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Christian Watson: Rookie Report Card

Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State University

6’4/ 204lbs

COLLEGE STATS

PLAYER PROFILE ANALYTICS

Overall: 70

Best Landing Spots: KC, NYJ, NYG, GB, DET, SF

Summary:

Christian Watson is a very hard eval for me. Athletically, there are few people on earth as gifted as Christian Watson. The 6’4″, 208-pound WR can be lined up as the X, Z, slot, RB, and he can probably even return kicks! He flashes superb route running, is a home run threat, has great burst and quickness in congested areas, and also unbelievable game-changing speed. There are times when your jaw will drop watching Christian Watson play football.

However, It’s not all sunshine and roses. Christian Watson is a raw talent and he’s getting taken in the 2nd round of rookie drafts for good reasons. He has a really bad career drop rate at 12.7% and never even topped 1,000 receiving yards at NDSU.  That is certainly a cause for concern. Other issues include clapping his hands at the point of catch, very suspect ball tracking, and some concentration woes. I do think it’s worth noting that he had a horrible QB and scheme in 2021. I also think it’s worth noting that he got a lot of rushing touches, compiling 392 yards on the ground—he was not used as a typical WR at NDSU.

I am more comfortable betting on Watson with a stacked team. If you got the cheese to bet, I am comfortable making the bet at 2.06 or later. If he puts in the work and fixes his issues, he can be the WR1 in this class. Just has to hone in on the nuances of the position. I want him to go to a good team with great coaching. I believe that’s his only shot at hitting his ceiling.

FF Upside:  8

  • Anywhere from WR90 to a top-10 talent.
  • Josh Allen of WR- he’s a project, but if he hits he could be an absolute monster for FF for years to come.
  • His natural ability is unreal, but in my opinion, he is a raw talent that will need a couple of years of great coaching.

Route Running (RR): 6

  • He can be too slow when he’s selling a vertical route and breaks it off into a curl, minimizing separation.
  • Also uses improper technique running a curl—his head should be over his knees instead of leaning back as he does on film, which is what slows him down during his break.
  • His speed in and out of his cuts is a problem.
  • He can run right into coverage at times instead of selling a fake route before making his cut.
  • Pretty good footwork at the line of scrimmage.
  • Good hip speed for his size.
  • Does put together some nice routes on tape—you can see flashes of it.
  • Can lose in press coverage.
  • Can widen routes in press-man coverage.

Hands/Ball Tracking: 5

  • Sometimes can’t judge where the ball will land at all—lays out for a ball that’s nowhere near him.
  • Needs to find the ball quicker.
  • Claps at the ball at the point of the catch instead of using firm—yet soft—hands
  • Ball tracking is as big of a concern as his hands are.
  • Show flashes of incredible catches.
  • Looks like most of his drops are due to concentration with hands too far apart.
  • Shows moments of nice catching ability, just inconsistent.
  • Shows flashes of really strong hands at the point of the catch.
  • Definitely flashes NFL-type catches.

Run After Catch Ability (RAC):  8

  • Can take any play to paydirt.
  • Great burst through tight lanes.
  • Good vision and understands angles well in the run game.
  • Understands how to read blocking angles.
  • He can change direction ridiculously fast for his size.
  • Can hold the ball a little too far away from his body at times.
  • Very explosive first step.
  • Elite ball carrier skills in my opinion.
  • Usually eats defenders to the outside.
  • Can flip his hips north and south as he secures the ball.
  • Usually falls forward.
  • Can regain balance quickly.
  • Great lateral agility for his size.
  • Almost like a TE after the catch.

Body Control/Contested Catch Ability: 6

  • Uses his frame well to shield the ball from defenders.
  • Poor timing in some jump ball situations.
  • Can take a hit while securing the ball and hang on to it.
  • Looks comfortable in crowded areas.
  • Goes straight up and down on jump balls, maximizing his height.
  • Shows ability to come up with 2-on-1 footballs

Physicality: 8

  • Can abuse DBs with his size and strength.
  • Not afraid to lower shoulder.
  • Can get bumped off route.
  • Lots of plays where multiple DBs are needed to take him down.

Awareness: 5

  • Understands how to read blocking angles.
  • Knows where to attack in scramble drills.
  • Keeps plays alive.
  • Uses suspect technique sometimes and has some focus problems.

Possible Roles on Offense:

  • Great blocker who will not be taken off the field as a blocking liability.
  • Definitely has the ability to become an alpha WR who can play the X for a team.
  • Not just an X—can take jet sweeps all the way and can probably line up anywhere. 
  • Can be used out of backfield—8.0 YPC in college.
  •  Let him return kicks as a rookie—not punts (hands), but kick returns.

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Written by Scott Acquard

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