NFL CAREER – A combination of athleticism, strength and speed, Watson is expected to team with Jimmy Graham and help give the Saints offense even more of a boost because of his sure hands and rugged body. Watson, originally a first round draft pick of the New England Patriots in 2004, comes to New Orleans after spending the last three seasons with the Cleveland Browns, where in 2012, he finished with 49 receptions for 501 yards with three touchdowns. With career totals in 116 games with 88 starts of 321 receptions for 3,776 yards (11.8 avg.) with 28 touchdowns, Watson’s ability to get open as well as his outstanding leadership abilities will make him a solid fit for the Saints both on and off the field.
CAREER TRANSACTIONS – Signed by Saints to a three-year contract, 3/18/13; Placed on Injured Reserve by Cleveland Browns, 12/16/11; Signed by Cleveland to a three-year contract (UFA-NE), 3/12/10; Placed on Injured Reserve by the New England Patriots, 9/29/04; Signed by New England to a six-year contract, 8/16/04; Selected by New England in the first round (32nd overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft.
2012 – Played in all 16 games with 14 starts in his final season in Cleveland and recorded 49 receptions for 501 yards and three touchdowns. His reception total was fourth on the team, while he was third in both receiving TDs and receiving yardage. His reception total tied for the second-highest of his career, while his yardage total was third…In club’s first win of season vs. Cincinnati, Oct. 14, gave the Browns the lead for good with a fourth quarter touchdown reception…Recorded four receptions for 47 yards and tied a career-high with two touchdowns at Dallas, Nov. 18…Registered six receptions for a season-high 80 yards at Oakland, Dec. 2…Led Browns in receiving in season finale at Pittsburgh, Dec. 30, with seven receptions for 64 yards. 2011 – Started 11 of the 13 games in which he played. Caught 37 passes for 410 yards and two touchdowns, finishing third on the team in receptions and receiving yards…Had three catches for 45 yards vs. Cincinnati, Sept. 11, including a 34-yard touchdown grab…Hauled in a season-high six receptions for 48 yards vs. Tennessee, Oct. 2, and scored on a 10-yard pass from Colt McCoy on fourth-and-nine in the fourth quarter…Appeared in his 100th career regular season contest at Pittsburgh, Dec. 8, and caught two passes for 11 yards before leaving the game in the second quarter with a concussion. 2010 – Started a career-high 16 games and led the team in all three receiving categories with 68 receptions for 763 yards and three touchdowns. Reception total was 10th in the AFC, first among conference tight ends and fifth among NFL tight ends. Reception total also was the sixth-highest single-season figure by a Browns tight end. Yardage figure was second among NFL tight ends, trailing only Antonio Gates (782). It also was fifth-most among all NFL tight ends and was the eighth-most ever by a Browns tight end. Became the first Browns tight end to lead the Browns in receiving yards since Ozzie Newsome (711) in 1985. One of only three NFL tight ends (Zach Miller, Vernon Davis) to lead their club in both receptions and receiving yards. Had five or more catches in a game eight times…Hauled in career-long 44-yard reception from Seneca Wallace against Kansas City, Sept. 19…Recorded touchdown receptions from Wallace (at Baltimore, Sept. 26), McCoy (at Pittsburgh, Oct. 17) and Jake Delhomme (at Miami, Dec. 5). Against the Dolphins, set a career-high with 10 receptions, totaling 100 yards. 2009 – Appeared in 16 games with seven starts in his final season in New England. Ranked fifth on the team with 29 receptions for 404 yards and five touchdowns…Recorded a season-high six receptions for 77 yards, while matching a career-high with two touchdowns against Buffalo, Sept. 14. 2008 – Played in 14 games with nine starts for New England and finished fifth on the team with 22 receptions for 209 yards and five touchdowns…Tallied season-highs with eight receptions for 88 yards and one touchdown against N.Y. Jets, Nov. 13…Registered his second touchdown reception of the season with a two-yard scoring strike from Matt Cassel in the Patriots’ comeback win at Seattle, Dec. 7. 2007 – Saw action in 12 games with eight starts and recorded 36 receptions for 289 yards, with a career-high six touchdowns…Set career-highs in receiving yards (107) and touchdowns (2) vs. Cleveland, Oct. 7…Member of special teams unit that blocked for Ellis Hobbs’ NFL record-setting 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in opener at N.Y. Jets, Sept. 9…Recorded a touchdown reception in each of the first three games of the season…Hauled in his sixth touchdown catch of the season on a three-yard score at Buffalo, Nov. 18…Tied the Patriots’ playoff record for moth touchdown receptions in a game with a pair of scores in the team’s divisional playoff victory over Jacksonville, 1/12/08. 2006 – Started all 13 games in which he appeared and finished second on the team with 49 receptions for 643 receiving yards with three touchdowns…Led the team with 95 receiving yards on seven receptions with a touchdown at Minnesota, Oct. 30…Led the team with five receptions and 74 receiving yards, including a touchdown, at Green Bay, Nov. 19…Tied for team lead with six receptions for a team-high 87 yards and a touchdown against Chicago, Nov. 26…Led the team with five receptions for 48 yards in AFC Championship at Indianapolis, 1/21/07. 2005 – Played in 15 games with nine starts. Led all New England tight ends with 29 receptions for 441 yards and four touchdowns…Snared his first career touchdown, on a 33-yard pass from Tom Brady against Atlanta, Oct. 9….Led the team with 66 receiving yards on four receptions against New Orleans, Nov. 20…Led the team with five receptions and 91 receiving yards, including a 63-yard touchdown in the Wild Card Playoff game against Jacksonville, 1/7/06, marking the longest touchdown reception in Patriots playoff history…In a losing effort in the Divisional Playoff game at Denver, 1/14/06, made a spectacular effort play, when he ran down Broncos CB Champ Bailey on a 100-yard interception return at the Patriots one-yard line, preventing him from scoring a touchdown on the pick. 2004 – Started only game in which he played…Made NFL debut against Indianapolis, Sept. 9, and recorded two receptions for 16 yards…Placed on injured reserve with a knee injury on September 29.
COLLEGE – Registered 73 receptions for 945 receiving yards (12.9 avg.) and seven touchdowns during his collegiate career…Began his career at Duke University (1999), catching eight passes for 93 yards and one touchdown…As a three-year letterman at the University of Georgia (2001-03), recorded 65 receptions for 852 yards (13.6 avg.) and six touchdowns…Served as offensive team captain as a senior…A preseason All-America and All-Southeastern Conference selection as a senior…Posted 23 receptions for 324 yards and two touchdowns as a senior...Started 13 games as a junior, registering 31 catches for 341 yards and three touchdowns…Majored in finance.
PERSONAL – Born Benjamin Seth Watson in Norfolk, Va…Attended Northwestern (Rock Hill, S.C.) HS…Recorded 31 receptions for 515 yards and five touchdowns as a senior…Led team to state championship as junior…Traveled to Israel with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and a group from Boston area in 2008…In the winter of 2007, traveled with a small group of NFL players on USO tour visiting U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan…Has traveled to China as Patriots ambassador…Lists photography as a hobby…Member of both the National Honor Society in high school and Fellowship of Christian Athletes…Created the One More Foundation which is dedicated to spreading the love and hope of Christ to one more soul (www.WatsonOneMore.org)...Recipient of 2012 Athletes in Action Call to Courage Award...Married (Kirsten) with two daughters (Grace Makayla and Naomi Love) and two sons (Isaiah Benjamin and Judah Seth).
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees finds tight end Benjamin Watson for a 1-yard touchdown.
New Orleans Saints senior writer John DeShazier chats with TE Benjamin Watson for the Morning Report on Friday, October 25, 2013. (New Orleans Saints video)
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees throws a 32-yard pass to tight end Benjamin Watson against the New England Patriots in Week 6.
New Orleans Saints TE Benjamin Watson speaks with John DeShazier prior to practice for the New Orleans Saints Morning Report on Saturday, August 3, 2013.