The Packers’ rookie talent is one of the biggest draft mistakes

Matt LaFleur, Packer


Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers celebrates on the sidelines during the second half of the game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field September 18, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

A savvy front office and a generation of Aaron Rodgers under middle have helped the Green Bay Packers remain annual contenders for the past 15 years, but even the savviest franchises occasionally make a misstep.

That’s what David Kenyon of Bleacher Report blamed the Packers on Tuesday, Sept. 27, when they decided to trade to the top of the second round to pick wide receiver Christian Watson from North Dakota State University.

Just three weeks into his first season, a strong case could be made that judgment on Watson should be withheld, particularly until he gets a chance to prove sane. However, Kenyon laid out his case for Green Bay and already wished for an “overhaul” as far as Watson was concerned.

At the moment, the Green Bay Packers had no idea how receivers could fly off the board after an opening round in which six wideouts were selected. So the Packers traded and took Christian Watson in 34th place overall.

In that deal, they sent pick #53 to the Minnesota Vikings, who later traded that pick to the Indianapolis Colts. Indianapolis took Alec Pierc at No. 53.

Pierce’s early signs were promising. He had three catches for 61 yards last Sunday as the Colts defeated the Kansas City Chiefs. Meanwhile, Watson is already behind Green Bay’s fourth-round pick Romeo Doubs.

Had the Packers not jumped on the board for Watson, they could have retained the 59th pick overall and had a great opportunity to bolster their defensive depth with edge-rushers Drake Jackson or security Bryan Koch. Both were selected within three spots of #59.

Injuries have marred Watson’s start at Packers since preseason

GettyGreen Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson on the touchline during the second quarter of a game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on September 18, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

There is no dispute that Watson stumbled out of the gate. Nothing symbolized his start with the Packers better than the offense’s first game from scrimmage in 2022, when Watson defeated Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson on the field and dropped a 75-yard walk-in touchdown that sent him straight in hit the hands.

Including that wasted look, the receiver was tackled just seven times and made just five catches for 43 yards two stakes. Some of his issues clearly stem from the fact that he missed most of preseason due to minor knee surgery, which has clearly changed his learning curve and hampered the growth of his chemistry with Rodgers.

To make matters worse, Watson was sidelined for Green Bay’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week because of a hamstring strain. His status for this weekend’s showdown with the visiting New England Patriots remained unclear Tuesday.

Romeo Doubs stock is moving in the opposite direction from Watsons

Romeo Doubs, Packer

GettyGreen Bay Packers wide receiver Romeo Doubs jumps into the stands after a touchdown reception against the New Orleans Saints during a preseason game at Lambeau Field August 19, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

While Watson is already being smeared, perhaps far too early in his professional career, Doubs has been hailed as a 2022 draft class bargain.

The fourth-round pick literally “wowed” Rodgers during the preseason, as the quarterback praised Doubs’ performances on multiple occasions. Doubs’ first two professional appearances have been a bit of a drag, but he came on with eight catches for 73 yards and a touchdown in Tampa Bay last Sunday. He has totaled 16 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown so far this season.

With Sammy Watkins on IR for at least the next three games, Doubs looks likely to land a regular role in the Green Bay starting lineup — a job he’s unlikely to lose to Watkins, Watson, or anyone else if he keeps playing the way he did it against the Bucs.

But even if Doubs is climbing faster than his rookie counterpart Watson, Packers fans can look forward to the young pass-catching duo. Watson has plenty of time to turn things around and if he does, Green Bay could be well placed for the foreseeable future in a position that gave them all kinds of headaches earlier this season. The Packers’ rookie talent is one of the biggest draft mistakes

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