This is the time of year when NFL Draft experts and other analysts bust out the comparisons between incoming rookie and current NFL superstar. And a surely popular one during the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis will be if someone is comparable to Deebo Samuel of the San Francisco 49ers.
You’ll have those who look at the film and determine if he has those “bully runs” like Samuel, can execute the receiving route tree like the 49ers All-Pro and if he’s an instant game-changer like the San Francisco star was this past season for the NFC runner-up.
Well, one NFL analyst from NBC Sports Edge has found his prospect who he says he has seen doing “Deebo Samuel-type stuff.”
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Analyst is Fan of College Star & Former Teammate of Current 49er
Thor Nystrom during the Monday, February 28 edition of “A Good Football Show” podcast let it be known he is high on non-Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) prospect Christian Watson out of North Dakota State…better known to fans, pundits and scouts as the former go-to wide receiver for 49ers quarterback Trey Lance.
Nystrom is putting aside the fact that Watson hails from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Watson isn’t just one with the physically freakish intangibles at 6-foot-4, 210-pounds, but Nystrom shared how at NDSU, Watson was the “Samuel” of the Bison offense.
“We know he’s a burner because when you were watching the Trey Lance film last year, the guy at the end of all those bombs was Christian Watson. And also, if you watch a little bit more of the film, you saw Christian Watson doing some all sorts of cool other type of things: End arounds or even in the backfield, just getting handoffs. You saw him doing some Deebo Samuel-type stuff,” Nystrom said near the 13:57 mark.
Nystrom added that out of all the wideouts preparing to run first when the combine starts field workouts for each position group on Thursday, March 3, it was Watson who boosted his stock prior to the event — because of his stellar Senior Bowl performance in January 2022.
“Christian Watson, to be clear, has probably gained the most of the wide receiver class just off of what he’s done at the Senior Bowl,” Nystrom said.
Watson Played in Offense Similar to 49ers
Surprisingly, Watson didn’t put up the most eye-catching numbers at Fargo, North Dakota.
In fact, in looking at his NDSU career stats, Watson never surpassed 1,000-yards receiving or scored past 10 touchdowns in a a single season.
One reason why his receiving numbers weren’t on the astronomical side was Watson played in a scheme catered more to the run. But he told reporter Marcus Johnson of SB Nation’s Silver & Black Pride that he embraced the plays that didn’t require the ball thrown his way during his combine interview.
Speaking of plays that didn’t involve an air strike, here’s the “Samuel-type” stuff that Nystrom alluded to:
And another, this one clipped by ESPN’s Matt Bowen:
But outside of designed runs for Watson or Lance feeding him the ball, Watson proved he can still thrive without his college teammate of three seasons.
Nystrom is a believer in Watson’s “Samuel-like” abilities. And he believes Watson could go higher than expected.
“Coming into the process, I think he was in the middle rounds: Fourth round or maybe fifth round. And now, he’s certainly gone up in the top 100 or so,” Nystrom said. “But I think he can lock himself into the top 50 and maybe, start to go in the fringe of the back half of the first round if he dominates at the combine like I think he can and he will.”