Friday, 23 March, 2018

NFL Draft: Pick #100

Frederick Owens | 01 May, 2017, 14:18

That's a little how the Steelers wound up selecting outside linebacker T.J. Watt in the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday.

Watt finished with 11.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss last season for the Badgers after struggling through injuries earlier in his collegiate career.

The 2017 NFL Draft is over and every sports site (and a good percentage of all non-sports sites, too) is putting out their draft grades.

At last month's NFL Combine, Watt ranked in the top two among linebackers in the vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle. The situation with Martavis Bryant necessitated some attention to the receiving core and the team was rumored to be looking for a potential long-term replacement for Ben Roethlisberger.

But T.J. Watt is ready to make his own mark.

For the Pittsburgh Steelers, drafting a cornerback in the 5th round of the NFL Draft seems nearly as common as them taking a linebacker in the first two rounds of the draft. It shows how raw he is in terms of understanding the play, reading and reacting and rushing with a goal.

Pitt's James Conner, who captivated college football by overcoming a diagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2015, was selected by the Steelers in the third round with the 105th overall pick.

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T.J. Watt has a lot of upside and is a very good pick this late in the draft.

As the reigning AFC North champs, the Pittsburgh Steelers are the ultimate target for the Cleveland Browns. Indeed, Ramczyk would start all 14 games at left tackle for the Badgers this past season and was named a consensus first-team All-American. It won't be easy, but he is a player who has the size and speed who could transform the Steelers secondary.

Overall, the Steelers' draft was a smart one, addressing the biggest areas of need for the team while also making selections to plan for the future. "Allen goes 6'3" and alongside Sutton and last year's number one pick Artie Burns fits the Steelers evolving press scheme. It was then that Chryst, in his first spring as head coach, approached Watt about moving across the line of scrimmage.

Conner, who elected to bypass his final season of eligibility and go pro, ran for 1,092 yards and 16 touchdowns this past season, breaking the ACC's career touchdown record.

We see a rising star in T.J. Watt, the new pass-rusher of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I had a great season this past year, but it's nowhere close to what I can be.

"I learned so much from J.J. and have been able to translate that to myself", Watt said.


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