The Green Bay Packers spent significant draft capital to select Christian Watson. By using their two late-second-round picks to move up to No. 34, the Packers made it clear they think the North Dakota State product can be an elite NFL receiver. But that could take some time because of his rawness and because he played in the FCS in college. Still, Green Bay needs a receiver who can make an immediate impact. Fortunately, they drafted Romeo Doubs two rounds after Watson.
The former Nevada pass-catcher is not as athletic as his new teammate. Still, he has the ability and experience to produce right away, something the Packers need after trading Davante Adams and losing Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown in free agency.
The first thing that stands out about Doubs is how ready and technically sound he is. At just 22 years old, the fourth-round pick can read coverage shells and explore them. Plus, Doubs has solid footwork.
“He’s got length, he’s really fast, he’s a big-time playmaker, and he’s done it for multiple years at Nevada,” Gutekunst said in an interview with Packers.com. “He’s probably one of the more polished players coming out of college just because of his experience. We’re excited to see what he can do.”
In fact, Doubs played extensively in Nevada, recording over 40 receptions and 500 yards in four different seasons. He played in 43 college football games.
Doubs’ red-zone efficiency will be especially important for the Packers because that’s an area where Adams excelled. The good news is Doubs was a touchdown machine in college, scoring nine TDs in nine games in 2020 and 11 TDs in 11 games last season.
Higher level of competition
Doubs didn’t play in a Power Five conference in college. However, Nevada plays in the Mountain West, an FBS conference. That’s a higher level of play than North Dakota State, which plays in the FCS.
The level of competition Doubs faced is not a major concern for the Packers long-term because they saw Watson have a good Senior Bowl. But for Doubs, the fact that he played better competition than Watson is a positive aspect because the leap to the NFL is a little bit smaller.
Adams was the star, but the Packers need to replace Valdes-Scantling’s tactical role. The speedster was the only Packers receiver in the last couple of years who explored the deep levels of the defense, opening up short and intermediate lanes for the other weapons.
Doubs needs to step in and do that for the Packers. According to PFF, he finished third among receivers at the FBS level in downfield receiver yards in 2020.
The Packers built their wide receiver room with different characteristics from several players, and that will be imperative to keep the passing offense at a high level. But Christian Watson will demand more development and will initially be used primarily as a gadget, with manufactured touches. Conversely, Romeo Doubs will probably have a smoother transition from college to the NFL, and Aaron Rodgers should benefit from that.