Justin Watson

Justin Watson

Wide Receiver #15
Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ht / Wt:6'3" / 213 lb.
Drafted:2018 / Rd. 5 (144)
Draft Team:TB

Justin Watson: Faces competition from draft pick

Watson, who is expected to push for a No. 3 or No. 4 receiver job following the offseason departure of Breshad Perriman, will face competition from 2020 fifth-round pick Tyler Johnson.

Analysis: Watson and Johnson seemingly share many of the same traits, namely, reliable hands and routes, as well as an impressive college history of red-zone success. Watson, a fifth-round selection himself back in 2018 who racked up 31 touchdown grabs over his last three seasons at Penn, began to make some strides on offense at the tail end of last season after spending his rookie campaign almost exclusively on special teams. The 25-year-old saw expanded opportunity due to the hamstring injuries that cut short the seasons of both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin short, turning in a pair of five-catch, one-touchdown efforts over the last four games. However, Johnson is believed to have talent befitting a notably higher draft selection, and the fact he led Power 5 schools in red-zone catches, red-zone receiving yards and red-zone touchdowns over the last four seasons project to make him a formidable rival to Watson in the competition to slot in behind Evans and Godwin on the depth chart.

April 26, 2020 2:09 PM EST

Justin Watson: Makes strides in '19

Watson, who secured two of four targets for 27 yards in the Buccaneers' 28-22 overtime loss to the Falcons in Week 17, finished the 2019 season with 15 receptions (26 targets) for 149 yards and three additional yards on punt returns over 16 games.

Analysis: While those season numbers were decidedly modest, they represented career highs for Watson, who'd logged just a single reception over 12 games during his 2018 rookie campaign However, Watson wasn't really primed for a big boost in role until Mike Evans went down with a season-ending hamstring injury in Week 14 against the Colts, as he'd logged no more than 11 snaps from scrimmage in any game prior. The second-year wideout went on to gain some valuable experience over the final four contests of the season, a span that also saw Chris Godwin go down with a hamstring issue of his own and miss the last two-plus contests. Given that he turned in a solid performance relative to opportunity, Watson should be ready to make a push for a No. 3 or No. 4 receiver role next summer, particularly if Breshad Perriman, who's set to become an unrestricted free agent, isn't brought back.

January 4, 2020 7:33 PM EST

Justin Watson: Scores TD in starting role

Watson caught five of 10 targets for 43 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's 23-20 loss to the Texans.

Analysis: Watson stepped into the No. 2 receiver role behind Breshad Perriman with both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin sidelined by hamstring injuries. He scored from eight yards out late in the first half, giving him two touchdowns in his last three games. Watson will be an appealing option in deeper formats if both Evans and Godwin remain out against the Falcons in Week 17.

December 21, 2019 2:14 PM EST

Justin Watson: Starting role awaits

Watson is expected to serve as a starting receiver for Saturday's game against the Texans, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: Watson has caught seven passes for 86 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets over the past two games while handling near-identical 55 and 56 percent offensive snap shares in wins of the Colts and Lions, respectively. Expect his workload to take a more notable jump in Week 16, as the Buccaneers will be missing Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and Scott Miller to hamstring injuries, with the latter two receivers getting shut down for the season. After a big performance in Detroit (five catches for 113 yards and three touchdowns on six targets), Breshad Perriman profiles as the clear No. 1 receiver, but Watson should comfortably slot ahead of fellow wideouts Ishmael Hyman, Cyril Grayson and Spencer Schnell, all of whom resided on the Buccaneers' or another team's practice squad as recently as two weeks ago. Along with Perriman and Watson, tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate should see expanded roles in the Buccaneers' passing attack Saturday while its top two targets are out of commission.

December 19, 2019 11:42 AM EST

Justin Watson: Pair of grabs in Week 15 win

Watson brought in both of his targets for 17 yards in the Buccaneers' 38-17 win over the Lions on Sunday.

Analysis: Watson was slated to see extra work with Mike Evans (hamstring) out of action, and the potential for an even bigger spike in workload was there when both Chris Godwin and Scott Miller also exited the contest due to the same issue. However, Watson still saw a disappointingly low target share, That could be poised to change in Week 16 against the Texans, however, when the second-year wideout may be primed for volume akin to the eight looks he logged against the Colts in Week 14 as a result of the potential absences of Evans, Godwin and Miller versus Houston.

December 16, 2019 11:54 AM EST

Justin Watson: Slated to fill in for Evans

Watson is expected to play a starting role in Tampa Bay's wide receiver corps as long as Mike Evans (hamstring) remains sidelined, Jenna Laine of ESPN reports.

Analysis: Watson scored the first touchdown of his career during Week 14's win over the Colts while hauling in five of eight targets for 59 yards. His increased opportunity came after Mike Evans (hamstring) was forced out of the contest, and the second-year pro's impressive performance appears to have secured him the chance to continue playing a similar role. With Evans expected to sit out a minimum of one contest and in real danger of missing multiple games, Watson could be worth fantasy consideration in deep leagues.

December 11, 2019 3:08 PM EST

Justin Watson: First career touchdown grab in win

Watson secured five of eight targets for 59 yards and a touchdown in the Buccaneers' 38-35 win over the Colts on Sunday. He also returned two punts for three yards.

Analysis: The second-year receiver finally got an opportunity to show what he could do on offense after having been relegated to special teams the majority of the season. Injuries were responsible for Watson's opportunities Sunday, as the joint absences of Scott Miller (hamstring) and T.J. Logan (thumb) opened up the No. 4 receiver and top punt returner jobs, specifically. Watson was able to notch his first career score with a 17-yard grab late in the third quarter to cut into a 35-21 deficit at the time. A prolific college receiver during his time at Penn, Watson will hope for an opportunity again in Week 15 against the vulnerable Lions defense, which could come even if Miller returns since Mike Evans (hamstring) seems likely to miss that contest at minimum.

December 8, 2019 7:56 PM EST

Justin Watson: Set to return punts

Watson is expected to serve as Tampa Bay's top punt returner versus the Colts on Sunday, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Analysis: Watson's opportunity comes with T.J. Logan out for the season with a broken thumb and Scott Miller (hamstring) expected to miss Week 14. The second-year receiver is coming off a Week 13 showing in which he logged a season-high 11 snaps on offense but failed to catch his lone target.

December 6, 2019 9:21 AM EST

Justin Watson: Season-high 11 offensive snaps

Watson logged a season-high 11 snaps on offense but failed to bring in his only target during the Buccaneers' 28-11 win over the Jaguars on Sunday.

Analysis: Watson saw a slight bump in playing time with Scott Miller (hamstring) out of action, but it didn't lead to any actual production. The second-year receiver has just one catch for 13 yards on the season, although with 28 snaps from scrimmage all year, it isn't as if he's been squandering an abundance of opportunities. Watson could see action as the No. 4 receiver again in Week 14 versus the Colts if Miller sits out that contest as well.

December 3, 2019 10:30 PM EST

Justin Watson: Bypassed on offense

Watson has logged a total of just four snaps on offense over the last two games despite No. 3 receiver Breshad Perriman (hamstring) being inactive for both contests.

Analysis: Watson has seen both rookie Scott Miller and the just-released Bobo Wilson leapfrog him over that pair of contests, and team up to fill Perriman's shoes in the offense. With Wilson now out of the equation, there's presumably a chance for Watson to finally log some appreciable playing time from scrimmage in Week 8 against the Titans, especially if the rumors surrounding a possible Perriman release also come to fruition.

October 16, 2019 8:49 AM EST

Justin Watson: Records first reception of season

Watson secured his only target for 13 yards in the Buccaneers' 55-40 win over the Rams on Sunday.

Analysis: Watson saw some extended action on offense due to the early exit of Breshad Perriman with a hamstring injury. The 24-year-old's one reception was his first of the campaign, and he could be in line for No. 3 receiver work in Week 5 against the Saints if Perriman remains sidelined for that contest.

September 29, 2019 6:05 PM EST

Justin Watson: Snaps from scrimmage limited

Watson was not targeted in the Buccaneers' 20-14 win over the Panthers on Thursday and played just two snaps from scrimmage during the contest.

Analysis: Watson has now played all of three snaps on offense over the first two games, as coach Bruce Arians has kept his pass-catching rotation relatively tight. The second-year wideout has been logging plenty of time on coverage and return units, however, as he's played a total of 34 special teams snaps in the first pair of contests. While the top wideout duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are naturally fully entrenched in their roles, the early struggles of Breshad Perriman (two receptions on nine targets across first two games) as the No. 3 receiver could ultimately lead to more opportunities for Watson on offense if they persist.

September 13, 2019 10:24 AM EST

Justin Watson: Two more catches in preseason win

Watson brought in both of his targets for 21 yards in the Buccaneers' 13-12 preseason win over the Browns on Friday.

Analysis: Watson maximized his modest amount of opportunity, logging a pair of receptions for second straight preseason game. The second-year wideout has eight catches overall across his first three exhibitions, a solid tally that still leaves him in the midst of a battle for the No. 4 receiver role with Bobo Wilson heading into next Thursday's preseason finale versus the Cowboys.

August 24, 2019 10:08 AM EST

Justin Watson: Pair of grabs in second exhibition

Watson brought in two of six targets for 22 yards in the Buccaneers' 16-14 preseason win over the Dolphins on Friday.

Analysis: Watson brought in only 33.0 percent of his targets, and he actually gained 23 yards on one reception before losing a yard on the second grab. The second-year wideout saw fellow competitor for the No. 4 receiver job, Bobo Wilson, put together a more productive 2-48 line, so the job battle remains very much alive. Watson will look to make a stronger case in next week's exhibition against the Browns.

August 18, 2019 8:59 PM EST

Justin Watson: Solid showing in preseason opener

Watson brought in four of seven targets for 37 yards in the Buccaneers' 30-28 preseason loss to the Steelers on Friday.

Analysis: Watson was solid in his first opportunity to make a case for the No. 4 receiver role this preseason. The second-year wideout needs to continue making good on his chances, as Bobo Wilson, a primary competitor for that slotting on the depth chart, is also a talented returner and carried over some of his training camp success at receiver into Friday's game.

August 10, 2019 11:22 AM EST

Justin Watson: Preparing for diversified role

Watson is splitting reps at outside receiver and in the slot "down the middle" during early camp practices and has received praise from coach Bruce Arians for his flexibility in adapting to the needs of both positions, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports.

Analysis: The second-year wideout is battling to secure the No. 4 receiver role this summer, with his primary competition likely to come from the speedy Bobo Wilson. Watson has been focused on both playing with more speed than he did during his limited opportunities in his rookie 2018 season and on refining his blocking, with the latter a vital part of any slot work he might be asked to carry out. With a total of 179 targets from last season having left town in the form of Adam Humphries (free agency) and DeSean Jackson (trade), Watson would seemingly line up for a solid amount of opportunities in the coming season despite the heavy volume the pass catchers in front of him will command, especially if he proves he can handle both outside and inside routes equally well.

July 29, 2019 6:19 AM EST

Justin Watson: Getting slot reps

Watson took frequent slot reps during spring practices, Greg Auman of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: New coach Bruce Arian previously discussed using Chris Godwin in the slot, which likely would leave Mike Evans (hamstring) and Breshad Perriman as the outside receivers in three-wide formations. Of course, Perriman's role in the offense is no sure thing, so the Bucs may pivot to a different plan if Watson or Scott Miller outplays the 2015 first-round pick this summer. Watson was a fifth-round selection in 2018, lifted by an impressive showing at his pro day -- 4.44 40, 124-inch broad jump -- after a prolific Ivy League career with 3,777 receiving yards at Penn. He primarily played special teams his rookie season, catching one pass for five yards on 73 offensive snaps.

July 19, 2019 12:53 PM EST

Justin Watson: Suddenly has path to playing time

Watson is part of a remade Buccaneers receiving corps that lost DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries but added Breshad Perriman, Carmen Vitali of the team's official website reports.

Analysis: Buried on the depth chart throughout his rookie season, Watson now figures to compete with Perriman for the No. 3 receiver job, though the outlook could change if Tampa Bay adds a splashy signing or draft pick to its wideout group. The 2018 fifth-round pick was dominant at the FCS level and displayed first-rate athleticism at his pro day, but he played just 73 snaps on offense (one reception) and 194 on special teams as a rookie. New coach Bruce Arians presumably intends for most of the targets to go to Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard.

March 15, 2019 1:09 PM EST

Justin Watson: Modest rookie campaign

Watson failed to bring in his only target during the Buccaneers' 34-32 loss to the Falcons on Sunday and finished the 2018 season with one reception (three targets) for five yards across 12 games.

Analysis: The 2018 fifth-round pick put together an impressive college resume at Penn, but he saw minimal opportunity to prove himself at the NFL level during his rookie campaign. Watson was a healthy scratch for the first three games of the season, but he saw action in 12 of the subsequent 13 contests. However, Watson logged only single-digit snaps from scrimmage in all but one game, as his primary value came on coverage and return units. The 23-year-old should bump up at least one slot on the depth chart upon DeSean Jackson's likely release this offseason, and an exit by Adam Humphries via unrestricted free agency would exponentially increase Watson's opportunity to make a 2019 impact.

January 2, 2019 7:55 PM EST

Justin Watson: Logs first career catch in loss

Watson brought in his only target for five yards in the Buccaneers' 37-34 loss to the Bengals on Sunday.

Analysis: Watson logged snaps on offense for the fourth straight game, but Sunday saw him make his first career catch. The rookie has been a mainstay on special teams, and the 12 snaps from scrimmage he played against the Bengals represented a career high. Despite his participation level seeing a slight bump in Week 8, Watson remains far down the pecking order in the Buccaneers' prolific air attack.

October 29, 2018 8:22 AM EST

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