Kansas City Chiefs rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson shined last Thursday night in prime time when he took an interception 99 yards back for a touchdown in the fourth quarter with the game tied against the Los Angeles Chargers. His clutch play led to him being named Defensive Player of the Week for Week 2.
Watson was taken in the seventh round by the Chiefs and joined a defense that drafted four cornerbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft, which included first-round pick Trent McDuffie. It was reasonable to expect Watson to make the team but see limited snaps on defense.
Unfortunately, McDuffie suffered a hamstring injury in Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals in the second half. That opened the door for Watson, who came in and played well in coverage to help close out the game while the Chiefs won 44-21.
Chiefs rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson has played more snaps than expected early in the 2022 season, but has played above expectations so far.
Watson has played well so far, especially for a seventh-round pick. In 84 snaps, Watson has allowed just four catches for 31 yards and five yards after the catch while being targeted 10 times, according to Pro Football Focus’ premium stats.
The only knock on Watson so far is that he missed two tackles last Thursday night. He was not the only guilty member on defense with a missed tackle as the team had nine altogether that night.
Given the fact that he’s a seventh-round pick and was called on early in the season to step up, Watson has delivered for the Chiefs. As the Chiefs face a Colts offense that has scored the fewest points in the NFL, this gives Watson another opportunity to shine and refine his skills before the Chiefs face some more challenging teams.
For now, Watson’s number got called sooner than expected and he has played above expectations so far. If he continues going at this pace, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach could have the steal of the draft for two years in a row.