Jaylen Watson, the Chiefs’ seventh-round draft selection, has a chance to be the best story in training camp after an odyssey to get to the NFL.
The Chiefs used three draft picks on cornerbacks in 2022 as they start the process of rebuilding their CB room. The most unlikely of them is grabbing attention.
Seventh-round draft pick Jaylen Watson took a circuitous route to the NFL. It’s that journey that makes him one of the most intriguing players in training camp this year.
So who is Jaylen Watson?
Who is Jaylen Watson? 7th-round pick will be best story in Chiefs camp
Watson grew up in Georgia and played high school football at Laney High School in Augusta. He went the junior college route and landed at Ventura College in California. Immediately, he made it clear he was no ordinary JUCO prospect, picking off three passes in his debut.
From there he garnered major recruiting attention and signed to play for USC in 2019. However, he never put on the cardinal and gold uniform. Academics kept him from enrolling with the Trojans.
That might have been the end of his football career. He went home to Augusta and took a minimum job at a fast-food joint. The experience spurred him on to get his life on track.
“Working at Wendy’s, I realized I only had two choices,” Watson said to the Augusta Chronicle. “Either get my grades right and change for the better so that I could live the lifestyle I wanted to live, or put up with that kind of life I was living for the rest of my life, and it was an easy choice.”
It was a choice he followed through on. He got his grades right and enrolled at Washington State where he played just 15 games over two years because the COVID-19 pandemic abbreviated his debut in 2020.
It was enough to get him a shot in the NFL and the Chiefs are giving him that chance. He seems to be making the most of it already, drawing strong reviews from people in attendance at rookie minicamp.
Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to the NFL. Watson will have to continue to make the most of his opportunities. If he does, he’ll be a fixture in the Chiefs secondary for years to come.