With just about everyone on the Green Bay Packers’ 90-man roster at the mandatory minicamp last week, Matt LaFleur dialed in competitive 11-on-11 drills during portions of Tuesday and Wednesday’s workouts — and for rookie receiver Christian Watson, he may have experienced his first “Welcome to the NFL” type of moment.
In several of the snaps during the various two-minute drills, Watson found himself lined up opposite Jaire Alexander, who recently signed an extension that made him the highest-paid cornerback in football.
Although Alexander sadly missed most of last season, in 2020 he was a second-team All-Pro after allowing just a 48% completion rate on 76 targets and just 9.5 yards per catch. with three interceptions and 14 pass breakups, according to PFF ($$).
On one representative with Jordan Love at quarterback, Watson, with his 4.36 speed, attempted to pass Alexander on a deep ball to the left sideline. But Alexander was well positioned, and that resulted in an incomplete pass as Watson ended up having to play defense in order to break up a possible interception.
On a different rep with Aaron Rodgers under center, Watson was lined up in the slot on a fourth-and-five scenario. Rodgers tried to find Watson in the end zone, but as Ryan Wood would count, Alexander was in perfect position and forced the break up of the pass.
While it’s only two reps during the Packers’ mandatory minicamp, it looks like there will be plenty more to come this summer as Alexander does his best to push Watson.
Not so long ago, when Alexander was a rookie, he was lined up with Davante Adams, facing his own “Welcome to the NFL” moment. We also saw it last summer, with Adams often lining up opposite then-rookie Eric Stokes.
It’s times like these that, in the long run, should make any rookie better and hopefully shorten their learning curve in the process, as they regularly face some of the best competition the world has to offer. NFL has to offer. If a young receiver can handle taking on Alexander on a regular basis, there won’t be too many surprises at the start of the regular season – and that’s exactly Alexander’s intention.
“I played against the league’s best receiver, Davante Adams, the four years I was here,” Alexander told Packers.com. “I’m going to make it as difficult as possible for these guys because I know Sunday is going to pay off. Iron sharpens iron. However, I can help make them better, I will.
Rodgers would tell reporters last week that he prefers production to potential, so at least at the start of the season the Packers are likely to rely more on their experienced passers while Watson and the other young players continue to get caught up. . Accelerate. Rodgers would later add that there is the offense on paper, then there is what actually happens on the pitch.
However, Watson should still have a definite role in this attack right away as a vertical threat and gimmick player with the speed he possesses. Watson could also provide a spark on special teams as a former All-American kick returner with the North Dakota State Bison.
But for now, there’s only one week of OTA left before everyone takes a break and then meets up at the end of July for training camp. Watson, along with the rest of the rookies, still have a lot to absorb as they adjust to the NFL, but you can bet that as these practices unfold, you’ll see Alexander continue to challenge Watson.
As Alexander said, iron sharpens iron – something that worked well for him and Stokes.