Packers Prospect Profile — DE J. J. Watt, University of Wisconsin
J. J. Watt
College: University of Wisconsin
Height: 6′5″ Weight: 290 lbs.
Born: March 22, 1989 From: Pewaukee, WI
2) High School / College Highlights: A Wisconsin First-team All-State selection at BOTH tight end and defensive end, Watt was also the Wisconsin State shot put champion as a HS senior. Watt was not as heavily recruited as you might think, mostly because of his lean frame. Watt accepted a scholarship offer from Central Michigan, starting every game at tight end for the Chippewas. After a year away from his home state, Watt returned as a walk-on to the University of Wisconsin. Watt spent a red-shirt year hitting the weight room, switched to defense and was named defensive scout player of the year. Watt would start every game for the Badgers over the next two seasons, and was named All Big ten and second team All-American.
4) NFL Combine Results: 4.76 40-yd dash, 34 bench press reps, 37″ vertical jump, 10′ long jump, 6.88 3-cone, 4.21 20-yd shuttle.
5) Strengths/Weaknesses: Once thought of as more of an “intangibles” player that succeeded via max effort alone, Watt started to change that perception during the Badgers run to the Rose Bowl. If any scouts were still thinking that way, Watt’s NFL Combine performance put an end to that. Watt finished in the top 5 among DL in every category, as well as the top 20 among all performers in five out of six categories (long jump was his only miss). Not bad for a defensive lineman, huh?
Watt may be the most versatile DE prospect coming out of the draft. He played from both a 3-point stance and standing up. He is stout against the run and tenacious in the pass rush. Watt has a variety of pass rush moves, but his techniques need refinement.
Watt uses his height, long arms and jumping ability to good advantage, knocking down passes and even blocking a few kicks. He uses his hands very well to keep blockers from getting into his body. Plays with good pad level, which helps him against the run, but he needs to get a lot stronger. If you can call a 290 pound human being lean, Watt is the definition.
Give Watt two full years in the league and with his work ethic and determination to succeed, I believe you could be looking at a Pro Bowl player in year three.
6) Fit for the Packers: While the “Packer People” concept has taken a few hits lately, if anyone fits the theoretical mold, it’s J. J. Watt. A man of unquestionable character, Watt won the 2010 Lott Impact award, given to the player deemed to be making an IMPACT on the field as well as off the field in such areas as academics, community and leadership. He even has his own charity already.
On the field, the Packers would love to have Watt’s tenacity, hustle and athleticism at the defensive end spot. Picture Watt, BJ Raji and Mike Neal as the starting DL a few years down the road. I have no problem saying that would probably be the best DL group in the NFL.
Unfortunately for the Packers, pretty much every NFL team has Watt near the top of their draft boards. Landing Watt would require a lot of luck and another bold Ted Thompson move up in the Clay Matthews vain. If only Watt would do something bad between now and the draft to make his stock plummet, but that’s just not going to happen. I’m going to hate watching this Wisconsin-bred play in some other NFL team’s uniform. God, at least keep him away from the Vikes, Bears or Lions.
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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.