Name: T.J. Watt
Position fit: Edge defender in either a 4-3 or a 3-4
Stats to know: Went from 12 pressures as a sophomore to 56 pressures as a junior.
What he does best:
- Closes extremely well in space. Great ability to finish plays.
- Plays violently versus run and pass. Attacks pullers and kick out blocks instead of waiting for them to come to him.
- Has good initial pop despite slender build. Won’t get moved off line of scrimmage on contact.
- Impressive agility for his height. Allows him to win in numerous ways versus the run.
- Long arms well and has numerous pass rushing moves he can transition off a bull rush.
- Above-average burst off the snap helped lead to 10 sacks, 16 QB hits and 30 hurries on 279 rushes.
- Light for the position though with the frame to pack it on.
- Much of his production came unblocked or versus tight ends.
- Only one season of production. Played 661 snaps in 2016 after playing only 174 snaps in 2015.
- When an offensive lineman gets into his body he’s done. Gets locked up too tight often and couldn’t get hands off.
- Scheme at Wisconsin put him in a lot of favorable blitz situations.
Player comparison: Willie Young, Chicago Bears
Neither Young nor Watt is eye-poppingly athletic, but both have more than enough to get by. They both use their leverage well for their height and have enough agility to keep tackles honest. Young has had a strong overall career.
Bottom line: Adding 10 to 15 more pounds of muscle could transform Watt into one of the top edge prospects in this class. He’s already got a varied skillset that dominates tight ends, but fails to translate versus tackles nearly as often. Given the progress he made in one year at Wisconsin, it would not surprise to see Watt continue to improve as he moves to the NFL.