Monday, April 10, 2017

2017 NFL Draft Profile: TJ Watt

TJ Watt, Wisconsin, 
6-4, 252
Watt is the youngest brother of NFL players JJ and Derek Watt. He came to Wisconsin as a TE, and redshirted in 2013. He then missed all of 2014 with a knee injury. He finally saw the field in 2015 as a LB.
In 2015, he finished with just eight tackles, 1.5 TFLs, three PBUs, four, and four QB hurries. 2016 was his only season as a full time starter, and he finished with 63 tackles, 15.5 TFLs, 11.5 sacks, four PBUs, 13 QB hurries, two forced fumbles, and a pick six.
He finished as a second team All-American and first team All-Big Ten pick in 2016.
The Good
Solid frame with room to add more muscle as a pro.
Uses solid arm extension to get under blocker pads, and can move a blocker down the lane of attack until he makes his jump.
Has excellent hands.
Knows how to disrupt a passing lane in a hurry.
Keeps his head up, and is always in hunter/killer mode for the ball.
Knows how to use his feet in traffic.
Has lateral pursuit speed.
Solid technique tackler, which is rare these days.
Smart player, looks like he has been on the field more than he has.
The Bad
Very limited sample size for him. Although his pedigree is solid he is still learning the job as he came to Wisconsin as a TE.
Lost a season to a knee injury, which cost him solid development.
Does not have amazing speed for what he does. Looks slow on tape sometimes.
More of a pure violence player, but not very athletic.
Does not have a ton of power at the point of attack. Will need to add that bulk as a pro.
Has to ride the wave with blockers, as he does not have enough pure power to get away once he is engaged and stuck there.
Final Overview
Watt certainly has two solid players for older brothers who may be in his ear all the time, which is a benefit. He'll certainly know what to expect on the next level. The issue I have with Watt is that there is simply too small a plate in which to see what he really is all about. He came out as a junior, and that was ill advised for him in my opinion. It certainly helps that this is an insanely weak class at LB, and he will certainly benefit from that as well.
He has some definite qualities at the position, but he is still very raw, and whichever team drafts him will have to work that out. He grades out as a first round pick here, but in a stronger class, he would be a second day pick.

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