#21 DE, JJ Watt (6’6 292 lbs.) – Wisconsin Badgers
Pass Rush Skills: Provides a headache for offensive tackles off the edge when it comes to power. Possesses four excellent pass rush moves (rip, swim, hook, bull rush) and has the ability to counter against tackles when they decide to take away a certain move. Has decent speed, but not elite. A move to defensive end in the 3-4 is all but certain to happen once he reaches the NFL. Shows an initial burst once the ball is snapped. If pushed behind the quarterback, he continues in pursuit until the play is over. Gains good leverage on his bull rush. Shows the ability to change directions quickly when faking a outside move. Not real flexible in the hips. Wont consistently bend the corner and flatten out. Gets his hands on a lot of balls when he does not reach the quarterback.
Versus the run: Lower body strength makes him very stout against the run. Has long arms and uses them often. Instead of allowing lineman to get into his body, he extends his arms, and reads the play. Not pushed off the point of attack very often. His strength allows him to engage blockers and shed them immediately. Does get fooled occasionally on misdirection and option read plays. Plays with violent hands and uses them frequently. Does a good job of sealing the edge. Has the motor to chase down plays from behind.
Versatility: Slightly versatile. Can play the power defensive end in the 4-3, 3 technique defensive tackle on passing downs, and defensive end in the 3-4. Has almost no experience dropping in to coverage.
Instincts/Motor: Watt’s number one attribute is his motor. He is relentless and goes until the whistle is blown. Gets a couple sacks off of hustle alone. By the forth quarterback, lineman are worn out from his nonstop efforts. Instincts are good and still improving. Is able to recognize screens and quarterback rollouts. Still has some work to do on reading misdirection plays.
Intangibles: Blue collar worker. Leads by example on the field, in the gym, and off the field. Well respected by coaches and teammates. Won the 2010 Lott Impact trophy.
Overall Stock: JJ Watt may have played his last game for the Badgers, in the Rose Bowl. After having an outstanding season, he is more than likely going to enter the 2011 draft. With a strong combine, Watt can make a push to be taken in the first round. The draft is deep with defensive line players, but with the increasing number of teams switching to the 3-4 in the NFL, don’t be suprised if Watt is taken in the top 20 picks.
NFL Comparison: Justin Smith and Aaron Smith