Eric Stokes went through a trial-by-fire leading up to his rookie season, and now the Green Bay Packers’ newly drafted wide receiver Christian Watson is getting the same treatment. Last offseason, you may remember Stokes received a crash course from one of the best wide receivers in the game in Davante Adams. It was a valuable lesson that undoubtedly helped him prepare for his first NFL season.
This year, Watson is destined to do the same but with All-Pro corner Jaire Alexander.
“I’m going to make it as hard as I can for those guys because I know on Sunday it’s going to pay off. Iron sharpens iron,” Alexander said earlier this month, via Packers.com. “However I can help to make them better, I’m going to do that.”
Watson showed why he was a second-round pick during organized team activities, flashing his size, speed, and athleticism while competing with other young, unproven players. However, things quickly changed once the starters arrived for mandatory minicamp.
During a team period, Watson found himself one on one against Alexander. Quarterback Jordan Love lofted a deep back near the endzone for Watson, but Alexander was in perfect position to break up the play.
Alexander knew how it felt to get bested by an elite player after battling with Adams in 2018. So Alexander drew from that experience and passed on any wisdom he could to help the rookie.
“It only makes me better,” Watson said via the team’s official website. “He’ll tell me straight up exactly why he broke on my route, exactly which indicator I gave on the route, and I know if I get open then I know it was a great route for me.”
The Packers have developed a system for preparing their highly touted rookies for a successful first season. Facing Adams every day in practice helped Alexander become an effective starter in 11 games as a rookie. The same can be said for Stokes, who started 14 games. Green Bay now hopes Watson is next in line.
“It’s definitely a great experience to get to go up against him and him obviously coaching me up, even though I’m on the other side of the ball.”
Until he finally takes the field in the regular season, Watson is grateful to learn as much as he can from a veteran like Alexander. If it works as well as it did in the past, it may help him make an immediate impact.