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McFeely blog: Final mock drafts are in and ... nothing definitive on Watson

Expectations are NDSU wide receiver will be picked in late first round or early second and opinions of NFL experts are equally split

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North Dakota State’s Christian Watson goes up for a pass against Butler’s Cameron Browning during their football game Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, at Target Field, Minneapolis.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
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FARGO — Experts have offered their final mock NFL Drafts and, true to form, there is no consensus on the fate of North Dakota State wide receiver Christian Watson.

The draft begins Thursday at 7 p.m. in Las Vegas with first-round selections. It will be televised by the NFL Network.

Five top draft analysts posted their final mock drafts Thursday. Two of them have Watson going late in the first round and three do not include Watson in the top 32 picks.

That's on par with the general belief Watson could go in either the latter stages of the first round or the early selections of the second round. Watson said last weekend the majority of NFL teams that have talked with his agent indicated he'd be drafted early in the second round.

"Not all of them, but the majority," Watson said.

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ESPN's Mel Kiper, the best-known draft analyst, has Watson going with the 28th overall pick in the first round to the Green Bay Packers in his final mock.

"Here you go, Aaron Rodgers. Here's your first-round receiver," Kiper wrote. "Watson is 6-foot-4 and ran a 4.36-second 40 at the combine. He averaged 20.2 yards per catch in his career for the Bison. He has a chance to develop into a true No. 1 wideout."

Kiper had Watson going 22nd to the Packers in his previous mock draft.

The Athletic's Dane Brugler, who had Watson going early in the second round with the 39th overall pick to the Chicago Bears, has moved up the receiver to the first round. Brugler now predicts Watson will go with the 29th pick to the Kansas City Chiefs.

ESPN's Todd McShay and NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah both had Watson in the first round in previous mocks, but dropped him out for their final versions.

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein doesn't have Watson in the first round, but does have him listed at the top of round two with the designation that he could go in the first round.

Here is the first-round draft order:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars
2. Detroit Lions
3. Houston Texans
4. New York Jets
5. New York Giants
6. Carolina Panthers
7. New York Giants (from Chicago Bears)
8. Atlanta Falcons
9. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver Broncos)
10. New York Jets (from Seattle Seahawks)
11. Washington Commanders
12. Minnesota Vikings
13. Houston Texans (from Cleveland Browns)
14. Baltimore Ravens
15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami Dolphins)
16. New Orleans Saints (from Indianapolis Colts via Philadelphia Eagles)
17. Los Angeles Chargers
18. Philadelphia Eagles (from New Orleans Saints)
19. New Orleans Saints (from Philadelphia Eagles)
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
21. New England Patriots
22. Green Bay Packers (from Las Vegas Raiders)
23. Arizona Cardinals
24. Dallas Cowboys
25. Buffalo Bills
26. Tennessee Titans
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
28. Green Bay Packers
29. Kansas City Chiefs (from San Francisco 49ers via Miami Dolphins)
30. Kansas City Chiefs
31. Cincinnati Bengals
32. Detroit Lions (from Los Angeles Rams)

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The 2022 NFL Draft

Thursday: First round, 7 p.m. Central

Friday: Second and third rounds, 6 p.m. Central

Saturday: Fourth through seventh rounds, 11 a.m. Central

TV: NFL Network and ESPN

Mike McFeely is a columnist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began working for The Forum in the 1980s while he was a student studying journalism at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He's been with The Forum full time since 1990, minus a six-year hiatus when he hosted a local radio talk-show.
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