Christian Watson NFL Draft 2022: Scouting Report for North Dakota State WR
HEIGHT: 6'4 1/8"
HAND: 10 1/8"
ARM: 32 1/2"
WINGSPAN: 6'5 5/8"
40-YARD DASH: 4.36
— Very good height and built solidly for the position.
— Flashes understanding of route concepts and polish with his route running. Consistently gets his depth and will stay friendly to the quarterback after his route breaks.
— Good hands. Will snatch throws away from his body.
— Has build up long speed when given a runway to take the top off the defense.
— Has had success as a kick returner in his career. Also has experience on designed rushes.
— Above-average play strength. Will flash good contact balance when bouncing off defenders with the ball in his hands.
— Competitive player who never misses an opportunity to talk to his opponent.
— Average tracking deep throws. Inconsistent high pointing throws and will fall away and make himself a small target.
— Can get caught playing high, and more physical cornerbacks can disrupt his releases.
— Inconsistent as a blocker. Doesn’t always utilize his size.
12 G, 43 REC, 801 YDS, 7 TD, 15 ATT, 114 YDS, 1 TD
— 2021 FCS second-team All-American (Associated Press)
— 2021 first-team All-MVFC
— 2020-21 FCS first-team All-American (returner)
Watson brings very good height and size to the receiver position that allows him to play outside, but he does have experience from the slot and even the backfield. Watson is a straight-line runner with build up speed that can take the top off of defenses when given a runway. While he has just average lateral quickness because of his size, he still flashes the ability to create yards after the catch because of his balance and play strength.
His balance and body control also show up with his route running. Watson flashes polish with his routes, consistently getting to the proper depth for the concept being run and not getting antsy and convoluting the play. However, he can be a little loose when breaking on routes and will need to continue to refine. He will also have to continue to learn to use his size when releasing against press coverage and be more consistent with his bend. As he can get caught playing high and exposing his chest on releases and when breaking on routes, which more physical corners will take advantage of.
Watson is a comfortable catcher of the football and will extend for throws away from his body. He is inconsistent when tracking deeper throws and can play small instead of using his size to high point the ball above his head.
Watson’s size and play strength will flash as a blocker, but he will need to be more consistent in that area, as his energy in the run game will come and go based on how he’s doing as a receiver. He is also a very competitive player who loves to bring energy after every one of his catches.
Overall, Watson has the size and enough athleticism and route-running ability to have the upside of a starting X WR. He does require runway to get his long legs going, but he has enough balance to be under control when breaking on routes. He is best when being able to operate in a straight line on routes with no breaks or even as a ball carrier where he can get downhill quickly. Watson does bring some kick return ability that will appeal to teams early in his career. While you would have wanted to see him dominate more at the level he played at, he shows enough athleticism and polish to be useful working outside or on vertical routes from the slot, and he could be a good No. 3-type weapon for NFL teams looking to add size in their receiver room.
GRADE: 7.1 (High-Level Backup/Potential Starter - 3rd Round)
POSITION RANK: WR15
PRO COMPARISON: Bryan Edwards
Written by B/R NFL Scout Nate Tice