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Posts tagged with "T.J. Watt"

Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt left Sunday’s 26-9 victory over the Minnesota Vikings with a left groin injury he was already aware of.(Barry Reeger | Special to PennLive)

PITTSBURGH — For the second consecutive day Marcus Gilbert and T.J. Watt didn’t practice with the Steelers.

They were the only two non-participants on Pittsburgh’s injury report Thursday.

Chris Hubbard backs up Gilbert while Watt was replaced by Anthony Chickillo against the Minnesota Vikings.

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The Pittsburgh Steelers were reminded how T.J. Watt used to play tight end at OTAs Thursday when he flashed some tremendous ball skills.

When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted T.J. Watt with their first round draft pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, they knew what they were getting.

They knew about the insane NFL Scouting Combine workouts, and the fact he used to be a tight end prior to being moved to the defensive side of the football. However, what they likely didn’t know was that he would never lose those skills just because he was playing outside linebacker.

Watt had his ball skills on display at the Steelers third Organized Team Activities (OTAs) workout, and you can see some of those below.

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PITTSBURGH — With the addition of T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree will no longer be the lone first-round pick in the Steelers’ outside linebacker rotation.

Dupree — the 22nd overall selection in the 2015 draft — was impressed by Watt after the first day of voluntary off-season team activities on Tuesday and confirmed Watt worked in with the first-team defense.

Although not much should be gleaned from first-team, second-team depth charts during football in shorts and helmets, Dupree noted Watt was a quick learner, which is a quality worth having for a first-round pick.

“T.J. looks good,” Dupree told The Times. “T.J.’s with the first group so he’s ahead. His learning curve is great. I’m ready to see the progression in him, and in everybody.”

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NFL rookie minicamps are hardly a barometer for future success. Players are learning the basics, such as the names of coaches, where to find the locker and how to execute a play call.

But a few NFL-transferrable traits should stand out. And one thing — OK, two things — usually on display with Pittsburgh Steelers first-round pick T.J. Watt: His hands.

A highlight video from the Steelers’ Twitter feed shows Watt violently smacking a tackling dummy. Yes, it’s a quick clip, but it brings home what the Steelers liked about Watt during the pre-draft process — his ability to win with his upper-body.

In late April, both coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert praised Watt’s hand usage as advanced for a player who started one full season at outside linebacker at Wisconsin.

“He beats people with is upper body just as much as his lower body, and usually you don’t see that type of hand usage and that type of know-how in a one-year player,” Colbert said.

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The Detroit Lions have had a great offseason so far improving their offensive line to help Matthew Stafford. The Lions now need to focus on the draft and solidifying the defensive side of the ball.

The Lions did not have a solid defense last season. They finished 18th in total yards given up per game (354.8). It’s time to focus on the defense and that can start with the 2017 draft. If one of these three players remain at No. 21, The Detroit Lions will select one of them.

1. MARLON HUMPHREY CB ALABAMA

Detroit needs help in the secondary immediately. They gave up 248.4 pass yards per game last season, which was good enough for 19th in the league.

Darius Slay is already CB1 in Detroit, but the Lions need a solid CB2 to help him out on the other side. That’s where Marlon Humphrey could fit in.

In 2015, Humphrey started all 15 games for Alabama and earned All-SEC consideration. He recorded 45 tackles, 3 INTs and eight PD’s. In 2016 he had 26 tackles, two interceptions (one for a TD), and added five PD’s. He is a very physical CB that will attempt to strip the ball away at times (Three forced fumbles in 2016).

 Humphrey is very athletic but sometimes has problems covering the deep ball, allowing 19 yards per completion in games he started. That issue could cause him to fall to the Lions.

If the Lions are looking to add depth to their secondary, which they should, Humphrey would be a great fit.

2. JARRAD DAVIS LB FLORIDA

With the release of DeAndre Levy, the Lions will look to add another linebacker through the draft. Jarrad Davis would be a good start if he is available at No. 21.

During his junior year at Florida, Davis recorded 94 tackles (11 for loss), 3.5 sacks and one interception. He has great acceleration which is a huge factor during the blitz. He also has the ability to step back into coverage when needed (8 PD’s over the last two seasons). Davis has the ability to finish his tackles and eliminate the big play. He had 50 solo tackles in 2015. Davis was limited to only nine games last season due to injury but still impressed with 60 tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks.

Davis at times will have trouble coming off blocks and needs to learn to take better routes to the ball. Those issues may cause him to fall to No. 21 and if he does the Lions should snag him up.

3. T.J. WATT DE WISCONSIN

There are about to be three Watt brothers in the NFL after this week. That’s terrifying considering T.J. Watt could be another defensive threat. The Lions need to improve their defensive line and Watt could help.

Watt was finally healthy in 2016 and he made his presence known. He recorded 63 tackles, 38 solo tackles, 11.5 sacks, one interception and one forced fumble. Watt received second-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-Big Ten honors.

 Watt has quick hands and tries to keep blockers off balance. He had great numbers against the rush and pass in one season. The Lions gave up 106.3 rushing yards per game last season which was good enough for 18th in the league. That needs to improve and Watt would be a great addition opposite of Ezekiel Ansah.

He doesn’t have the best foot quickness and will have to rely more on his hands to win in the trenches. That could cause him to fall in the draft.

According to his draft profile, many experts have Watt going in the second round. Don’t be surprised if the Lions draft him at No. 21 because of their defensive needs.

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