The 2018 NFL Draft Prospect series breaks down draft-eligible players, highlighting their college production as well as their NFL potential. It’s important for daily fantasy players to know about NFL rookies before they’ve played a down of professional football because they are among the most misvalued assets in all of DFS. People who know NFL rookies have a significant DFS edge. The draft will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, from April 26-28.
This piece is on Pennsylvania wide receiver Justin Watson.
For more on all the other receivers in the class, see our 2018 NFL draft wide receiver rankings.
Updated as of Mar. 20.
Senior | 6’3″ and 215 Pounds | Born April 4, 1996 (Age: 21) | Projection: Rounds 5-7
Pro day numbers: 40-yard: 4.40 sec | bench reps: 20 | 3-cone: DNP | 20-yard shuttle: DNP | vertical: 40 in | broad: 120 in
An undergraduate at the famed Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Watson will likely have a fine life he doesn’t make it in the NFL — but he has a shot to be an NFL receiver. Watson wasn’t invited to the combine, which isn’t a good sign for his future prospects, but he is still an intriguing player due to his blend of size and production. He stood out in Shrine Game practices as a potential slot receiver, and at the Senior Bowl he made an excellent 34-yard play on a difficult ball thrown by quarterback Josh Allen.
Watson is the prototypical small-school dominator. He’s got everything. After playing as the No. 3 receiver as a freshman, he tore up the Ivy League for his three final years, averaging 120.6 yards and 1.07 touchdowns per game across that time. Most impressively, he improved each year, and by the end of his senior year he had an unreal market share of Penn’s aerial production.
- 2014: 16.0 percent of receptions, 18.1 percent of yards, 13.3 percent of touchdowns
- 2015: 35.7 percent of receptions, 44.5 percent of yards, 36.0 percent of touchdowns
- 2016: 44.1 percent of receptions, 49.0 percent of yards, 44.4 percent of touchdowns
- 2017: 47.6 percent of receptions, 50.5 percent of yards, 70.0 percent of touchdowns
Even when adjustments are made for his level of competition, Watson’s senior-year production was unbelievable. Not every uber-productive receiver from the Football Championship Subdivision makes his way to the NFL, but Watson looks like a Day 3 pick given the strong athleticism he exhibited at his pro day.
Photo Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports