2011 NFL Draft Player Profile | J.J. Watt
J.J. Watt was just a two start recruit out of little old Pewaukee High School. He was recruited by Central Michigan as a tight end, and decided to go commit and played a season for them. He decided after the 2007 season that he wanted to play on the defensive side of the ball and transferred to Wisconsin to play defensive end.
Since redshirting in 2008 thanks to the one year transfer rule, Watt started every game for the Badgers as a redshirt sophomore in 2009, and junior in 2010. He became a machine for getting in the backfield and getting tackles for loss, and became the best defensive lineman on the Badger defensive front.
Player Name: J.J. Watt
Position: Defensive End
Watt has a nice big frame with long arms to go with it. He uses his hands very well and has one of the best swim moves out of every defensive line prospect in the 2011 NFL Draft. For such a big guy, he is very quick off of the snap, and does a nice job of penetrating despite playing a lot in the five technique. Watt is explosive off of the ball always driving his feet and having a natural knack for finding the ball. He always seems to be wherever the football is, using his instincts very well. He has a solid football IQ, and has excellent intangibles. He is versatile enough to play defensive tackle as well. He can take up space and occupy multiple blockers, which bodes well for him to play a 3-4 defensive end position at the next level.
Despite Watt’s big frame, he isn’t extremely strong. At times he struggles in his bull rush because he doesn’t get leverage. His height hurts him when trying to get leverage as he often shoots straight up, not staying very low when engaging offensive lineman. Sometimes he struggles to get off of blockers, failing to use his long arms and separating from his opponent. He will need to bulk up at the next level and become better as a pure bull rusher, but the talent is there.
Watt resembles current Pittsburgh Steeler defensive end Aaron Smith. Smith was more of a penetrator at Northern Colorado and built strength to become one of the most dominant 3-4 defensive ends in the game. Watt’s skillset and versatility will ultimately put him between the 18-30 range of the NFL Draft. The San Diego Chargers will take a hard look at him with pick 18. If he slips past San Diego, look for Kansas City, New Orleans, Seattle, Baltimore, or Pittsburgh to give him a look in the 2011 NFL Draft. The Patriots, who have two first round picks, seem like very likely candidates to select him with pick 28 should he fall that far.
NFL Comparison: Aaron Smith