The Green Bay Packers did not have many bright spots in their disappointing 8-9 2022 season. One of them, however, was wide receiver Christian Watson. The speedy deep threat was drafted by the Packers in the second round of last year’s draft after they traded up to get him. He was the highest-drafted wide receiver of the Aaron Rodgers era in Green Bay and, perhaps unsurprisingly, performed better than every single rookie wide receiver from 2008-2022.
Christian Watson’s Rookie Season with the Green Bay Packers
Christian Watson’s rookie campaign got off to a slow start. After missing the entire preseason due to a knee procedure, he dropped a sure-fire 75-yard touchdown in Week One against the Minnesota Vikings. Through the Packers’ first nine games, he had just 10 receptions for 88 yards and no touchdowns. Aside from a 15-yard touchdown run in Week Four, he did not make a huge impact on offense. Additionally, he was inactive for three of those first nine games.
Starting in Week 10, however, Watson started to take off. He had four receptions for 107 yards and three touchdowns against the Dallas Cowboys. This started a string of four-straight games that saw him find the endzone at least once.
Watson ended the year with four 100-yard receiving games, 41 receptions, 611 yards, seven receiving touchdowns, and two rushing touchdowns.
Other Green Bay Packers Rookie Wide Receivers Performed in the Aaron Rodgers Era
As mentioned previously, Aaron Rodgers took over as the Packers starting quarterback in 2008. Here is how each rookie wide receiver performed in his first NFL season during that time:
- 2008: Jordy Nelson: 33 receptions, 366 yards, two touchdowns
- 2009: Brett Swain: zero receptions, zero yards, zero touchdowns
- 2011: Randall Cobb: 25 receptions, 375 yards, one touchdown
- 2012: Jarrett Boykin: five receptions, 27 yards, zero touchdowns
- 2013: Chris Harper: no offensive snaps played
- 2013: Myles White: nine receptions, 66 yards, zero touchdowns
- 2014: Jeff Janis: two receptions, 16 yards, zero touchdowns
- 2014: Davante Adams: 38 receptions, 446 yards, three touchdowns
- 2015: Ty Montgomery: 15 receptions, 136 yards, two touchdowns
- 2016: Herb Waters: No games played
- 2016: Trevor Davis: three receptions, 24 yards, one touchdown
- 2016: Geronimo Allison: 12 receptions, 202 yards, two touchdowns
- 2017: Michael Clark: four receptions, 41 yards, zero touchdowns
- 2018: Marquez Valdes-Scantling: 38 receptions, 581 yards, two touchdowns
- 2018: Equanimeous St. Brown: 21 receptions, 328 yards, zero touchdowns
- 2018: J’Mon Moore: two receptions, 15 yards, zero touchdowns
- 2018: Allen Lazard: one reception, seven yards, zero touchdowns
- 2018: Jake Kumerow: eight receptions, 103 yards, one touchdown
- 2019: Darrius Shepherd: one reception, one yard, zero touchdowns
- 2020: Malik Taylor: five receptions, 66 yards, one touchdown
- 2020: Reggie Begelton: zero receptions, zero yards, zero touchdowns
- 2021: Amari Rodgers: four receptions, 45 yards, zero touchdowns
- 2021: Joe Fortunato: No offensive snaps
- 2022: Christian Watson: 41 receptions, 611 yards, seven touchdowns
- 2022: Romeo Doubs: 42 receptions, 425 yards, three touchdowns
- 2022: Samori Toure: five receptions, 82 yards, one touchdown
As one can see from the list above, the only rookie wide receiver with more receptions than Watson in his rookie season with Aaron Rodgers was Romeo Doubs, who was also drafted last year. Watson’s 611 yards and seven touchdowns are easily the most of any other rookie wide receiver in the Rodgers era.
As an aside, the greatest season for a Packers rookie wide receiver came in 1952. Billy Howton, who ended his career as the NFL’s all-time leader (at the time) in receptions and receiving yards, still holds several Packers’ rookie receiving records. You can read more about his amazing rookie season and [Hall of Fame snubbed] career here.
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