T.J. Watt: What scouts are saying

Bob McGinn
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
View Comments
Wisconsin Badgers linebacker T.J. Watt (42) fires up the crowd during the first quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at  Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Oct. 1, 2016.

Here's what NFL personnel people told the Journal Sentinel’s Bob McGinn about Wisconsin edge rusher T.J. Watt, selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the No. 30 pick in Friday's first round, before the draft:

AFC scout: “I’m a big Watt guy. He’s just a really, really good football player. Not that he’s devoid of physical talent. He has enough athletic traits. He’s strong and smart. Knows what to do. It’s kind of remarkable in that he’s really only played one year of outside backer. He looks like he’s been playing there his whole life. I think he could play ‘mike’ in a 3-4. I love the way the guy plays. He’s not as genetically gifted as that one (older brother J.J.) but as far as making the most of what he does have, yeah.”

AFC scout: “I don’t think Watt can get in there (first round). It would shock me if he did. He has the injury history. This is really his only year of production. But, you can’t deny what he did this year. He’s big and tested out pretty well.”

AFC scout: “I think he’ll end up in the second round. One-year starter. He’s good.”

RELATED: McGinn's draft rankings and analysis

RELATED: Watt, Ramczyk go in first round

AFC scout: “Needs to play with more strength and base. On the ground too much. Has tremendous (work) ethic. He is on the come. Athletically really tested well.”

AFC scout: “I don’t think he’s a first-rounder. I like him a lot. He’s a 3-4 outside backer. Good rusher, good motor. He’s not as talented as his brother but he plays the same way. Hard every play.”

AFC scout: “There’s no (expletive) way (first-round pick) if you watch the film. I think (Vince) Biegel is better than him. There’s no way Ted (Thompson) would do that. If he does that then he’s lost his mind. He’s not athletic. He runs 4.7. He’s not special, I’m just telling you. He’s not as good as Ryan Kerrigan. I’d say Trent Murphy is a good comparison. He should have stayed in (school) because he needs to get bigger and stronger. Face of the program. Really dialed in. He’s high-cut a little bit.”

AFC scout: “He’s not a first-rounder. He’s physical and tough. He tested out well. Plays hard. “

NFC scout: “He could slide in the first. I see a good, solid player. Not a 4-3 defensive end. Overachiever. Hard worker. Aggressive player. He and (Takk) McKinley are about even.”

PACKERS PICKS: Selections by round

DRAFT TRACKER: Pick-by-pick coverage

SILVERSTEINDay 1 coverage of Packers, draft

NFC scout: “He’s a second-rounder for me. Some 3-4 team is going to take him as a ‘sam’ over the tight end. He’s a hell of a kid.”

AFC scout: “I gave him a higher grade than his brother (J.J.). I think he’s special. He finishes things. You question some things about him but all he does is make plays. Just plays his tail off. Boy, does he have pass-rush technique. I guess he learned them from his brother. He’s Clay Matthews. Probably more explosive. Matthews didn’t rush the passer that much in college. His zone drops were OK. He’s really alert. When he doesn’t penetrate he gets his hands up.”

NFC scout: “I don’t think he’s in the class of his brother but I was wrong on his brother. He’s a 3-4 guy all the way. He is a high-conscience player that gives you everything he’s got. More of a pass rusher than a run defender. Bonus is he’s a special-teamer. I liked his awareness, instincts and skill to keep blockers away from his body. What are his enemies? I’d say size and strength. The closer he gets to heavy traffic, the less effective he’s going to be. Not as talented as Clay Matthews. Who is?”

AFC scout: “I don’t see him in the first round. He’s a solid backup-rotational type player. I don’t think he’s a definite starter on any team. He may eventually because of the intangibles, effort, the way he plays the game. But not just on pure talent.”

NFC scout: “He’s a second- or third-round player.”

NFC scout: “He’ll go second round. (First round) would be a stretch. He’s physical. Best on the move as a rusher working games. He’s got a top motor, nose for the ball, effort. Fast and long. Not real good dropping. Probably could be a 4-3 DE but his body wouldn’t be ideal.”

NFC scout: “Looks the part. Just not a dynamic pass rusher. He’s a true 3-4 guy. I actually like Biegel better, but of course he’s got the name and all that. The name helps him.”

View Comments