, rating sixth-best among the receivers.
As the second pick of the second round, Watson is one of the highest-selected wide receivers in franchise history. The Packers have only ever drafted five receivers at a high position than Watson, all of them being first-round selections. They have also had a good track record with second-round receivers over the past few decades with a list that includes Jordy Nelson (No. 36 in 2008), Greg Jennings (No. 52 in 2006), Davante Adams (No. 53 in 2014) and Randall Cobb (No. 64 in 2011).
“It was surreal,” Watson said. “I’ve been playing this game since I was 4 years old. It’s something I’ve dreamed of since then. It was surreal. And to be able to be in such a successful and dominant and great organization is amazing. And I’m excited to be on the Packers for sure and obviously being able to catch passes from one of the best to ever do it is something I’m definitely excited about. I think I’m going to be able to learn and grow a lot, not just through him but all of the other receivers and everyone else in the organization as well. But I definitely couldn’t be more excited to go at it with Aaron Rodgers.”
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Rodgers Was Among First to Text Watson
Rodgers and Watson might not have had an actual phone conversation before he spoke to members of the media on Friday night, but it sounds like they have at least had some form of contact. According to Dom Izzo — a sports director for WDAY Sports in Fargo, North Dakota where Watson went to college — he was told by Watson’s father that Rodgers was the first person to text his son after the Packers drafted him.
What makes the moment even cooler is the shared experience between father and son. Watson’s dad, Tim Watson, was actually drafted by the Packers himself in the sixth round of the 1993 NFL draft. He was a safety out of Howard who didn’t catch on with the team as a rookie, but he later played for a few seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs as well as the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.
Now, his son gets a chance to grow the family legacy with the Packers as a presumptive contender to start at wide receiver next season. Watson wasn’t willing to make any leaps or assumptions about what his role could be in his first season in Green Bay, but he does know he is ready to get to work and embrace whatever assignment they give him — whether it be a true starting wideout, a kick returner or anything in between.
“I see myself as whatever the Packers organization wants to put me as,” Watson said. “Obviously, I’d love to return kicks and do whatever. That’s definitely something I would enjoy doing, but in terms of my role with the Green Bay Packers, that’s something I will earn and will continue to know what that will be as I get there and get to work.”