Rookie Receiver Watson Talks Tears, Early Call

May 5th, 2018

Receiver Justin Watson isn’t your typical fifth-round draft pick in a lot of ways.

The man is an absolute icon, a folk hero at his school, the University of Pennsylvania.

He holds nearly every Penn receiving record, so it’s no surprise that he’s getting a mountain of media attention in his home region. Joe’s found that the Ivy League NFL prospects always seem to get extra love, which could be a good sociology study for a grad student somewhere.

Anyway, as quoted in The Daily Pennsylvanian, Watson said shared more on his draft-day phone call from Jason Licht, who actually called him early and decisively, seemingly certain he wouldn’t be trading down.

“When they first called, it started to hit me, and I started tearing up and getting emotional,” Watson told Penn Athletics. “And I think after getting off the phone with them, it still felt kind of surreal — still feels like a dream right now, but I’m just soaking in every moment. …

“[When the phone] said Tampa, Florida on it, I just rushed with emotion … the GM [Jason Licht] said, ‘in two picks, we’re gonna make you a Tampa Bay Buc, how does that sound?’ and I was just so excited,” Watson said. “It was the place I wanted to play in from the beginning; I love the receivers coach [Skylar Fulton], I love the offensive coordinator [Todd Monken], and it’s gonna be a great place for me.”

Joe found the phone call timing interesting, with Licht calling well in advance of the pick.

Sure-handed Watson snagged 14 touchdowns last season, including one in every game, which set an Ivy League record. He’s got the big body (6-3, 225) and the 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash.

Is he the next Kenny Bell, the Broncos wide receiver (zero career catches) who was the Bucs’ 2015 fifth-round pick? Or is he the next Chris Godwin, last year’s third-round steal?

Somewhere in the middle would probably work out just fine.

39 Responses to “Rookie Receiver Watson Talks Tears, Early Call”

  1. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Big hopes for this guy to make the team………but he’s a long shot

  2. Blake_Bucsfan Says:

    We’ll be able to tell if he’s the next Kenny Bell if he suddenly loses the ability to catch anything once he puts pads on.

  3. Defense Rules Says:

    Don’t think he’s a long-shot at all Anthem. More like a slam dunk. Licht is looking ahead to next year … this year Watson might end up being the #6 receiver, but next year he could very well be the #3 or #4 receiver. Follow the money.

  4. Bird Says:

    Pulling for him but yah it could be a long shot.

    6’3 225 and runs 4.4 and I think 40 inch Vert and 19 bench.
    That’s an athlete right there and from what I hear he will put in the time and work hard (cam brate will be perfect mentor )

  5. Kalind Says:

    If he can catch, figure out where to be and can block, he makes the team. Full stop.

  6. TheBucsAnthem Says:


    OMG……….nothing can be worse than Kenny Bell

    WHOOPS!!!!! I lied…..

    How about “Dexter Jackson” for App State………..that guy was a brief footnote on what not to do in the Draft……thanks Gruden

    Oh….and how did the Raiders do again in the Draft……….their picks had the signature stench of Gruden/GM/Power Control Freak ALL OVER IT

    I really feel bad for Raiders fans…..opps! Sorry…got off topic….now where was I again????

    Oh yeah……..I hope this guy makes it again 🙂

  7. ComeOnJoe Says:

    Lol Blake.

  8. lambchop Says:

    This guy is going to compete. He seems physically gifted.

    Watson could be the 2nd coming of another Penn guy (Penn State) – Joe Jurevicius.

    He will at least take Freddy Martino’s spot on the roster.

  9. firethecannons Says:

    Cool, kid sounds great, need to get ready, don’t suspect we will be keeping Jacksonn long and you never know bout the injury bug. Glad we got him.

  10. dnatt Says:

    This guy is going to b the steal of the draft. He has the height n speed to compete with the big dogs. I think eventually his style will fit in between ME n DJax. He will outshine n take the spots of AHumphries n FMartino before the season begins.

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Not a long shot IMO…..Simply must beat out Martino or Bobo

  12. Casual Observer Says:

    Glad we got him too. For the future. The Bucs seem to do well with Ivy leaguers. I would bet on him making it.

  13. AlteredEgo Says:


  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Speaking for Pablo

    “Pablo wishes all a happy Cinco De Mayo.,,,Pablo thinks Hustin is a stud like Hulio Hones”

  15. Not there yet Says:

    Applaud Licht for trying to push the guys at the bottom of the roster. Shame we haven’t been able to upgrade from Freddie Martino a guy who gets 2 or 3 touches a year

  16. Mikadeemas Says:

    Bell STILL doesn’t have an NFL catch!?!? What the……..

  17. Ga. Buc fan 42years Says:

    This years Adam Humphries! Even tho Hump wasn’t drafted, I get the feeling that Juicetin will put in the work it takes to be outstanding! Welcome, We’ll be rooting for you! Go BUCS!

  18. donuts Says:

    Watson could be a weapon in red zone for Winston like Brate. Winston to Watson Touch Down! sounds good…has nice ring to it.

  19. Guzzie Says:

    6’3 225 4.4 is an elite athlete, his measurable so are comparable to Julio Jones which is insane, this guy goes to even a MAC type school, he’s at least a 2nd rounder, he’s probably the 3rd smartest guy on the team behind the Harvard guys lol, playbook won’t be a problem, he’s the best athlete in this WR class, hope the coaches don’t bury him on the depth chart

  20. Birdman Says:

    Kenny Bell is still going to make a pro bowl, just wait 😂😂

  21. passthebuc Says:


    Kenny Bell is still going to make a pro bowl, just wait

    Only if someone sends him a ticket to the game.

  22. Realbucfan941 Says:

    He’ll make the team.. no doubt. Licht’s thinking next year and beyond. Jackson gone next year, Godwin 2, and I’m betting Watson 3rd displacing humpries.

  23. Pickgrin Says:

    Good late rd pick.

    Lotta upside with this guy if he can be molded into an NFL receiver.

    DJax will likely be gone in 2019. Perhaps Humphries too…

  24. Hodad Says:

    I’d keep him, and Bobo Wilson over Humphries who I believe has already reached his ceiling. Bobo stepped on the field for one game and caught a T.D. something Humphries couldn’t do all year. Put D Jax in the slot, and let Godwin, Evans, and Watson play outside. They didn’t extend Adam, that should tell us something.

  25. Stanglassman Says:

    Guzzle-thanks for sending me down that Julio Jones vs Justin Watson comparison rabbit hole. Great call, I knew they were close but didn’t realize just how much.
    Best thing that happened for the Bucs is Watson getting snubbed by the NFL combine invite. He probably would have gone 4-5th round had he been able to put up those numbers on that stage.

  26. NFLNut Says:

    l fully expect Watson to make the team as the #5 WR, be the #4 receiver by the end of this season, be the #3 receiver by next season … and stick long-term as the #3 receiver.

  27. Guzzie Says:

    Keep an eye on Bobo he’s got some Steve Smith attitude in him, that little big man syndrome, he’s a perfect slot receiver shifty, tough excellent YAC ability

  28. El_Buc941 Says:

    Is everyone around here blind Joe?! What Jason Licht is doing is getting players to keep the tempo going at an unpredictable pace during the game. You have McCoy and Vita that can hold their own now if you swap alternate them it will keep the pressure on the QB without getting them both tired. The same with these receivers we have,Evans,BRATE,Humphries,Djax,Howard,Godwin,and now watson.thats 7 receivers that would likely be starters on any other team.of course there is a drop off after Evans but the rest of the guys…and if RoJo3 works out…watch out NFC South!

  29. JWBUCS Says:

    The Bucs could easily have the Finest collection of Wide Receivers in the entire NFL, fielding six guys on the roster. I am certainly hoping for dramatic Team improvements in the Win column for 2018, but hold on 2019…

  30. denjoe Says:

    Joe found the phone call timing interesting, with Licht calling well in advance of the pick.

    Yeah it is very interesting! in a good way.

  31. Easy Says:

    Right now he’s in and Bobo is out

  32. R.O. Says:

    I wouldn’t say 5 Minutes is “WELL” in advance… c’mon. 2 picks is 5 mins.
    It’s significant in multiple ways. –Joe

  33. Dave Says:

    Im not worried about WR

    They have
    ME, DJax, Humph, Godwin, two TEs…
    This kid is going for the 5th WR spot

  34. Mike Evans GOAT Says:

    The significance of Licht calling 2 picks in advance is that Shaq Griffin was taken 3 picks ahead of Watson. That tells me Griffin was the pick, but when he was gone Watson was plan B.

  35. unbelievable Says:

    Definitely significant.

    Makes you wonder what kind of talks and hand shake deals go on between GMs in later rounds on who they are trying to draft…

  36. unbelievable Says:

    ^Agreed on Griffin, GOAT…

  37. Owlykat Says:

    With the development of Watson Koetter will have the fourth receiver to really use his Vertical Four Offense if our new OL is able to hold out the other side for just five seconds and two deep Safeties can’t cover all four! Then they have to keep both Safeties deep and we hand the ball off to Jones and watch him take it to the house! However, we need to keep Humphries because he has the quickness and experience to get open to keep drives going on third down. Watson is a definite KEEPER. Let Bobo Show what he can do in Preseason this year. He hasn’t separated himself from the other receivers in the Preseason that I remember.

  38. Kungfulem Says:

    The t.v. Broadcast of the picks in the later rounds were several picks behind so just because he got the call early does not mean the other picks were not already in.
    It also doesn’t mean they were in. –Joe

  39. Brandon Says:

    A 5th round pick is almost rarely ever a longshot to make a team. They might be longshots to be starters or even ever be stars, but you expect your 5th rounders to make the team and it is very rare for teams to cut 5th round rookies (you usually see one or two every year, while maybe one 4th rounder gets cut). Barring injury, he will be on the team. He’s got excellent hands, good size for the position, and pretty good speed. He showed very well in the Senior Bowl and Shrine games and practices.

    I’m not sure if other people have noticed, but the Bucs under Licht, are very fond of the Senior Bowl prospects. It’s a great evaluating tool to actually see these guys up close and personal, how they practice and prepare, as well as see them put their skills to the test against other prospects in one-on-ones.