After filling many holes through the first four rounds of the NFL Draft, the Bucs were finally in a position to take a player where there isn’t necessarily a need.

They did that with the 144th pick taking Ivy Leaguer Justin Watson from Penn.

Watson ended his Penn career No. 1 in receptions (286), receiving yards (3,777), receiving touchdowns (33), all-purpose yards (4,116), No. 2 in total touchdowns (34) and No. 4 in scoring (208 points).

In our  final 7-Round Bucs Mock, Scott Reynolds had him going to the Bucs in the 6th round. Here is what Reynolds wrote.

Watson is a real sleeper who compares favorably to Minnesota wide receiver Adam Thielen. Watson had 1,000-yard seasons in each of his last years at Penn, and leaves the school holding records for career receiving TDs (33), career receptions (286), career receiving yards (3,777) and all-purpose yards (4,116), and he scored a touchdown in one out of every 6.5 times he touched the ball.

Penn also set several Ivy League records with the most consecutive games with a receiving touchdown (10), most consecutive games with a catch (40), most career record for receiving yards in Ivy League games (2,675) and most career 100-yard games (19).

Watson wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, but shined at his pro day where the Bucs were in attendance. Watson’s 40-yard dash times ranged from 4.39 to 4.44 and his median average of 4.42 would have tied for fifth among wide receivers that ran at the Combine. Watson’s 40-inch vertical would have been first among wide receivers in Indianapolis, and his 20 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press would have ranked tied for fourth among receivers.

Watson’s Penn Career Receiving Stats
2017: 81 catches for 1,083 yards (13.4 avg.), 14 TDs, long of 80
2016: 89 catches for 1,115 yards (12.5 avg.), 8 TDs, long of 67
2015: 74 catches for 1,082 yards (14.6 avg.), 9 TDs, long of 79
2014: 42 catches for 497 yards (11.8 avg.), 2 TDs, long of 55

Watson’s Penn Career Rushing Stats
2017: 167 carries for 854 yards (4.7 avg.), long of 21
2016: 23 carries for 133 yards (5.8 avg), long of 20
2015: 10 carries for 154 yards (15.4 avg.), 1 TD, long of 79
Watson shined at the East-West Shrine Game where he went up to the special teams coordinator and asked that he be placed on all of the special teams units, knowing that he’ll need to star on punt and kick coverage to make it in the NFL. Watson was so impressive in practices that he was an injury replacement at the Senior Bowl. He made several impressive catches in practice and had a 34-yard reception in the Senior Bowl game.

The Bucs have four wide receivers that are guaranteed to make the roster in Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries, but could use another wide receiver to challenge Bobo Wilson, Freddie Martino, Devin Lucien and Jake Lampman for the fifth spot on the depth chart. Tampa Bay could use a bit more size in the receiver room as Evans is currently the only one over 6-foot-2. Quarterback Jameis Winston could use another big target with a wider catch radius, and the speedy Watson could fill that role.

On his conference call to the local media, Watson was asked who he would compare his game to.

“I think one that I compare pretty closely to is Jordy Nelson, especially early on in his career. I think athletically we are a pretty similar profile, we are both just crisp route-runners, no wasted movements. I don’t think when you look at his game or my game there’s any fancy moves at the top of my routes, at the beginning of the routes. I just run good, clean, consistent routes. I find a way to get open using my athletic ability.”

 

Share On Socials

About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
Subscribe
Notify of
19 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Horse
Horse
4 years ago

Good pick.

Alldaway 2.0
Alldaway 2.0
Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

Agreed.

Most people will not know his game and will overreact haha. Watson will surprise people.

Alldaway 2.0
Alldaway 2.0
4 years ago

Boom! This draft is legendary so far.

This guy is a legit WR talent with nimble feet and will compete for a roster spot. One of the best Bucs drafts in recent memory.

Kimba
Kimba
Reply to  Alldaway 2.0
4 years ago

Completely agree, I’m amazed and very pleased, this kid sounds professional

Ron Gibson
Ron Gibson
Reply to  Alldaway 2.0
4 years ago

I agree. Of course we have to see how many make the team but I feel really good about this WR (Hey, you don’t put up those kind of numbers if you had hands o’ stone) and really good about R1-R3 picks.

But no matter how they turn out Licht handled the war room like a master. Boy did we pick Buffalo’s pocket. I never would have made that trade. Wyche hit the Lotto drafting Sapp and Brooks in the same year but the maneuvering Licht did was awesome.

Neubi
Neubi
4 years ago

Hm… I wished they had taken Equanimeous St. Brown from ND.
But we will see how this pans out

macabee
macabee
4 years ago

Just stuffing the quiver with arrows now. This is the definition of a sleeper pick – surprised he wasn’t picked before. Good length, 4.42/40 speed, and a good route runner.

Dman
Dman
Reply to  macabee
4 years ago

I think we’ve got another good one here that can fly! He said he’s been timed at 4.38 – I’ll take the 4.42 he ran at his pro-day, but I really want to see him stretch the field!!!!

Brooks Dunn-Winston
Brooks Dunn-Winston
4 years ago

wow, what a freak athlete. What a fucking draft!

BucWonder
BucWonder
4 years ago

Joe Jurevicius anyone?

Dman
Dman
Reply to  BucWonder
4 years ago

I think he’s faster than JJ! Have to believe he makes the roster as the 5 WR!!!

Ron Gibson
Ron Gibson
Reply to  Dman
4 years ago

Oh yeah he is faster than Joe but I’ll never forget that catch he made against Philly in the NFCC the year we won the SB. Everybody was like “Damn. How can that be JJ running that fast.”

surferdudes
4 years ago

The highlights I saw of him he never let the ball hit his body, big soft mitts on that boy. Makes catching the ball look effortlessly. You know he’s no dummy coming from Penn, good pick.

thewbacca
thewbacca
4 years ago

It’s official: Licht reads Pewter Report!!!

Darin
Darin
Reply to  thewbacca
4 years ago

No, pewter report reads Licht. Except for the Derwin thing, thank goodness. Maybe the Report was part of the smoke screen process tho! Glad they went Vea instead. James had me cringing. Great draft by Licht. He is finally working the draft like the football junkie he claims to be. Hope this draft makes him more patient in future drafts. I was hoping and hoping he’d trade back and he did it numerous times, against his nature for sure. This draft could end up being his best if the staff doesnt mess it up. Go Bucs

Ja'crispy
Ja'crispy
4 years ago

I like the jurevicous comparison.

Dude
Dude
4 years ago

This definitely looks like a solid draft and I can’t wait until preseason to see it all unfold. Go Bucs!!!

Ron Gibson
Ron Gibson
Reply to  Dude
4 years ago

Oh Gawd lets pray the injury jinx doesn’t rear its ugly head :(

Freeman Strickland
Freeman Strickland
4 years ago

I am not a Winston hater. But, his balls do not always exactly hit receivers in their hands. So, I liked this about the scouting report and NFL.com: “Makes late contortions to the ball to bring it in” With his speed, he should be a deep ball threat. So, considering the misses between Winston and Jackson last year, this also sounded good: “Finds it early and can bring it in over his shoulder. Ball skills are solid. Ball tracking comes easily’ Consistent to secure throws both high and low.” And, considering the need for red zone production, this sounded good:… Read more »