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T.J. Watt Drafted by Pittsburgh with 30th Pick

Considered by some experts as the best outside linebacker in the draft, former Wisconsin standout T.J. Watt was selected by Pittsburgh with the 30th overall pick

OLB T.J. Watt

Round One, Pick 30

Team: Pittsburgh

Bio Info

Pewaukee High School (Pewaukee, Wis.)

6-4, 252 pounds

4.69 40

33 1/8-inch arm length

11-inch hands

21 reps on bench press

37-inch vertical jump

Scout Pre-Draft Rankings

Three-star prospect

College Career

Following in his older brothers footsteps by coming to Wisconsin, Watt was an all-conference tight end his junior season and a quarterback his senior season. Starting off as a tight end, Watt redshirted in 2013 and battled knee injuries throughout the first two seasons. Switched to outside linebacker during the 2015 fall camp, Watt started to gain confidence in his new role and made a bigger impact in pass-rushing situations later in the season.

Becoming a starter in 2016, Watt posted a team-best 15.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks to earn first team All-Big Ten and multiple All-American honors.

Expert Breakdown

STRENGTHS - Uses his length and heavy hands to take on blocks, locking out to dictate the point of attack. Edge acceleration to threaten the corner. Natural balance and active feet to continue his momentum through contact. Attacks and disrupts the rhythm of blockers with his violence, rarely allowing himself to be locked up. Off-the-chart football instincts with an instant reactor. Senses what is about to happen and understands his surroundings. Field fast with the secondary quicks after shedding to string out plays. Fast angles working downhill as a blitzer, anticipating cracks in the foundation. Physical tackler and strikes through his target. Passionate competitor who brings the same energy each snap. Meticulous worker and football lifer with a true team-first mentality. 

WEAKNESSES - Tweener size and bulk with limited growth potential. Shows reaction quickness, but not naturally explosive. Rigid change of direction skills and doesn't redirect with loose flexibility. Lacks efficient move-to-move transition skills and needs to mature his pass rush arsenal. Overaggressive tendencies, getting too far upfield and abandoning his gaps. Average long-speed and lacks the recovery burst to close the gap in coverage - running backs and tight ends can create separation from him in their routes. Only one season of starting experience and played mostly on offense over his career until the 2015 season. Medicals require attention with multiple past knee injuries/surgeries, including to his left knee (Dec. 2013, March 2015) and right knee (Aug. 2014).

- CBS Draft Analyst Dane Brugler

Quotable

“I’ve heard it all. Obviously 3-4 outside backer is what I’ve done in college, so a lot of coaches know I can do that, but I’ve heard everything from defensive end in a 4-3 scheme to inside backer in the 403 scheme. I’m willing to do whatever to be honest with you.” – T.J. Watt


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