Steelers’ Newest Edge-Rusher Ready To Emerge From Shadow Of Family Tree

For now, new Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt will likely be known as the younger brother of Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and Los Angeles Chargers fullback Derek Watt. With that said, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said immediately after selecting T.J. Watt with the 30th pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft that he expects his newest player will do everything he can to forge his own identity in the league.

“I think this is about T.J., it’s not about J.J., it’s not about Derek, his other brother,” Colbert said, when asked about what kind of impact Watt’s family tree had on him picking the former Wisconsin edge-rusher. “Obviously, it’s a unique story, three guys in the NFL, but this is about T.J. and what he can do and I think once you meet him, you’ll get that feeling from him.

“I don’t think he ever mentioned any of his brothers unless we asked about them. So, he’s himself, he’s his own man and he’s going to try to make his own mark. I wouldn’t be shocked if he tries to out-do everything that his family has done to this point. He just seems to be that kind of guy and he’s going to be very quiet about it, too. This kid isn’t going to say a heck of a lot, he just lets his play speak for itself.”

According to Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, T.J.’s strong combine performance was likely a result of him already knowing how to prepare for such an event thanks to his brothers already going through the pre-draft process.

“I think that is the benefit that he gains from his brothers being in the National Football League,” Tomlin said. “The knowledge of what lies ahead, the mentality regarding training. That was one of the things that was attractive to us as we dined with him in preparation for the pro day.

“Just his outlook regarding preparation and his mentality regarding training was that beyond a guy that’s preparing for the draft and I think that’s the benefit of having older brothers that are National Football League players. I know his workout regimen is probably that that mirrors a veteran player because he has siblings who are.”

During his post-selection conference call with the Pittsburgh media, T.J. talked about how much he’s learned from older brother J.J. and how he looks forward to being known more than just being his younger brother.

“People don’t know the work ethic, the countless hours of film study,” he said, according to Will Graves of the Associated Press. “I was treating myself like a professional athlete while still in college. I learned so much from J.J. … I don’t think people know who I am at this point because I’ve been in such a big shadow.”

The Steelers hope the NFL’s newest Watt can quickly emerge from that big shadow and start posting sack numbers that would make his older brother envious. The Wisconsin product had 11.5 sacks during his one season as a starter and did so in the Big 10 conference.

  • Jon Crissinger

    To make his brother envious he’d need to be putting up 20+ sacks

  • KenFromNewJersey

    So I sighed a breath of disappointment when I heard the pick. Partly because I’m skeptical for the name recognition. Partly because Reuben Foster was still on the board. But the Steelers stay true to thier first round pick trend of having underclassmen who are prestige character individuals with uber athleticism and huge upside. Guess it’s better than dragging Kizer. I would’ve shat my pants

  • KenFromNewJersey

    Sorry about the auto text auto correct. It’s the worst.

  • Hec

    What’s up with all these crickets? Alot disappointed so-called Pittsburgh Steelers’ fans didn’t get their dream pick, lmfao! I for one am extremely happy with our selection!!!!! Hahahahaha!

  • SteelersDepot

    Crickets?

  • Applebite

    He needs to go get in touch with DEBO, right now. And start weight training and picking his brains. I think Watt still needs a year or so, but he’s with the right team to develop into a monster.

  • gdeuce

    Breaking the sack record, and winning DPOY 4 times are the only things that would make his brother envious

  • gdeuce

    Foster has a bum shoulder and character concerns, plus a diluted sample at the combine didn’t help him

  • twitch.tv/smokerjoesteelers

    Yeah he is saying that noone is saying anything so the only thing you can hear is crickets due to the silence. Its a old expression usually said when someone feels they are right about something and others were against them whether true or imaginary.

  • twitch.tv/smokerjoesteelers

    in his first 4 years over or under 35 sacks?

  • Phil Brenneman II

    And not to mention we already have 2 young starting ILB’s. Have to go with need over depth/luxury in the early rounds.

  • twitch.tv/smokerjoesteelers

    and if he reaches 35 would you consider that a success for a 1st rounder

  • steelersfan

    This guy can pick Deebo’s brain then get home and pick his brother’s brain. God I’m pumped.

  • steelersfan

    How bout winning a superbowl?

  • steelersfan

    I screamed with joy. Think my dad in the other room shat his pants

  • steelersfan

    Haha literally was thinking the same thing. He has two incredible resources at his disposal. He’s gonna be a good one.

  • Hec

    The silence from all these wanna-be general managers! I think TJ Watt will be a beast in our system once he get and start clicking!

  • I.P. Freeley

    Best guess, everybody on the east cost is asleep due to it being a work day and extremely late. The inundation of comments should arrive with the sun Friday morning.

    Also, I think people like this pick, negative / angry commenters are more apt to stay up and spew bile.

  • SteelersDepot

    Every pick gets both good and bad reviews from the fan base though. I like the pick and even mocked Watt in my version #3. I left him out of final because I thought he might be gone.

    ETA: Mist of Twitter seems to like the pick: https://twitter.com/Steelersdepot/status/857837618842574848

  • Delboka

    Add some meat to dem bones

  • gdeuce

    that too

  • Steel City Slim

    Good because I’m so tired of hearing the “bloodlines” argument. If bloodlines were such a determining factor, everyone in the NFL would be related. Cooper Manning would be in the NFL. Jared Payton would have been a great running back. They’re football players, not race horses.

  • will

    Under

  • will

    Yes

  • will

    LOL

  • will

    They ARE all related

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I hope he’s ready because 3 Defensive Player of the year is alot of shadow. I think he’ll be fine tho!

  • Jeff Anoble

    Anyone notice NFL Network’s total lack of in depth discussion on TJ Watt? It was like over and done with where on other picks they spent a ton of time. Online there is a Mayock draft analysis on each pick with some quotes that he said during the broadcast and for Watt at least last night it was blank. The only one. I’ve noticed this the past few years in later rounds, but this is the first time in the 1st.

  • WreckIess

    Oddly enough each of the past 3 years, whenever we made our pick in the first round, a team has always traded up to the next pick right after(Denver twice then San Fran this year). So I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt because it’s easy to get distracted when there’s movement going on in the background right after we pick.

  • Steel City Slim

    Lol, if you say so 😂

  • JT

    How about winning about 5?

  • Jeff Dudash

    I love how your argument AGAINST “bloodlines” includes the most prestigious NFL family ever.

    While not a guarantee, bloodlines do offer a window into a player’s genetics and character. This is undeniable. TJ Watt is his own person and his decisions will determine his success, but he was made by the same people who made the best defensive player in the league. It’s fine to have a little bit of optimism from that.

  • Jeff Dudash

    Well, they had been on the air for three hours at that point and the picks were coming very fast. Not to mention that the picks before and after us involved trades.

  • NCSteel

    It was a good pick, upside with no character issues. Great.
    Barring injury, we should see graduated improvement as he is coached up and he will be coachable, another positive.
    Now, double dip with Rivers or on to CB ?

  • Hec

    I love the pick and believe they got it right, this time. I saw the same sneaking aggression that they were talking about in his highlights. Pittsburgh Steelers fan base is going to love this pick!

  • Cwallace

    TJ has that motor! And he’s just going to get better. …and better. IL go out on a limb and say he’ll be in the conversation for ROTY. We have enough prime time games for his experience and exposure to get that done plus with that name and the team he’s playing for and the obvious void he’ll be filling on a proud organization built on defense. This is a good and safe pick…and by November it’ll be a great pick.

  • will

    Yes……just go back to ADAM and Eve.

  • Steel City Slim

    My argument stands. Like I said, how come Cooper didn’t make it with all of that influence and DNA? I know, let’s spend a first round draft pick on Barry Sanders son next year. I mean with those bloodlines he has probably led the nation in rushing in college. Oh wait a minute, no he didn’t. And I love how you say that bloodlines are “no guarantee ” and then say it’s “undeniable”. Lol. Which one is it? And having optimism based on his bloodlines is one thing, but projecting him a round earlier than any other person with his injury history and his one season of experience at the position would have gone because of it is another.

  • Steel City Slim

    Thanks for the insight cousin. 😂😂😂😂

  • will

    You are welcome brother.

  • Hec

    Usually, the ones who don’t like the TJ Watt pick would be the first to post their negative distaste. But, I’m a bit surprised on the turn out. Most Steelers fans are actually liking the pick. The thing we need to understand is we don’t need TJ Watt to lead the league in sacks. We just need him to lead our team in sacks, in QB pressure, and disruption. If he doesn’t get a at least do one of the other. I’m definitely excited to see this kid play!!!!!