Bears & Packers May Be Competing for Same White-Hot Draft Prospect

Christian Watson

Getty Wide receiver Christian Watson of North Dakota State runs a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 03, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

North Dakota State University’s Christian Watson has been called a “dream” wide receiver for the Chicago Bears and quarterback Justin Fields.

The Bears have met with Watson at the Senior Bowl and again at the combine, per Zack Pearson of Bear Report, so there’s definite interest from Chicago’s side — but the Bears will likely have competition for his services, particularly after the wideout’s jaw-dropping performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. Per analytics expert Kent Lee Platte, Watson’s RAS (Relative Athletic Scores) ranked 5th out of 2,557 wide receivers since 1987:

Bill Huber, who covers the Green Bay Packers for Sports Illustrated, pegged Watson as the perfect replacement for wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who is set to hit free agency, and Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine named both the Bears and Packers as ideal landing spots for the NDSU standout. Thus, it’s possible the longtime NFC North rivals could be competing off the field for Watson’s services after the NFL draft kicks off on April 28.

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Watson’s Combine Performance Turned Heads

After running a 4.36-second 40-yard dash in addition to putting up a 38.5-inch vertical and 11-foot-4 broad jump at the combine, many draft experts agreed Watson upped his draft stock.

“Watson’s height ranks in the 90th percentile for wide receivers in the NFL while his 40-yard dash finished in the 92nd percentile and broad jump in the 98th percentile,” PFF’s Trevor Sikkema wrote about Watson’s combine performance on March 4, adding: “He’s leaving Indianapolis as a top-50 lock.”

“Watson showed up to Indianapolis with a lot of eyes on him, but he passed his first test with flying colors when he measured in at 6-foot-4 and 208 pounds with long 32.5-inch arms and 10.5-inch hands. Those measurements were good enough to check the boxes for a potential “X” wide receiver at the next level because he had the physical profile to overcome press coverage in the NFL,” Sikkema added.

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Bears May Have Better Shot to Nab Watson

While the Bears don’t pick at all in all first round, their first selection is in Round 2 at No. 39 overall. Green Bay has a first-round pick (No. 28), but Watson may not quite be a first-rounder considering how loaded this draft class is at receiver.

Originally projected to go in Round 3, the talented wideout’s performance at the combine helped his draft stock, but likely enough to bump him up to the second round. It’s possible he goes in the first round, and Green Bay could take Watson 28th overall. If they don’t snag him then, however, they may not have another shot.

The Packers don’t pick again until No. 59 overall, and by then, it could be too late. If Watson is still there when the Bears pick at No. 39, they should pounce. They’d be adding a solid prospect at a position of need while also keeping him out of Green Bay.

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