- 33 1/8″ARM LENGTH
- Fantastic overall athleticism
- Prototype size/length for the position
- Long arms with massive 11” hands
- Solid motor and hustles to finish plays
- Closes extremely well – great in space
- Violent play style against the run
- Willing and capable dropping back in coverage
- Packs a good initial pop – doesn’t get moved off the line of scrimmage easily
- Consistent, wrap-up tackler
- Has the body frame to add 10-15 pounds of muscle and not lose a step
- Numerous pass rush moves and surprising hand technique for a one-year starter
- Above average burst off the edge
- Impressive agility/mobility for his height – can gear down and change direction with ease
- Injuries are a concern – sustained three knee injuries in college and missed significant time
- A little tall and lean right now – could stand to add some weight to his frame
- Only one season of starter production – played 661 snaps in 2016 after just 174 in 2015
- Gets locked up against offensive lineman too often
- Had favorable blitz situations in Wisconsin scheme
Player Comparison: Randy Gregory, Dallas Cowboys
Gregory hasn’t panned out for the Cowboys, in large part due to being suspended for most of his first two NFL seasons. However, in terms of measurables and play style, Watt and Gregory are similar. Like Watt, Randy Gregory is a long, athletic pass rusher with all of the desired tools for the position. Both Gregory and Watt were productive players from the right edge in the Big Ten. While Gregory was more polished as a rusher coming out of college, Watt is a physical player who is superior in run support. Watt was nearly 20 pounds heavier than Gregory coming out of college, and the former Nebraska product fell to late in the second round because of character issues stemming from failed drug tests. Watt’s concerns stem from a slew of knee injuries sustained over the past three years. Both Watt and Gregory are prototype-looking edge players with immensely high ceilings.
Watt is a nearly perfect physical specimen, who is spoken of to be very coachable and extremely hard working. Watt doesn’t have a lot of experience and only started at the EDGE position one year in college, but he already flashes explosion, bend, arm usage, and hand technique. T.J. Watt is considered to be one of the highest upside prospects in this draft class. Though he possesses all of the physical tools that will leave defensive coordinators salivating, he may prove to be better as a blitzer than a pure pass rusher at the next level. Injuries will also be in the back of the coaches minds, though he played the entire 2016 season healthy.
Because of his aggression and willingness in run support, Watt has a higher floor than some analysts might think. The bust potential for Watt comes mainly with whether or not he will continue to sustain major injuries throughout his professional career. Some worry about T.J. Watt being a one-year-wonder, but I think his intelligence, athleticism, and ability in run support are too good for him to be a bust candidate. Therefore, I see Watt’s floor as an average to above average NFL outside linebacker. Overall, Watt is the ultimate “high-ceiling” prospect with a chance to be a special player in this years’ draft class.