Green Bay, Wes. – He’s not a first-round receiver, but for the Green Bay Packers, he’s the next best thing.
In fact, the second best thing.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst, who ran the team’s streak of not drafting a first-round receiver for 20 years on Thursday, didn’t wait long to make a move on Friday. He sent both of his second-round picks (#53 and 59) to rival Minnesota Vikings in the 34th overall pick to take North Dakota’s future Christian Watson.
Watson was the seventh recipient taken in the draft, and the first on the second day.
Watson became the latest second-round receiver drafted by the Packers, joining the likes of Davant Adams (No. 53 overall in 2014), Randall Cope (No. 64 in 2011) and Jordi Nelson (No. 36 in 2008) – all were favorite targets of the midfield star Aaron Rodgers.
“We had great success with the receivers in rounds two and three in Green Bay,” Rodgers said Thursday night on Pat McAfee’s SiriusXM and YouTube show after the Packers didn’t take a receiver in the first round. “You look at Greg Jennings, Jordi Nelson, Randall Cope, James Jones in the third round. [in 2007]Davante Adams, obviously, is in the second round. These guys turned out to be good.”
Now, Watson just has to figure out how to blend in with the Rodgers, something that used to take time in the past for young receivers.
“I’ll say I’m ready to work,” Watson said when asked what he would say to Rodgers when they meet. “I’m ready to learn and I’m ready to go after it. I know he’s going to be tough with me and that’s exactly what I want. I want someone who’s going to keep pushing me to be the best player possible. Be, and I know that with him being one of the greatest he’s going to take everything out of me, so shoot, I’ll tell him.” That I’m ready to work and shoot, I’m ready to go.”
Watson’s father, Tim, was a sixth-round pick by the Packers in 1993 as a safety. While his father never played for the Packers, he did have short stints with the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles totaling 13 games from 1993 to 1997.
When asked if his dad still has some Packers gear, Watson said, “I definitely think he has it. That was a huge achievement for him. It’s his roots, so he definitely sticks with it. I’m sure he’s got a lot of green and yellow He turned the house to cast it upon his arrival home.”
The 6-foot-4, 208-pound Watson had 43 passes for 801 yards with seven touchdowns last season for North Dakota, which won the FCS title. In four years for the Bison, he averaged 20.4 yards per catch, and also earned two returns from kicking off his landing career.
“His physical attributes and his athletic life will make it a lot easier [to contribute immediately] Milt Hendrickson, Packers’ director of football operations, said someone is 6 feet tall and 185 pounds. He’s a big guy.”
In this off-season, the Packers traded Adams, who wanted out, to the Las Vegas Raiders. The 53rd pick, which was sent to Minnesota, was part of that trade with Las Vegas, along with the 22nd overall. Green Bay also lost receivers Marquis Valdes-Scantling And Equimus Saint Brown In free agency.
The Packers’ highest return receiver is Allen Lazard, who had shot 40 for 513 yards and eight touchdowns last season. Not currently widely listed in Green Bay, including the newcomer Sammy Watkinsgot up to 400 yards last season.
Green Bay did not address the receiver issue on Thursday and instead focused on defending in the first round by taking on a pair of Georgia teammates, using the No. 22 overall pick on the linebacker. Kwai Walker and take treatment Devonty White at number 28.
The Packers haven’t picked a wide future in the first round since picking up Florida State’s Javon Walker for 20th overall in 2002.
But this is the highest Packers have taken with a receiver since Walker’s choice. While Hendrickson didn’t say if the Packers tried to get back into the first round on Thursday to pick Watson, he brought up something his old boss with the Baltimore Ravens, Ozzie Newsome, used to say.
“I’ve spent a lot of years in Baltimore [Newsome] Hendrickson always said, “Choice is just choosing to become a player. In that sense, if you like a player, you’ll find a way to get it.”
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
“Coffee ninja. Web fan. Hipster-friendly beer enthusiast. Professional creator.”