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2017 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: T.J. Watt, EDGE, Wisconsin

The NFL will have to contend with two Watts hunting quarterbacks. Could the younger Watt be in play for the Giants?

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl-Wisconsin vs Western Michigan Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Sports are businesses, and as such, they are always looking for “sure things”. In horse racing it comes down to bloodlines -- horses that are descended from past greats always fetch higher prices because of the possibility of inherited greatness.

Though they are less explicit about it, football evaluators pay attention to genetics as well, and few things can get ears perked up like a famous last name. So when Wisconsin’s T.J. Watt declared for the draft, pretty much everyone started paying attention. He might not be as big as his older brother, J.J. Watt, but with the name comes potential.

The New York Giants aren’t strangers to betting on bloodlines either. Sometimes it works out, like with Eli Manning, and sometimes it doesn’t -- as with Sinorice Moss. Could they take a look at T.J. Watt?



  • Prototypical size and frame for an edge rusher.
  • Impressive athlete. Has a good burst, bend, agility, and closing speed.
  • Uses hands well to keep blockers off of him.
  • Able to shoot gaps and be disruptive in the backfield.
  • High-energy player, from a family known for effort and work ethic.
  • Shows good awareness of the ball.
  • Tireless in pursuit and always plays through the whistle.


  • Inexperienced. Only two years on the field at Wisconsin, and only one complete year of high production.
  • Still putting the pieces together as a player. Has plenty of tools, but doesn’t always use them to the best effect.
  • Can drop into coverage on occasion, but at his best going downhill.
  • Could stand to add power to his lower body. Should continue to fill out and get more powerful in an NFL strength program

Does He Fit With The Giants?

Watt should be able to find a fit in the Giants’ defense, and like Takkarist McKinley [Prospect Profile] should be able to start as a pass rush specialist and grow into the role of a defensive end.

Watt is already competent enough when it comes to dropping into coverage -- and should still be with some more mass -- to make zone blitzes a credible threat. However he should spend the majority of his time going downhill, attacking into the backfield.

The bigger question is whether the Giants will be able to spend the draft capital to select him if they do like him. His name and upside will likely push him up draft boards.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - 46th overall

CBS Sports - 41st overall

Draft Countdown - 35th overall

Draft Tek - 44th overall

Final Thoughts

T.J. Watt should be a player to watch over the next couple years. Having an older brother who has spent most of the previous five years being the best in the world at what he does is a hell of a lot to hang on a kid -- just ask Eli Manning.

The younger Watt is still putting it all together, but he has the athletic upside to eventually blossom into an excellent defender in his own right. Measurably and athletically he compares more closely to Khalil Mack than many might assume. That isn’t to say that he will ever be as good as Mack or his older brother, and at this point he probably should be a second round selection.

However, if a team were to take a bet, making it on a player with high athletic upside and a strong work ethic is usually one of the safer bets to make. He might get “over drafted”, but he also has a pretty good chance of eventually vindicating the team that takes him “early”.