Watson vs Pierce Will be an Interesting Comparison

Was that second round trade really necessary?

I was not a bit surprised that the Packers didn’t draft a receiver in the first round. Especially after six of them were taken within the top eighteen picks. I was stunned, however, to see them trade both of their second round selections to move up to number 34 to take Christian Watson. That seemed like a very high price to pay. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m as excited as many fellow Green Bay fans to see what Watson can become. But I can’t help wondering if the team would have been better off staying at numbers 53 and 59 in that second round. Watson would almost certainly have been gone by then. No doubt Brian Gutekunst knew this, else he would not have made the trade. But there were other talented pass catchers that would have still been on the board. One that I had a bit of a pre-draft crush on was Alec Pierce out of Cincinnati. 

In fact, Pierce was actually taken (by the Colts) with the number 53 pick that Green Bay had traded away. So it’s going to be interesting to follow the careers of both Watson and Pierce to see who develops and contributes quicker, and who goes on to have the better career. 

The statistics and measurables for both players are comparable. Watson is 6-4, 211 lbs. Pierce is 6-3 and 208. Watson ran a 4.36 forty, Pierce turned in a 4.41. Watson averaged 18.6 yards per catch, compared to 17.34 for Pierce. Neither player produced what you would call eye-popping stats in their final year of college. Pierce caught 54 passes for 901 yards and 8 touchdowns in 14 games. Watson reeled in 43 throws for 801 yards and seven scores in 12 games. 

Watching highlight reels of both players, they exhibit much the same talent. Both have the speed to be a field stretcher, and the height and athleticism to go up and win contested catches. There are a couple of differences that beg notice. One is North Dakota State’s use of Watson as an occasional rusher in the jet sweep and otherwise. In his senior year, Watson carried the ball 15 times for 114 yards and one touchdown. Pierce was not used as a rusher by Cincinnati. 

The other area was kick returns. Watson returned 18 kickoffs, two of them went for touchdowns. I couldn’t find any record of Pierce returning kicks in college, although there was mention of his playing on special teams. 

Taken at face value, Watson seems to be a slightly better and more versatile prospect than Pierce, but two things make me wonder if the Packers made the right decision. First of all, Watson accrued all of his accomplishments against the likes of Towson, Albany and Northern Iowa. He is completely untested against major college competition. It should be noted, however, that North Dakota State dominates the FCS level of football, and won the national championship with Watson last fall. Pierce, by contrast, competed against the big boys, teams like Michigan, Notre Dame and Alabama. He was part of a Bearcat team that went all the way to the national semi-finals.  

The other thing that makes me scratch my head is this: If Christian Watson is that good, good enough to be worth two second round picks, why would the Minnesota Vikings, of all teams, trade with the Packers to allow Green Bay to move up and get Him? Surely the Vikings knew their arch rivals were desperate at receiver. Surely they knew the Packers had not taken one in the first round. And surely they knew Watson was still on the board. Did they know something about Watson that Green Bay did not? Clearly, the Vikings did not have Watson graded as highly as the Packers did. 

Had the Packers not made the trade to move up, they would have retained their other second round selection at number 59. Among the players still on the board at that spot, was safety Bryan Cook, ironically also out of Cincinnati. He is a highly regarded prospect who would have provided the Pack with some much needed depth at safety. Cook was taken three picks later by Kansas City. 

So did the Packers make the right move? The CHTV draft guide screams a resounding “yes”. In his breakdown of receiver prospects, Ross Uglem ranks Christian Watson as the number two pass catcher overall. Alec Pierce is ranked no better than thirteenth. Others don’t rate Watson that high overall, but agree on the comparison. CBSsports.com ranks Watson 8th and Pierce 18th. NFL.com had Watson 6th and Pierce 14th. You get the idea. 

The question is not so much, is Pierce a better player than Watson. The question is whether Pierce AND another second round pick would have served the team better than Watson. 

We’ll never know, and probably shouldn’t care. But just out of curiosity, I’ll be taking note of how the two fare in their careers. It will make for interesting retrospection one day. 

 

 

 

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Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

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Comments (92)

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

May 09, 2022 at 06:37 am

As I said many times before the draft, my comp for Alec Pierce is Jeff Janis. Great athlete, but very stiff-looking as a receiver. It confounds me that so many of my co-draftniks have watched the videos of these two guys and find them "similar." Watson looks SO much more flexible and balanced. Watson's play looks like an athletic small forward, Pierce's play looks like a stiff power forward. Watch how Pierce constantly turns toward the QB to make the catch, then falls down after catching it because he's going backwards. Then watch how Watson catches the ball over his shoulder and keeps running. They have two VERY different styles.
I saw Watson as a late first-round talent and Pierce as an early third-round talent. I think Watson has an All-Pro ceiling; I think Watson has a WR 2 ceiling.

I've been wrong before, but I just don't see star material in Pierce's play.

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seantischer@yahoo.com's picture

May 09, 2022 at 07:10 am

I think Watsons drops are pretty concerning. He can get open every play but if he isn’t reliable then it doesn’t really matter. They tested similar. Watson is going to look much better on tape when you see FCS players chasing him. They are both similarly graded players.

The thing with the draft is players bust all the time. Regardless if one guy looks a little better than the other, our WR room would have a better chance of finding a guy if we used both of those picks on 2 WRs rather than just going all in on Watson. If Watson busts then we prolong having the worst WR group in the NFL.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

May 09, 2022 at 12:48 pm

Here's a great article suggesting the drop rate isn't nearly as awful as it's being made out to be:
https://beargoggleson.com/2022/04/09/christian-watsons-chicago-bears/4/

And why use 2 first round picks on WRs if the ones with first round grades were already gone? Then you've over drafted. They got a couple of defensive players with great potential, that might last past the Rodgers era when a strong defense will be even more important. And then they drafted 3 guys as WRs that also have special teams abilities, and goodness knows we need athletes there.

MVS was a 6th rounder that had very close to 600 yards as a rookie and now got a basically $9M for one year with the Chiefs (easy to cut him after this year). Just b/c a guy is drafted later doesn't mean he doesn't have the talent to contribute.

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egbertsouse's picture

May 09, 2022 at 07:15 am

I see Watson as Janis 2.0, fast straight- line runner with no wiggle and bad hands who got numbers in a small/time conference. I prefer guys who played big boy football.

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 09, 2022 at 08:30 am

Egbert! Come onnnn. I didn't down vote you but boy, are you making it tempting. It's like you go out to recess WANTing to get beat up. Hoping your older, sexier, intellectually gifted, boy trapped in a man's body with that old man oak strength is gonna bail you out AGAIN. I am a lover (hugger)...just because I get an invitation to an argument (or you hand me one addressed to you) doesn't mean I have to attend...capisce? Good...now let's head straight to the sand box and introduce the boys to a little chaos. ;)

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NoNonsense's picture

May 09, 2022 at 04:36 pm

This might be the least informed take on Watson that ive read so far. You do realize that Watson played RB in high-school right, you can see it in all his movements. Go watch some more film Egbert, he's got way more wiggle than you give him credit for.

As for the small conference that does not matter to me one bit, in fact and I've stated this before, go back and look at some of the best WRs in history. Alot of the best ones came from small schools or faced weaker competition in college than they faced in the NFL.

I'm not here to convince you of anything about Watson, you're entitled to your own opinion but calling him Janis 2.0 with no wiggle is just lazy and uninformed.

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Coldworld's picture

May 09, 2022 at 07:21 am

I’ve not been shy in voicing concerns about how raw I believe Watson to be, but I agree with you that, if one had the choice of all around athlete between these two, Watson wins every time. Pierce is fast, tall and a little more polished, but he’s not nearly as agile or flexible.

The only physical area where Pierce has the advantage is more natural hands. The question pending is can LaFleur and co convert Watson’s physical potential into a football player at this level and how quickly will we see that blossom?

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dobber's picture

May 09, 2022 at 08:37 am

I keep coming back to the point that when they changed QBs from Trey Lance this season, Watson's 'iffy hands' suddenly became less of an issue in the eyes of scouts. Whether it's because he went to work on it in the off-season and improved himself (which would be a great sign of his professionalism) or if it's because he started playing with a QB who was just a better passer than Lance (which was entirely possible, as one of the knocks on Lance coming out was erratic downfield passing) is up for debate. One of things I look for is whether the player appears to be 'fighting the ball' on catches, and I don't see that in his 2021 film.

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Coldworld's picture

May 09, 2022 at 09:24 am

Concentration issues (reminiscent of early James Jones) and a tendency to body catch. Both are often fixable.

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BirdDogUni's picture

May 10, 2022 at 08:26 am

You keep referencing body catches, and I have never seen him let a ball get into his body, ever... In fact, the only drop I've seen, was in double coverage, a contested catch, and DPI was the call.

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 10, 2022 at 02:15 pm

Just the facts, ma'am. Just the facts...

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 09, 2022 at 09:26 am

Coldwell,
You have expressed your thoughts clearly on the Watson trade and selection since the draft. I think the mistake in this article by Ken is he is only comparing Watson to Pierce. While both are talented I believe there were equally as good or better WR choices available and in time we will see some of those players step forward and prove their talent in time. Drafting an unproven WR who has questionable hands and has not played against top level talent seems to go against the whole idea Rodgers NEEDS a top level WR who can step forward and competitively compete on Day 1.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

May 09, 2022 at 11:38 am

What would GB have had to give up to get one of the supposably "proven" WRs? We know there is no such thing as a proven WR. (see Detroit first rounds Mike Williams, Roy Williams, and Charles Rogers). When DET jumped up to take another first round WR named Williams this year, I just had to wonder . . .

There are also intangibles, like the fact that he's been schooled his entire life about the NFL route tree, by his father. And the tangible, RAS score close to Calvin Johnson and Julio Jones. Only time will tell, but putting a guy with his work ethic and physical abilities with a top NFL QB doesn't look like a mistake at first glance.

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PatrickGB's picture

May 09, 2022 at 06:39 am

Well, Gutie saw something that made him do the trade! Perhaps also the fear that with the earlier run on WR’s came the fear that another run would happen and that guys like Pierce would be gone too? As was written, time will tell.

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 10, 2022 at 02:16 pm

He was his guy all along. Wyatt being on the board was the surprise @ #28.

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HarryHodag's picture

May 09, 2022 at 06:43 am

Lost in the argument is Devonte Wyatt. It's clear the Packers were more interested in getting the top defensive players than a wide receiver in the first round. If the Packers had picked Watson at 22 or 28 it's fairly clear to me either Walker or Wyatt would have been gone by round 2.

The draft was hip deep with quality receivers. So the Packers chose to trade up to get a receiver who they knew would be gone shortly and certainly before their pick.

The media and fans focus on the #1 pick thing at wide receiver. Clearly the team wanted a wide receiver, actually landing three of them, but not in the first round. There's also the fifth-year option thing related to first round picks.

This article is a bit like getting to the high school prom with a beautiful date, only to see another one there even better looking and wishing you hadn't been so hasty. Dude, it's the prom and enjoy the person you have with you.

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HawkPacker's picture

May 09, 2022 at 06:51 am

Last paragraph--great analogy Harry!

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 09, 2022 at 07:39 am

So true Hawk and excellent reference Hodag ( me love the Hodag Festival!). Like leaning into your kiss during prom, one is taught to close their eyes (viewed as polite). Something tells me young Gutey kept his eyes OPEN, always prepared before he plants that kiss that makes the rest of the North division weak in the kneez ...

Kiss Gutey Kiss!

(something tells me young Gutey, involved the tongue when kissing the Prom viQueen to make sure the deal was non-refundable, non-transferable).

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packer132's picture

May 09, 2022 at 08:26 am

Harry: You hit the nail right on. I am not going to pretend I know as much as Gute and scouts who do this job full time with hours analyzing these players. There are 32 teams trying to improve their roster, and there is no perfect draft. I am very happy with getting the first-round defenders and hope to see an even better Packers team in 2022.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

May 09, 2022 at 11:39 am

Not to mention, this date (Watson) may end up to be a much better dancer and have a better personality.

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YouAskedForThis's picture

May 09, 2022 at 03:29 pm

"It's clear the Packers were more interested in getting the top defensive players than a wide receiver in the first round."

Sorry but I don't think that's clear at all. 6 WR were selected before the Packers picked at 22. There's a good chance that Gute had several of those rated higher than Walker or Wyatt. ....it was simply how the draft unfolded. Glad he didn't reach beyond his WR grades in D1.

That said, absolutely thrilled with Walker, Wyatt, and Watson (More W's in Titletown !!) as our first 3 picks.

As for Watson vs Pierce. Time will tell of course, but it sure looks like Watson has far greater upside.

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BirdDogUni's picture

May 09, 2022 at 03:43 pm

I'm always down for more "W's..."

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HawkPacker's picture

May 09, 2022 at 06:48 am

Ken, I am happy with our pick.

Also, hindsight is always 20-20.

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NickPerry's picture

May 09, 2022 at 07:04 am

" If Christian Watson is that good, good enough to be worth two second round picks, why would the Minnesota Vikings, of all teams, trade with the Packers to allow Green Bay to move up and get Him?"

Why? Because the Packers traded them TWO 2nd round picks and the Vikings needed a chance to get better. I think it's as simple as that sometimes. The Vikings have been looking UP at the Packers in the standings for most of the last 30 years. They just brought in yet ANOTHER GM and Head Coach. This is a team who has NEVER won a World Championship, the Packers have 13 of them. This is a team who hangs NFC North Titles in the rafters because they have NOTHING else to hang.

The Vikings NEED talent, the Packers offered them a chance to get MORE in a trade that looks like they fleeced the Packers. Gute got his guy, the Vikings a chance to add the their Kurt Cousins lead team (LMAO). As for the whole Alex Pierce vs Christian Watson thing, I look at the Packers ENTIRE draft and what they did. Watson was one of maybe 3 or 4 WR in the entire draft that could become a true #1 WR in the NFL. It may take a little longer or maybe he Randy Mosses the NFL and tears it up. I guess we wait and see now.

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dobber's picture

May 09, 2022 at 08:04 am

Agreed. If you look at the Vikes' trade with the Lions in round 1, it appeared to be mostly about number of swings for them in the front 4 rounds...they got more picks, but lost on the value chart. They got more picks from the Packers, but came out ahead on the value chart.

I think they need to groom Watson and bring him along with a very defined role early on that expands as they see what he can do and how he adjusts. He's no Jeff Janis for those who want to make that comparison. He's not Mike Evans or Randy Moss, either. Pierce very well might look better on the stat sheet when we reach that last week of the season--both have a direct line to regular snaps--but I'm not going to beat myself up and litigate this pick over and over.

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Coldworld's picture

May 09, 2022 at 09:31 am

I agree with your approach to working him in and just as much with the notion that litigating picks before a down has been played by any is a pointless endeavor. I point out that history suggests 3 of the receivers picked in the first round, let alone the second, will be washed or washing out of the league in 3 years.

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PeteK's picture

May 10, 2022 at 07:24 am

Maybe most importantly, Watson has a veteran HOF QB, a very good o line, and veteran WRs ahead of him, so there should be some time for acclamation. His versatility is intriguing, no matter where he played.

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BirdDogUni's picture

May 09, 2022 at 04:22 pm

Even if all Watson does the first half of the season is run fly patterns, defenses will have to have Safety help over the top of him or he will destroy defenses, no matter which CB is covering him. If they have to have Safety help over the top of Watson, that will give someone a better matchup, or open up a route underneath. If they don't respect Watson's speed, AR will make them pay.

Lazard may benefit most from Adams departure. An increase in targets and him being the primary WR on more plays should definitely increase his production. IDK how many plays Watson will be the primary receiver, but with his size and speed, I would expect him to get a few looks early in the season, if only to see what we've got in him.

Should be interesting watch our offense evolve post Adams.

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DoubleJ's picture

May 09, 2022 at 10:13 am

Overall had the Vikings not traded out of #12 overall to the Lions odds are that the Lions would have drafted Watson at #32 or 34. The Vikings also think that their WR room is in good shape since they didn't grab a WR until R6 when only 3 WRs had been drafted by the time they were on the clock in R1.

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RCPackerFan's picture

May 09, 2022 at 07:13 am

The head scratcher in all of this is the Vikings trading back, not once but twice with division rivals. Not small trades either. BIG trade backs. 20 spots for each trade, in premium pick positions. I mentioned to Brian Baldinger on twitter about it being odd that a team would trade high picks in the division not once but twice. He responded with teams trade inside the division all the time. Which they do. But when is the last time division opponents traded premium picks away like the Vikings did? I don't recall anyone.

I am very curious to see what the careers of Watson & Pierce are. Same with Skyy Moore. He was picked one spot after Pierce. Had GB kept the 53 and 59th picks, we don't know if the draft would have fallen the same way as it did by them moving up. But assuming it fell exact the same way at 53 they could have taken Pierce and 59 they would have had these options. Drake Jackson, Bryan Cook, Abraham Lucas, Jelani Woods, Travis Jones. All of those players could have been in play at 59. They all went within 15 picks after the 59 spot.

At this point in time we have no idea if the move up they made was the right one. Only time will tell if the right move was made. But I love that they identified a player they wanted and they went and got him. I am always for more picks then less. But if there is a player you want, you go get him. According to the trade charts the Packers overpaid to move up. But if Watson is the next Randy Moss is anyone going to complain? No. (I'm not saying he will be the next Moss, just using it as an example)

I'm happy to have Watson. The part I love about Watson is knowing who our coach is and who our QB is. I know Rodgers doesn't always throw to rookies and takes time to develop chemistry, but that goes back to knowing who our coach is. LaFleur will find ways to use Watson. He will find ways to get Watson the ball and use his skills. I really can't wait to see what Watson does in our offense!

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Coldworld's picture

May 09, 2022 at 07:27 am

LaFleur totally failed to incorporate Rodgers. He had a guy used to being schemed open to catch and run learn the full route tree and become a full route tree receiver. Look how well that worked. We got no contribution at all and used EQ to run what Rodgers got drafted for or never ran those plays at all. Hopefully LaFleur has learned from that McCarthyesque idiocy and finds ways to slowly incorporate Watson (and, for that matter Rodgers if needed). You have far more faith in LaFleur than I can see a basis for based on experience to date.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

May 09, 2022 at 08:17 am

Maybe his faith is based on 13-3, 13-3, 13-4 ?

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Coldworld's picture

May 09, 2022 at 09:28 am

Then he’d be basking in nothing much really and not asking why only that.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 09, 2022 at 10:21 am

RC,
Great post!

Separately, Ken Lass certainly wanted to stir the kettle with this article. I will always have reservations on the Packers decision to trade up to grab Christian Watson with the draft value they gave up in order to get him. However, he is a Packer now and I am now a huge supporter of him and wish him only the best but it doesn't mean one cannot express their thoughts and opinions on the trade. I have mentioned this before that one of the things that does provide me some reassurance is the Packers had all night after round 1 for all the Packer minds/brains to toss around all kinds of variables and scenarios on what to do in round 2. It was well planned out and not a knee jerk decision so I have some confidence they really believe Christian Watson was worth 53 and 59. However, here are thoughts that went thru my mind on Day 2 of the draft and since that trade:

1. I think Ken missed out only comparing Pierce to Watson. There are other WR's who were very talented and very well may end up better than either Watson and Pierce. For example watch over the next year or two how the Pittsburgh Steeler 2 WR's evolve. The Steelers have several other experienced and talented WR's on the team, so how many opportunities their new WR's get out of the chute may not allow these WR's stats to shine at the end of year 1, but lookout at year 2 and 3.
2. Why haven't the Packers learned that better WR's overall are better than having just one stud WR like an Adam's, or a Sterling Sharpe?
3. Don't the Packers need a stud WR to step on the field right away? Is Watson going to be that guy for the Packers? Possibly but most think he will take a couple of seasons. In the all Rodger's now situation was this the wisest decision?
4. Would the Packers have better off trading for Jameson Williams who likely will miss only a few games since he is further along in his rehab than anyone expected? A better player right now who is ready to step in and contribute right out of the chute (like maybe 3 or 4 games into the season)?
5. Contrary to #4 above, I would not likely change round 1 of the Packers as I really like what they did in that round. However, would any of these options have been better picking two WR's in round 2, or a WR & Trey McBride in round 2, a WR and either an Edge rusher like Bonitto in round 2, or a WR and a Safety in round 2. Any of those combinations in my mind would have been the better path to me than Watson with 53 and 59.

Time will tell whether the Packers made the right decision, but that holds true for every draft choice the Packers made in each of the rounds. We cannot change it so it is time to move forward and support Christian Watson who I believe will become a very good WR with time.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 09, 2022 at 08:02 pm

Interesting enough that I read it twice to make sure I had it right.

When they took Wyatt at #28, they knew it was entirely possible that Watson would be gone by #53. Since he was the highest WR on their board, they chose to trade up, which I’m sure they had run scenarios on. Bottom line, 3 top players in the top 34 picks. Getting the Purple to help us get him is good stuff.

I’m wondering about 2. We’ve had numerous studs at WR, going back to Hutson. It’s in the organizational DNA by now, like linebackers in Chicago. But all four Super Bowls have featured a HOF QB and the league’s best defense. I kind of wonder about how important WRs are in the big picture.

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 09, 2022 at 11:07 pm

Ask Jennings and Jordy, they pulled in THREE TDs for the SB winners.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 11, 2022 at 07:57 am

Love when someone researches this stuff!

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BirdDogUni's picture

May 09, 2022 at 11:08 pm

WRs are very important. Just not as important as a HOF QB and a topflight defense.

The best part about the whole thing, is when Watson becomes Randy Moss 2.0, we can thank the viks... : )

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Renaissanceman's picture

May 09, 2022 at 07:54 pm

The Vikings were lost this draft.

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 09, 2022 at 07:17 am

At this point...it's elementary my dear KEN,...Watson be wearing the G. Hopefully, Gutey gets the LASS laugh! :D

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Guam's picture

May 09, 2022 at 07:37 am

Gute obviously fell in love with Watson and there are lots of measurable reasons to do so. The puzzle for me is an issue ColdWorld has mentioned several times - the immediate readiness of Watson. The jump from the FCS to the NFL is huge and it might take Watson a couple of years to figure it out. Watson may well prove to be the second coming of Davante Adams, but like Adams we may not see the full scope of Watson's talent until his third year.

Alex Pierce faced much stiffer competition at Cincinnati, not to mention practicing against Sauce Gardner, and may be more the more effective receiver over his first couple of years. Watson may have the better career, but likely not over the first two years.

Who will be QB1 by the time Watson arrives in his third year? Will Rodgers still be here or will it be Jordan Love? Was this an "all-in" pick or a futures pick?

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stockholder's picture

May 09, 2022 at 08:11 am

Pickens went before Pierce. Pickens would have been a packer and they would have traded up for him. .(Not Pierce) Still costing them a second and extra pick. ( Wrs were in demand this draft.)

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dobber's picture

May 09, 2022 at 08:57 am

"Pickens would have been a packer and they would have traded up for him. "

There's no evidence to this effect, and at this point is a red herring in the discussion.

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stockholder's picture

May 09, 2022 at 07:44 am

I have another scenario for you. The guy who changed the packers draft board was Watkins. Had the packers taken Watson earlier. They could have gotten Pickens as well. Even Pierce. Scratch that. They wanted Defense first. But why couldn't they have taken Quay Walker than Watson. After all the DTs were dropping. ( I posted the grade of B- for Wyatt. per source ) Then take Travis Jones later . (Rated Rd. #1 by McShay) And even got Dean for ILB. (Rated rd#1) Seems to me there is No argument. As long as WE got Watson. They got their men. And Pierce and Jones were not in their thinking. When KC didn't take Watson. It meant that he was going to drop. The fact that they traded up for him doesn't mean a thing. They got what they wanted and more.

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dobber's picture

May 09, 2022 at 09:02 am

"The guy who changed the packers draft board was Watkins. Had the packers taken Watson earlier. They could have gotten Pickens as well. Even Pierce. "

I don't think Watkins did very much to change the Packers' board, unless you're saying that the Packers felt that they could play the long game on Watson. Watkins is likely a one-year rental and doesn't change the fact that the Packers' WR room was--prior to the draft--mostly barren post 2022.

"It meant that he was going to drop. The fact that they traded up for him doesn't mean a thing."

What this trade means is that it's unlikely the Packers planned to attack their WR issues with volume at the top of this draft.

"Then take Travis Jones later . (Rated Rd. #1 by McShay)"

Apparently McShay and GMs see different things.

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 09, 2022 at 11:13 am

The guy who changed their Board was Quay Walker. They probably had him pegged to Belichick @ #21. When KC traded up and fleeced Bill, they knew Walker would be there expecting KC to go DB as they snagged MVS for the deep guy and Watson didn't fit their quick twitch guy who they selected @ #54 with Skyy Moore. He had Watson at #28 and Wyatt could have been the #22, or OT. They were lucky the shipwrecked sailors made the deal @ #34.
Tampa wanted Wyatt to replace Suh, then went fallback with Hall as the DE in their front to replace Pierre-Paul. T. Jones went in the third because he is not Kenny Clark, or Wyatt. Walker was pegged from #15 to # 45?? He is the guy to watch and see if the choice was valid on a one-year stat sheet. I wanted Watson in the first and the Pierce/McBride scenario @ #53. The 3rd and 8 must have burned Gutedkunst to the third degree. Doubs will be a guy to compare stats with Pierce. Jury is still out on Pickens. Do not suspect he was a Packer guy.

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wildbill's picture

May 09, 2022 at 02:09 pm

You bring up a very valid point of a pick being a “Packer Guy”. Talent may look like it’s a fit but if his intelligence or attitude isn’t a good fit then they are not worth a draft pick.
From what I’ve read the Packers have a good locker room and a bad attitude, or work ethic, can cause issues during the long season. Not to mention not being capable of learning your plays or making quick decisions on the field. A lot of research goes into these picks

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 09, 2022 at 11:17 pm

They should figure it out in the meet and greet, but that is not the way life works sometimes. It may have taken five to ten years before I knew an employee's full story. Pickens has the talent and an injury history to go along with it. Botton line Watson is the better Player. Doubs will surprise some people, he's good. In my ideal draft, I would have Watson , Pierce and Skyy.

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LambeauPlain's picture

May 09, 2022 at 07:53 am

That Pierce would have been available at 53 for the Packers is just an opinion. The Colts obviously wanted him and with the WR needy Packers sitting at 53, it is just as likely Indy would have moved up to draft him.

We don't how how many teams the Packers called after they drafted Wyatt...probably several. It could be they viewed Watson as a first round talent but could not get a trade partner at the picks 29-32. Tampa probably said no deal at 33. Finally got a trade partner at 34 with MN.

Imagine the narrative today if Gutey managed to get 3 first rounder players on 5 year rookie deals. Watson is only 2 picks removed from being a first rounder, but sometimes the board doesn't cooperate.

I look at Watson as the Packers getting their man, Watson, after Wyatt fell.

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mrtundra's picture

May 09, 2022 at 08:01 am

The story goes that Gute tried trading up into the 1st round to get Watson but the vikings did not want to trade with the Packers, there, because they did not want the Packers to get the 5th year option on Watson. Pretty petty of them, but they are the vikings and pettiness runs in their veins.

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dobber's picture

May 09, 2022 at 08:07 am

The way it worked out, they looked pretty smart....of course, that was after they pantsed themselves out of the #12 pick.

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BirdDogUni's picture

May 09, 2022 at 08:30 am

Has anyone been to DN and seen if they're having a meltdown over their draft?

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dobber's picture

May 09, 2022 at 09:00 am

Last I heard, they're mostly good with Cine and Booth, but after that, they're upset with a lot of what the draft illuminati are calling reach picks.

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MainePackFan's picture

May 09, 2022 at 08:03 am

Spot on LP. I don't think the Packers thought Wyatt would be there at 28. When he was, they jumped on it. Then scrambled to trade up to get Watson. I think Watson was their pick 28 if Wyatt was gone.

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dobber's picture

May 09, 2022 at 08:10 am

The draft is all about opportunities. This is, IMO, what makes BG better than TT: he finds a few vets in FA who shore up immediate needs so he's not in a "must draft position X" spot when his picks roll around, and can make moves to get players they have high grades on.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 09, 2022 at 04:05 pm

That is the explanation that makes the most sense to me.

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mrtundra's picture

May 09, 2022 at 07:57 am

If we would have gone for Watson in the 1st, we would not have gotten either Quay Walker or Devonte Wyatt. Wyatt will be huge for us on the DLine. Walker will be solid, paired with Campbell, at the line. Our run defense just got better! We lost basically one of our 2nd round picks by trading with the vikings to move up to grab Watson. Look what the vikings did with our former pick at #53. They traded it to the Colts, so they were not enamored with anyone available at 53, and that includes Pierce. I loved Pierce as a prospect. I thought he would have been tailor made for the Packers and had him being selected by the Packers in more than one mock draft. I also find it amazing that the vikings drafted DBs after the Packers drafted Watson. It's almost as if they had buyer's remorse. GO PACK, GO!!!

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dobber's picture

May 09, 2022 at 08:20 am

CB was one of the Vikes' greatest needs coming into the draft. The back-end of their defense let them down late in games week after week last year. Patrick Peterson was decent, but he missed time. They let Breeland and Alexander go via FA. Dantzler regressed. The fact that they didn't keep pick 12 and use that to nab a DB was a little surprising.

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 09, 2022 at 08:05 am

I can just picture Christian's mom and dad waving to him as he is about to head east to the Mecca of the Midwest, saying, "Bison".

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 09, 2022 at 08:20 am

"Was that second round trade really necessary?"

Yes, yes it was. To get the total draft members that the Pack got this year, yes. Like Jenga, move a block or add a block...changes the whole complexion.

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DTowleJr's picture

May 09, 2022 at 08:41 am

I'm only an armchair GM. I leave the Packers to the professional GM, Brian Gutekunst. There's a reason that he's been rated as the #5 best GM in the NFL. He did what was needed to be done, when it was needed to be done. I love the look of this year's draft class. As for me and my house, we say 'In Gutey We Trust'

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 09, 2022 at 08:48 am

I wish we could get Gutey made to look like Mr T in all his glory, proclaiming, "I pity the fools!"

Go DT Go!

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BirdDogUni's picture

May 09, 2022 at 09:52 am

Tbh, I wanted Christian Watson and Alex Pierce both, but since we only drafted one of them, I'm very glad it was Watson.

I feel Watson will have more of a Ja'Marr Chase affect on our team than many Packer fans do... I also have a feeling that Allen Lazard will have a very good year. Doubs to me is the one that people will be most surprised with though. I think he will definitely get the best matchups and prove to be a reliable receiver for AR12.

I also feel most of us (me included) have basically written off Amari Rodgers. I don't think that is fair quite yet. He was very productive at Clemson and I just don't understand why he looked so slow last year, but I hope he comes back strong this season.

I will be very interested to see how Pierce develops, but I am expecting great things from Christian Watson from the jump.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 09, 2022 at 10:27 am

Bird,
The Packer WR's no doubt will surprise many this year. First of all we still have Rodger's and he has to throw to somebody. Plus, we have quite a bit of experienced WR's on the team already who are good players, and as you mention Amari will probably take a huge leap forward in year 2. Guys like Watson and Doubs no doubt have talent and will undoubtedly have impact. I feel very comfortable with our WR corp going into the season even if they do not pick up another WR in FA.

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wildbill's picture

May 09, 2022 at 02:13 pm

Many had Adams written off after his rookie year

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

May 09, 2022 at 11:04 am

One has Rodgers throwing to him, the other Matty Ice. I like Watson's chances.

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Turophile's picture

May 09, 2022 at 11:33 am

The comp is Watson vs Pierce, vs Pickens since the trade-up could have had Pickens.

I'm not a 'told you so' guy after the event, when we all know how they turned out, so I'll say right now I think they got the right guy. I can't prove it in any way, that will take a year or two, but the Packers gambled on the highest ceiling and (in this case) I agree with them.

Worth mentioning that I liked Pierce a lot and my only worry about Pickens was the maturity issue, so I didn't dislike any of the three candidates, I just thought Watson was the best.

Also, there was no guarantee Pierce would still be there at 53, Gute chose without pre-knowledge.

Why did Minnesota trade with the Packers ? They took the money (ie the better draft pick valuation) of course.

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splitpea1's picture

May 09, 2022 at 11:33 am

I didn't like Pickens for that reason, either--we already had that sort of experience with Randall. Funny though that the Steelers seem to gravitate towards these kind of receivers....

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greengold's picture

May 09, 2022 at 01:34 pm

Very well reasoned, Turophile, and I feel pretty much the same.

Much falls into the category of unknowns. I wanted Pickens, thought Gutekunst & Co. knew more about him than anyone from all the Georgia scouting of Eric Stokes. Good or bad, totally trusted their decision there.

Between Watson & Pierce, I’ll take Watson any day. Especially knowing what we know today.

Minnesota felt they had us over a barrel getting 53 + 59. Gutekunst by the same token might have felt, “I can’t believe they’re going to let us do this!”

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splitpea1's picture

May 09, 2022 at 11:30 am

We shouldn't be worried about the small school competition at all....if the player has the talent, work ethic, and durability, he should be able to succeed in the NFL.

Different position obviously, but Larry Allen also thoroughly dominated his competition at Sonoma State (a Division 2 school who discontinued their football program 25 years ago) and it didn't stop the Cowboys from drafting him in the second round.

And who knows, or really cares for that matter, what the Vikings were thinking? They probably just saw an opportunity to net another pick and took it.

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LLCHESTY's picture

May 09, 2022 at 11:48 am

I think the better way to look at it is to compare Watson to Pierce AND Tolbert. Or Pierce and Woods, Jackson, Bonitto or Cam Thomas. We don't know who their highest rated player would've been at 59 but we know who was a available there and there were some surprises.

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Turophile's picture

May 09, 2022 at 04:46 pm

@LLCHESTY. I disagree that is the way to look at it, purely due to him not knowing who would be left on the board at 53. He paid the price, moved up, and got his guy.

Bear in mind that Pickens went at 52 and Pierce at 53 - so one of the two was gone and the other easily could have been gone. What do you do then for your future no.1 WR (potentially). Are you going to draft Skyy Moore (who went at 54, a good player, but a slot guy) ?

The WR run was at 52, 53, 54, so they could ALL have been gone by 53 as far as Gute knew, at the time when pick 33 was the one on the board.

Bottom line. If Watson works out everyone forgets what he cost. If he doesn't, everyone will remember and bring it up for the next several years, just like when Kevin King was taken instead of T.J. Watt. Such are the perils of being a GM.

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greengold's picture

May 09, 2022 at 01:50 pm

One has an unlimited ceiling. The other at times looks more athlete than receiver, with a WR3 projection, maybe a WR2.

One breaks his routes off at the stem as well as anyone. The other too often rounds off.

One is fluid and natural in his movements. The other is not.

One is a good blocker. The other is not.

Lamenting a late R2 pick after landing a WR with this much more dynamic potential in a trade up to the #34 pick? Idk. Both are good receivers with some size & speed. Both had lower stat totals coming into this draft as their team’s #1WR for different reasons.

If Aaron Rodgers gave the nod to Watson, with the stakes this high, that sounds good to me.

At what price is Aaron Rodgers’ full & complete buy-in…??? With this new WR group? How valuable is that alone? That one trade could change much in both AR’s attitudes & the Packers overall success, 2022 & beyond. Could change the entire layout in front of us for the better.

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PhantomII's picture

May 09, 2022 at 02:58 pm

I liked Pierce also. Pierce does not seem to get quite the separation Watson does nor is he as elusive. He seems like a TE/ WR tweeter like Lazard with more speed. If AR can " Throw Watson Open " AKA: Hit him in stride Christian will be lethal. AR did not get real good with MVS
timing and under threw him often. Lets hope AR takes enough time with this kid to get on the same page....As well as the rest of the WR's , TE's and RB's. This Offense will go where AR's 50 Million is willing to take it and like it or not.....It's really how much AR is willing to put into these kids to make them shine and pretty much always has been.

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Dragon5's picture

May 09, 2022 at 03:01 pm

Like a broken record, Gute overpays for what he wants...it's his M.O. Overpaying is relative...the current answer now is yes...may / may not not be the case down the road.

It was basically a given Watson would be taken between #28 and #59. I found the over / under in most simulations to be #43. Simulators aggressively took Watson from #44 to #52, and it's notable to acknowledge Pickens & Pierce went #52 #53.

With so many trades in the first round where trading down can maximize draft capital. the real focus should be why did Gute waste so much draft capital on Quay Walker? Walker could be a stud, but from value perspective, feels like Jordan Love 2.0 move. When we look back in a few years, trading #22 back into the early 2nd will likely have been the correct move.

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PhantomII's picture

May 09, 2022 at 03:16 pm

Draft #'s are there to get who you want.....Move up or down....Whatever. Nobody had this Georgia LB at #22. Gute wanted him and his possible unrealistic view of his untapped abilities were not viewed by others. Woulda coulda...This isn't even close to the Love pick and not moving up to get Jefferson to me. This scenario means nothing to me comparably.....It's not even close. WE finally have an athletic LB drafted and a good Dl also. I'm good with it. Gute tried to move back up into 1st RD for Watson....Something I was also good with. Also okay with #3 pick OT. As far as I'm concerned Gute may have nailed first 4 picks w/ 2nd WR. We shall see. I'm good with it ALL....And that includes burning a 2023 #1 pick Gute has not done. We won't know for a few years how all this works out but I'm okay with a better Defense for sure as well as a ridiculous WR threat on every play. GPG

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greengold's picture

May 09, 2022 at 04:04 pm

Props, Phantomll, and well put.

Trying to 2nd guess the PROFESSIONALS, based upon what “simulations,” say???!!!

LOL

Yeah, uh, well… my Magic 8-Ball said…

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Turophile's picture

May 09, 2022 at 04:53 pm

If you followed the draft just a little closer PhantomII, you would have heard that Walker had been moving up draft boards late in the draft (ie the last two weeks).

That generally happens when media guys gets hints of how the GMs and scouts rate guys. Now the Cowboys may not have rated him as highly as Gute, but he was thought of highly enough by our GM to take him over Wyatt (and you know they liked Wyatt as they took him at 28, probably over WR Watson) .

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Rarescope's picture

May 09, 2022 at 03:16 pm

I always enjoy your comments Dragon but coulda woulda shoulda traded/not traded on draft day discussions seem like an effort in futility. Guess work at best. Every action has a reaction butterfly flaps it’s wings in Singapore yards yadda. Entertaining maybe, but very few people have the actual inside info to know what is actually going on behind those doors and even they can’t now predict how things would have turned out had they made different choices. Love pick sucked yes it did. I don’t think that has a connection to this years draft though.

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greengold's picture

May 09, 2022 at 03:55 pm

Dragon5, it doesn’t work that way.

All kinds of teams recognized the value R2-3, and those high R2 positioned teams weren’t looking to spend those very resources to jump up into the 22.

Simulations… BASED ON FREAKNG WHAT?

Doesn’t look like you’re taking into account the talent drop off at WR, nor where the Packers might have determined that to be. They clearly recognized him having greater value than Pick #34 to make the trade they did.

There were - MAYBE - 3 or 4 WRs in this entire draft that had WR1 ceilings. I suspect the Packers had Watson in that group.

Did you SEE the reaches going on all over R1 with the trade ups to take WRs with WR2 & WR3 ceilings??? Chris Olave was a WR3 at Ohio State!!! He offered ZERO YAC. His nickname was freaking “Bambi!”

Christian Watson was the 7th WR taken in the draft at Pick #34, after the 6th WR, Treylon Burks was selected at Pick #18 by TEN. Those WR runs in drafts typically happen in waves.

If the Packers saw THAT MUCH VALUE in trading up to the #34 pick to be at the very TOP of the next WR run in order to select Watson, is that not a good thing?

All that matters is where THE PACKERS have players they select ranked on THEIR BOARD. How do you know Watson wasn’t the #3 or #4 WR on their board?

You don’t.

btw, Jordan Love was regarded as having the strongest arm of all the QBs in the 2020 draft class, and his 2018 accuracy was unmatched. We’re not doing this again.

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Dragon5's picture

May 09, 2022 at 06:33 pm

It's already been noted by the sports syndicate that Gute overpaid for Watson based on the trade value chart(s); as I've already stated, that's relative. My primary argument was about using #22 for Walker. Re: Love--past performance is not indicative of future results. Gute is a fine GM; I, however, strongly disagree with his preference to avoid trading down.

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MainePackFan's picture

May 09, 2022 at 07:05 pm

Dragon, overpaying in draft capital is a completely subjective, and remarkably fruitless exercise in which the draft "experts" like to justify their paychecks. I trust the Packers board more than any Jimmy Johnson based formula determining the value of each pick in each round.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 09, 2022 at 04:48 pm

The Packers want big-bodied WRs with a big catch radius who can get guys blocked in the run game. That’s the Packer offense. The fact that the Purple made it possible for us to get Watson just makes it extra sweet.

I have no idea how Pierce will be used or what the expectations are, but Watson might get 40 snaps a game if he stays healthy. Half of those snaps will be runs, and he’ll have to get his guy blocked. On the other 20 snaps, he’ll be a target maybe 5 times a game, including one bubble screen.

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greengold's picture

May 09, 2022 at 06:08 pm

Which puts Watson in line to equal or exceed the 52 deep targets MVS received last season.

At NDSU last year, Watson had 43 rec for 800 yds.

Could do some math, projecting what he might be able to put up in GB with Aaron Rodgers throwing to him in a pass heavy offense, as opposed to NDSU’s run heavy offense…. but, nah. It will likely be a big number.

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 09, 2022 at 11:37 pm

He missed three games due to injury. The stats don't reveal much, the Film does.

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greengold's picture

May 10, 2022 at 07:03 am

Not arguing that, because his tape reveals more about what Christian Watson brings to the Packers. Totally agree.

Nonetheless, my point was he did a lot of damage in his limited opportunities.

Anyone here get the feeling Watson would haul in more receptions than MVS with the same # of Targets?

Those MVS Deep Targets (52 in 2021) have to go somewhere. How many of Davante Adams’ 169 Targets from 2021, convert to Deep Targets? To Watson? How many go to Lazard? Doubs? Watkins? Toure?

Anyone think LaFleur isn’t scheming deep throws today after his morning coffee?

I just think it’s a safe bet Watson gets more Targets than MVS did, which should result in a large Total Yds. figure. Maybe the kid goes over 1000 yds, which in this scenario I think the odds favor, and then we’re all having a different discussion.

Imagine Watson and Doubs EACH getting 50-60 Deep Targets.

Allen Lazard had 60 Tgts in 2021.

Adding MVS + DA Targets = 224 Total Targets that now have to go somewhere.

It’s not like Aaron Rodgers is going to be throwing less… he had 531 Att in 2021. He’s had more passing attempts than that 7 times in his 14 years as QB1.

Watson’s QB Rating When Targeted was an ELITE 142.9… Just sayin’…

Anyone think Aaron Rodgers, the same guy who is starting a stats company, is unaware of that?

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 10, 2022 at 02:26 pm

That's the way (i) see it. Doubs will get his share also. Stockholder was correct about the Wolfpack passing attack. The Dharma Wheel rolls Forward.

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Pack88's picture

May 09, 2022 at 06:57 pm

I guess my take on this is we don't know the plan the Packers had and how they evaluated the remaining receivers on the board. It appears to me that GB went all in on the revamp of the Pettine scheme to Joe Barrys defense. They have now invested a lot of draft capitol into a defensive scheme and stocked it with athletic playmakers to give Rodgers the best chance to get back to another Super Bowl.

I believe they took a strong look at this draft class and did not see an instant contributor for their offense and chose to do it another way! Last years failing at Lambeau must have been especially galling as they seemed to have the horses they needed to get back to the Super Bowl and shades of 2014 Special teams did them in again.

Now all of us will watch the next few years and see which team made the right choice NO went all in to draft Oivae and spent incredible draft capitol in an effort to help Jameis Winston, the Lions patiently building and willing to redshirt Jameson Williams or or the Jets with their selection of Garrett Williams or the Falcons and Drake London, however none of those receivers or Christopher Watkins would alter the Superbowl Likelihood of the Green Bay packers. Time will tell but no sure fire high level rookie starter appeared in this group and if the typical receiver in GB holds true it will be 2 years before we see the rose flourish.

We shall see who had the best view of what to do and I don't know that it will happen but if GB were to sign OBJ even for one year he will be a much greater contributor than any of the above mentioned WR's in 2022!

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 09, 2022 at 11:40 pm

Olave...Garrett Wilson...Christian Watson...

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greengold's picture

May 09, 2022 at 09:33 pm

Lost in this entire discussion is the very real possibility Christian Watson was - THE - WR AARON RODGERS WANTED, and the positive effects therein realized by making that happen.

There’s a trickle down. There’s a positive vibration that permeates a team with such a move.

Do people realize how fortunate we are Gutekunst could pull this off??? Actually freaking complaining about a higher margin paid in draft chart value points? WITH A DIVISION RIVAL???

His GM went up and got him for his 4-Time MVP QB.

It’s nothing more, AND, (more importantly) NOTHING LESS than that. The Packers made their own “luck” by smart management of Davante Adams’ departure to get that one traded pick.

Gutekunst spoke clearly about Ron Wolf sharing with him that his greatest regret was not getting more weapons for Favre.

What more do you want? FFS. Give Rodgers the best weapon you possibly can using smartly acquired draft capital and people complain about it….

Fail to do so, and…

While we won’t know with any certainty how good or bad a Pro WR Christian Watson will be for a couple years or more, we can connect the dots on AR’s involvement in making this decision, and that kind of buy-in with 3 rookie receiving talents could mean the difference in winning a Super Bowl this year, or failing.

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MarkinMadison's picture

May 09, 2022 at 10:34 pm

I laid out the 2 guys v. 1 question in a comment last week. I get it, but I think (and said so at the time) that Watson will prove the Packers right. Also, the argument that the Vikings knew the Packers were after Watson - Pickens was still on the board too. It could have been either of them. The interview and med history being the two biggest differences between the two players, at least on paper. Regardless, to me, the fact that the Packers were willing to pay that price tells me they are sure, and I have to trust that they know a lot more than we do. I think history shows that they also know a lot more than the Vikings do.

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

May 10, 2022 at 08:04 am

One other take I've been pondering...

Since BG (or maybe it was MLF?) said they "didn't think Wyatt would be there at 29," and they traded up at a high cost to get Watson at 34, it makes complete sense to view the trade in this way:

"The Packers traded up to get DeVonte Wyatt"

BG knew, when he picked Wyatt, that he was going to try to trade up to get Watson--who he originally planned to take at 29. I suspect that he thought he'd be able to get Watson for our 2 and 3, but was unable to get a taker at that price, forcing him to pay both 2's. I'm sure he tried to work a trade with other teams but ended up needing to do it with the Vikings. That's just my guess, but it makes sense.
Also, there was scuttlebutt that the Bears wanted to pick Watson at 39, so BG only had the Bucs, Vikes, Titans, Jets, Texans, and Falcons to try to work a deal with.

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