The name TJ Watt garners everything from the “instant pro-bowler” on the positive end to “draft bust” on the negative. Part of the question has to do with which round the Packers choose him in. If we had a crystal ball, and could pick TJ in the second round…I doubt many would think it is a bad pick. On the other had, that precious first pick, though at number 29, makes some nervous as to whether TJ can live up to the billing.
Let’s talk about the Pros and Cons and get the lowdown on TJ’s stats while at Wisconsin. I will lay out three reasons why I think TJ would be a good pick at number 29.
Overall, I have seen TJ Watt ranked as high as 28th (Cheesehead TV draft guide – get it here), and as far down the big board as the
So while the argument against TJ is considered strong by some, the arguments for him began to get stronger starting at the NFL Combine in February/March. TJ did himself a great service, logging measurables that allowed him to bypass them during the Wisconsin pro day and only participate in the drills.
Here are three reasons that the Packers would do well to take Watt off the board straight away if he is available at number 29:
1. The Draft Situation
One of the reasons to grab TJ right away is that taking him in the first round does not negate the possibility of the Packers picking up an excellent corner in round two. The converse is not necessarily true as this year’s draft is not exactly loaded with pass-rushers. If Thompson likes TJ, he may decide to get him in the first and come back to see what the second round has to offer. In this year’s draft, that probably includes a cornerback or two who would go in the first round many other years. With Clay Matthews having a down year, Kyler Fackrell still and unknown commodity, and Jayrone Elliot yet to show he can get on the field and stay there, the pass-rusher situation must still be addressed. Add to that the exit of Julius Peppers from a Packers team that at times struggled to get pressure on the quarterback, and the notion of TJ in green and gold becomes pretty compelling.
2. The Intangibles
TJ is a Watt. So what is in a name? Being a Watt does not guarantee TJ anything, other than he will have the attention of the best defensive player in the NFL for advice. Also, families who put multiple players on NFL rosters (Derek as well) have pride and the players have pride too. TJ knows the expectations and is not shying away from them.
3. The Ceiling
TJ Watt, with just one year of experience, can’t be expected to have reached his ceiling. Coaches (not just Packers coaches) must relish the idea of working with a guy like TJ. Smart, athletic, high motor but still a lot of nuances to learn. Sounds like a project player which is not what most teams want in the first round. I don’t think this is the case with TJ. Watt would be a great addition to the Packers’ linebacker corps right out of the box. While it would be best to rotate him in slowly, I think if the Packers do pick TJ, he will perform at a level that requires the coaching staff to give him playing time. The best way to grow is on the field and a smart guy like TJ would be well developed by the end of the season when it mattered. And at 6’4″ TJ can still make changes to his body if the Packers see the need.
All in all, while I am not a huge proponent of TJ Watt in the first round, I would admittedly be excited about the prospect of the addition to the Packers defense. TJ would be a good pickup and if the comparison between him and Matthews is something that Ted Thompson has taken note of…he may be the pick. And if TJ becomes even close to the kind of player that JJ did…the Packers will have gotten a steal.
But what do you think? JJ or no in the first round at pick 29. Make your opinion known in the head-to-head poll below: