Re: Selection 1.11: JJ Watt DE Wisconson
Pass rush: Relentless rushing the passer in obvious passing situations whether lined up inside or outside. Gets extra attention from opponents. Most dangerous when anticipating the snap and swimming over guards/centers inside. Spins off blocks to get outside after initial contact or pushes through doubles inside. Gets his hands into throwing lanes, using his height and length to knock down or affect passes. Nimble feet allow him to twist inside. Bounces back after initial contact, keeps his balance to find the ballcarrier. Knocks tight end off route before making his rush. Often lined up outside the tackle, can bull-rush and get corner at times against college right tackles but needs to continue improving his flexibility to beat NFL blockers.
Run defense: Active against the run. Able to stack and shed to get to outside runs, and is strong and agile enough to move down the line to be involved in inside runs. Displays some nice change-of-direction ability for his size to mirror ballcarriers trying to elude. Gives very good effort containing misdirection and bootlegs on the edge, though quicker NFL ballcarriers will beat him to the edge. When inside, has quickness to penetrate and gets his hands up quickly to maintain distance from the blocker but fails to keep his body square to the line and gets pushed out of the play.
Explosion: Flashes quickness off the snap and willingness to pop and knock back opponents. Able to penetrate gaps with a nice first step and works through double-teams with aggressiveness when lined up inside. Has enough closing speed to explode into ballcarriers and force fumbles. Doesn't have the typical explosive first step of most rush ends because of his girth and lack of ideal height. He is considered an explosive player on every down because he has arguably the strongest punch and most effective hands in the class.
Strength: Flashes strength to shed blocks and bull through double teams, but must gain muscle in both his upper and lower body to hold his ground at the next level. Can be pushed off the line by double teams, typically when turned sideways. Works with his hands against blockers, looks to potentially be good in this area. Can play too high when lined up inside to win the leverage battle.
Tackling: High-effort tackler with long arms and growing strength. Gets low despite his height to mirror and wrap up ballcarriers. Quarterbacks do not want to feel his explosive tackling in the backfield. Doesn't leave his feet, though he stretches to make a lot of ankle tackles other linemen couldn't make.
Intangibles: Excellent character and work ethic. Won the Lott IMPACT Award for integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity among college defenders. Began the Justin J. Watt Foundation to help schools fund athletic programs, does quite a bit of community work. Academic All-Big Ten in 2009 and 2010. Brother Derek is scheduled to play football at UW in 2011.
Compares to: Adam Carriker, Redskins -- People were impressed with Watt's combine performance, but scouts saw very similar results from Carriker four years ago. Carriker seemed to fit Washington's 3-4 scheme well in 2010, so Watt's career might get off on the right foot if he can find a similar situation.
Season Prediction: WAS - W, @ OAK - W, @ NYG - W, BUF - W, @ DAL - W, IND - L, @ PIT - L, @ TEN - W, PHI - L, @ CLE - W, CIN - L, TEN - W, @ JAX - W, @ IND - L, BAL - L, JAX - W = 10-6