The Green Bay Packers selected North Dakota State wide receiver Christian Watson in the second round (No. 34 overall) of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Watson is expected to become the Packers’ new No. 1 wide receiver (essentially replacing Davante Adams) at some point in the future.

That’s obviously a lot of pressure on a rookie wide receiver who has never taken a snap in the NFL.

Watson, however, has some rare abilities that make me believe he’ll be a star in the NFL.

And it’s not just his impressive physical abilities — though those are important (Watson is 6-foot-4 and runs a 4.36 in the 40-yard dash).

Watson also has the mental acumen to be a Pro-Bowl caliber player on an annual basis.

Packers Watson
Feb 5, 2022; Mobile, AL, USA; National Squad wide receiver Christian Watson of North Dakota State (1) runs with the ball in the first half against the American squad at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports packers

North Dakota State wide receivers coach Noah Pauley took time recently to speak to The Athletic about Watson and what makes him a great player.

Pauley noted that Watson knows what everyone on the field should be doing at all times.

“He was a guy that could take something from the meeting room and immediately apply it on the football field,” said Pauley. “He didn’t have to run it 10 different times to get it right.”

When you combine that kind of knowledge and work ethic with Watson’s physical abilities, it could spell trouble for opposing defensive backs in the NFC North.

“His combination of size and speed is great,” said Packers offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich to The Athletic this week. “He’s a big guy. He can move. He’s going to be a problem once he figures things out.”

The most important thing a Packers wide receiver can do to build chemistry with Aaron Rodgers is to be a student of the game — someone who knows what Rodgers wants simply by the way the future Hall of Fame quarterback looks at various players.

Watson seems to have that ability.

We’ve seen numerous wide receivers have massive rookie seasons in recent years (Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson, for example). There’s no reason that Watson can’t be the next rookie wide receiver to take the NFL by storm.