JJ Watt has seen his stock soar after he quietly dominated the combine. Most people assumed he was only an average athlete coming into the combine, and after the combine shot up most draftniks boards. He put together a fairly dominating season at DE for the Badgers, and had his best performances in big games. He is scheme versatile and has the length, strength, athleticism, and hand quickness and ability to disengage from blockers you look for in a 3-4 end, and also the pass rushing abilities of a 4-3 end. Watt ultimately looks to be one of the safer defensive picks in the draft.
Watt is an above average run defender who uses his short area quickness, long arms, and strong hands to disengage from blockers to stop the run. He’s also very instinctive and knows when to get off his blocks. He struggled at times when more powerful backs ran right at his gaps to wrap up and make a tackle. Because of his height, he sometimes struggled to get leverage and played too high, ending in him getting stood up and pushed back by a lineman. His height also makes it harder for him to penetrate and blow up a running play.
Watt has an incredible first step and a powerful punch to knock blockers off balance and get by them with his quickness. He’s probably too tall and not flexible enough to bend around the edge to rush the passer, though. He’s better at taking smaller angles to get to the QB and using his quickness and strength to get there. Despite his quickness through the gaps and acceleration off the line, Watt lacks a burst to close which could make it harder for him to come by actual sacks in the NFL (but he should still pressure the QB plenty). He has a tremendous motor and gives it all on every play.
On passing plays, Watt is very aware and also knows how to diagnose a screen play. On running plays, I saw a few times when he spent too much time watching the lineman instead of paying attention to where the ballcarrier was. This is something that can be corrected with coaching.
Watt’s tremendous hand size and strength is one of the best aspects of his game and one of the things that makes him so intriguing. He never allows a lineman to lock on to him, always keeps his hands inside and keeps his hands moving and punching to shed a tackle.
Watt transfered to UW-Madison from Central Michigan, where he played tight end. In his 1 year there he played in several games and caught 8 balls. That further shows his athletic ability and understanding of offensive concepts and playbooks. He redshirted at Wisconsin in 2008 and has started every game for the Badgers since (26 starts). In high schools he also lettered in baseball, basketball, and track and was a state champion in the shot put.
2010: Started in 13/13 games
2009: Started in 13/13 games
2007: (@CMU), played in all 14 games
Life Science Communication major
Awards & Honors
2010: Wisconsin Team Co-MVP. Lott Trophy Winner. 2nd Team All-American (AP & Sports Illustrated).
Prospect Video Clips
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