Steelers take Watt with first draft pick

T.J. Watt celebrating after returning an interception for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against the Purdue in West Lafayette Ind. Frame to grow int

T.J. Watt celebrating after returning an interception for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against the Purdue in West Lafayette Ind. Frame to grow int

He can control opposing players and tackle with his hands while he still finds the football.

The Christmas game is being played in Week 16 and there's a good chance T.J. could be a starter by then if he's as good as J.J. says he is, and J.J. says he's good.

"I've tried to do a really good job this whole time of blocking it out", Watt told NFL.com, "but I'd be lying if I said it isn't creeping up on me a little bit just as it gets closer. We're not going to reimburse you for your gas mileage".

Watt redshirted in his first season at Wisconsin as a tight end. When Chryst and his staff took over in 2015, they approached Watt about making the switch to defense.

Of all of the eligible players in the 2017 NFL Draft, one of the toughest battles to make it to the league belongs to running back James Conner.

Bottom Line: Watt has the physical traits and intangibles necessary to grow into a Pro Bowl caliber linebacker.

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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. Longtime ESPN analyst Mel Kiper noted that Conner had just 21 receptions in 2016, and just 30 in his career, but may bring more versatility than his stats show when he joins a Steelers backfield that could be in need of a backup to do-it-all stud Le'Veon Bell. I played with him in the backyard a bunch. "My first exposure to him was the LSU game at Lambeau (Field) earlier a year ago in September, and just to watch him with some of the things he was asked to do in that game".

Don't misunderstand. Watt can play the game. Just 10-12 family and friends eating catered Chipotle - "Can't go wrong there", he said - at the Watt residence in Pewaukee, "where it all started". J.J. Watt is an all pro defensive end for the Houston Texans. Like when Derek got picked (198th overall by the Chargers) previous year, I was probably the happiest guy in the room.

They were things he learned from his older brothers.

Given his family name, T.J. understands very well he might often be viewed differently than other players, but it's something he's grown accustomed to. "It's not about J.J., it's not about Derek ... this is about T.J. and what he can do".

"I know it's a cliché, but I do have a motor that's nonstop", T.J. said. "I played with him in the backyard a bunch. He's a game-changer. That's how I want to be viewed". We've never been on the same field in full uniforms competitively before. "I think the sky's the limit with my talent and my ability". "And T.J., younger brother of J.J., fits in well on the Pittsburgh defense".

"I learned so much from J.J. and have been able to translate that to myself", Watt said. That's the big selling point here.

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