NFL Pre-Draft Scouting Report of Green Bay Packers WR Christian Watson: Matt Waldman’s RSP Sample

Matt Waldman’s RSP shares his sample scouting report of Green Bay Packers’ WR Christian Watson, whose highs and lows as a rookie were expected based on the combination of his athletic ability and technical lapses. 

Christian Watson’s Pre-NFL Draft Scouting Report

The report below is the draft profile from the 2022 Rookie Scouting Portfolio, the most comprehensive NFL Draft and Fantasy-Dynasty publication of its kind available for rookie prospects at the skill positions. Entering its 18th year of publication, Matt Waldman’s RSP is one of the most purchased cross-checking resources for NFL scouts, according to college recruiting directors like SMU’s Alex Brown, who meets with scouts weekly.

For more samples from past publications, here’s a page with a list of links

To learn more about Matt Waldman’s RSP and how to purchase it, here’s the pill that will take you down the rabbit hole.


Player: Christian Watson
RSP Ranking: WR6
Height: 6-4 Weight: 208 School: North Dakota State        
Comparison Spectrum: Javon Walker-Martavis Bryant-X- -Stephen Hill

Depth of Talent Score: 82.9 = Rotational Starter: Executes at a starter level in a role, playing to their strengths.

Games Tracked:

The Elevator Pitch for Watson: The upside player worth taking earlier than his small-school billing in this receiver class is Watson. Tall, agile, fast, and bursting with developing skills, Watson may have dominated the lesser competition but the plays he made are rooted in athletic ability and positional skills that will translate.

Part of that acclimation will be adding weight to his frame, which Watson’s body can support. Expect Watson to be much closer to 220-225 pounds by 2024 and potentially more explosive than he already is. He has special teams experience with kick returns both as a return man and a blocker.

Although part of a small-school program, his experience as a route runner in pro-style offense gives him a sound technical foundation to build on. Releases, setups, and breaks will all need to improve but the understanding of how to create favorable leverage and earn separation is a part of his game. Combined with his elite size and length, Watson has the foundation to become a skilled route runner.

The area Watson needs to address first is his hands’ technique at the catch point. While capable of difficult catches that require athletic adjustments, high-level tracking, and/or contact with a defender to win the ball, Watson has lapses with attacking targets that lead to unforced errors. Because the proper technique isn’t foreign to him with any type of target, these issues are more lapses in detail than a problem that will require Watson to re-work his approach to pass-catching.

Once Watson has the ball in his hands, he’s a graceful and powerful runner with curvilinear movement to take the corner without losing speed, efficient cuts to make sudden moves away from pursuit, and the finishing power and contact balance to force gang tackles against larger opponents. Give Watson a year or two to add muscle, acclimate to the physical and conceptual climb in competition, and refine his route and release skills, and he could become the player Javon Walker briefly showed the NFL over a decade ago.

Where is the player inconsistent? Hands position when attacking the football. Watson claps onto targets and based on when he does this, I suspect it’s when he’s in a hurry to get downfield rather than account for that extra layer of detail.

What is the best scheme fit? A West Coast receiver in college, getting him into a West Coast Scheme and letting him add to his body of knowledge only makes sense. Most teams run a variant of the system so the fit is more about the teams in need of a young receiver. Jacksonville, Kansas City, Tennessee, Denver, Cleveland, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Miami, Dallas, and Detroit all come to mind and this is the order I’d use a preference based on supporting talent, growth potential, and fit.

What is his ceiling scenario? Watson could become a top-12 producer at his position during his peak years.

What is his floor scenario? Watson shrinks from the bigger stage, has difficulty acclimating, and develops beyond a situational contributor/reserve with promising moments but never puts it all together.

Physical: Watson is comfortable against contact as a runner, pass catcher, and blocker.

Technical: The ability to catch the ball with the proper technique with all types of targets is on film. It’s a matter of making it an ingrained habit.

Conceptual: Watson has the makings of a skilled blocker. He’s patient with setting up his assignments.

Intuitive: Watson is a decisive runner in the open field who processes information fast.

Build: Well-built right now, Watson has the frame to add the weight associated with a primary receiver who can hold up anywhere on the field.

Releases: Watson has a staggered stance with 80/20 weight distribution favoring his front foot. His arms hang at either side of his front leg and his hands are uncrossed. He rolls off his front foot during his release with his pads over his knees and no wasted movement during the get-off.

Watson gets his pads over his knees during his release but doesn’t sell a hard sprint. His pads can be lower and he doesn’t fully pump his arms with a sprinter’s motion.

Watson will steal a release on run plays and then run the defender downfield until it’s time for him to engage as a blocker. He uses small hesitation steps as one of the moves in his arsenal.

When he uses a quick-two, he can be explosive. He’ll also pair it or a foot switch with a wipe.

He has a read step and swat combo that works well enough for him to attack the leverage of the cornerback and then counter the defender’s hands with his.

Separation: He has notable acceleration for his size and can earn separation against off-coverage with just straight-line speed. He also can work through contact and stack a defender within the first 15 yards.

Route Stems: He’ll set up out-breaking routes with a good dive inside during his initial release and stem. He’ll widen a defender during the initial release and stem before working back inside on the post.

Route Setups: He’ll work into the back of the defender to set up routes with breaks back to the quarterback (curls, comebacks, and outs) as well as double moves.

Route Breaks: His three-step releases on stop routes are effective against off-coverage. His break step and drive steps are flat enough but his line steps aren’t and he drifts out of speed breaks. He will get his head around early and create a friendly target with his chest and pads once he’s into his break. He works back to the quarterback out of breaks on shallow and intermediate routes.

He needs a deeper break step in dig routes and he must learn to accelerate in and out of breaks. He decelerates too much and his breaks are slow.

Watson displays some weight drop for a hitch-and-go.

Zone Routes: Watson will tempo his breaks after identifying the second-level defender.

Route Boundary:  Watson is aware of the boundary and will tap both feet inbounds on routes breaking tight to the sideline.

Pass Tracking: He leaves his feet unnecessarily with targets he’s breaking back to and then arrive at his numbers or even his belt line. He may be leaving his feet in anticipation of contact to his back. He can track high targets over his shoulder and make the catch as well as the more difficult tracking of targets directly over his head. He does the same with vertical routes, including tilting his back shoulder for balls just behind his shoulder.

Hands/Catch Radius: He can catch with an underhand position. He has a bad habit of clapping onto targets with underhand and overhand position when he extends his arms away from his frame on targets like wide routes. This is a significant issue for him because he should be catching these targets but his technique is in the way.

When he can extend his arms with his hands tight together, he can meet the ball without clapping and he has shown correct form repeatedly with short, intermediate, and vertical routes with a range of difficulty. I’m optimistic that the clapping is a habit where he has lapses with detail when attacking targets he things are easy.

He’ll dig out low targets as well as fully extend his frame to targets away from his frame and get his hands under the ball. He’ll also fully extend with an overhand position for targets away from his shoulder with perfect technique to meet the ball.

Position: Watson needs to learn to execute a jump back where he stops his feet and then leaps and turns. Presently, he leaps and turns which causes him to fade into the coverage and he gains no separation. He’s also leaning back through the leap and it opens his chest to the defender.

Watson is better at the jump back when the coverage is in front of the target. He has to cultivate the same mentality when he’s turning back to the ball with the coverage downfield.

When he’s wide open and not in tight coverage, he can stop and leap without leaning away from the defender.

When he doesn’t have to use a jump-back, he can turn away from an opponent in tight coverage and shield the target from the defender as he makes the catch. He’ll also pull away from the defender, lifting the ball away from the opponent.

Focus: Watson can catch the ball in tight coverage when the defender is at his back. He can also take contact and reaches for his chest while he is airborne. He’ll work around the defender’s reach while airborne to catch the ball with the defender’s hand between his arms and still have the strength to maintain possession and pull the ball to his frame as he returns to the ground.

Transitions: His transitions need to be tighter. He will take wide paths when he could get downhill and drop his pads.

Elusiveness: Watson can flip his hips from a perimeter approach to a downhill approach and earn a smooth turn without losing much speed on jet sweeps. He can do the same with a two-step transition into a jump cut to avoid downhill pursuit and cut back inside a blocker. He also has the curvilinear movement to make the bend around the corner without the need for a gear-down and cut.

He has a sharp stick to set up defenders in the open field by making pursuit miss as he bounced away from the man. He has the footwork and hips to hurdle low shots—even kicking his feet and legs outside his frame before bringing them back under his frame before he lands.

Vision: He’s patient enough against unblocked defenders to freeze their pursuit with a move. He’s skilled at setting up blocks, finding cutbacks, and weaving into open lanes and away from pursuit in the open field—even when pinned the boundary during a run.

Power:  When wrapped at the lower leg, he can maintain his balance to fight forward, if not pull free. He pulls through reaches to his lower legs and has a stiff arm that’s effective at warding off reaches to his frame. He will finish runs by dropping his pads into contact, including that of linebackers.

He keeps his feet moving when wrapped high and can force gang tackling while driving forward through the contact.

Direct Contact Balance: He’ll drop a pad and lead with it to bounce off a defensive back for an extra yard or two.

Indirect Contact Balance: He can drop his pads into a linebacker and at least earn a stalemate where many would get knocked backward against a defender with 20 yards of pursuit down the line to meet him in the flat at a high rate of speed.

Blocking: Watson has the strength to pancake safeties on Most Dangerous Man Assignments. He earns a square position after breaking down within 1-2 yards of the opponent. His arms remain bent and he aims for the breastplate, at least earning a chest-to-chest position. The hands must be tighter to achieve this. He moves his feet well and locks on with enough strength to turn and drive the opponent off-balance.

He’s patient about attacking cornerbacks after running them downhill so he can remain square and not begin the block too early.

Ball Security: Watson carries the ball high enough for it to be protected if he would tighten his elbow to his side and does not swing the ball. He uses the boundary arm to carry the ball.

Durability: He missed three of the four FCS playoff games in 2021 with a hamstring strain. Otherwise, no significant injuries were reported.

Pre-NFL Draft Fantasy Advice: Watson is worth a top-30 selection in dynasty formats, especially for teams that have a block of early picks or an already strong contender that has the luxury to stash and wait. The closer the rookie draft to the NFL Draft, the more likely Watson’s value climbs to 15-20.

Boiler/Film Room Material (Links to plays):

And of course, if you want to know about the rookies from this draft class, you will find the most in-depth analysis of offensive skill players available (QB, RB, WR, and TE), with the 2022 Rookie Scouting Portfolio for $21.95. 

Matt’s new RSP Dynasty Rankings and Two-Year Projections Package is available for $24.95

If you’re a fantasy owner and interested in purchasing past publications for $9.95 each, the 2012-2020 RSPs also have a Post-Draft Add-on that’s included at no additional charge.  

If you’re a fantasy owner and interested in purchasing past publications for $9.95 each, the 2012-2020 RSPs also have a Post-Draft Add-on that’s included at no additional charge.  

Best yet, proceeds from sales are set aside for a year-end donation to Darkness to Light to combat the sexual abuse of children. 

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