Positives: Watt has great size, very impressive length and impressive athletic ability for a man his size. He has an uncanny feel for getting his arms up into passing lanes and does a great job of deflecting passes at the line of scrimmage which can be incredibly frustrating for quarterbacks. He should do a great job of this in the NFL too, especially if he is drafted to play in a 3-4 scheme as a DE. Watt has a non-stop motor too and he has an incredible passion for the game which makes him very easy to like as a prospect. He is a very hard worker and should continue to improve like he has since he transferred to Wisconsin from Central Michigan. He still has a lot of untapped potential, but he has flashed impressive hand usage, he has great length for tackling, he has above average burst off the line of scrimmage and off the edge for a guy his size and he has shown some ability as a pass rusher even in a 4-3 scheme.
Negatives: Watt is still a very raw player so while he has shown a lot of ability and potential he still needs technique work and coaching up. His recognition skills leave something to be desired as he struggled to make decisions against the zone-read against TCU and other teams that used it. He would often collapse on the running back looking for a quick TFL which allowed Dalton or another QB to get outside and gain solid yardage. He flashes good hand usage at times but he needs to get stronger at the point of attack by gaining some more weight to fill out his huge frame and by continuing to learn how to use his hands effectively. He won’t ever be a stud pass rusher but he could still stand to learn some pass rush moves beyond his bull rush and occasional swim move or move to the inside if a tackle opens his hips too early.
Overall: Watt has really improved his stock over the past season or two and I really think he has top fifteen ability. He has the potential to be a pro-bowl defensive end in a 3-4 scheme and he is tailor-made for that defense. He has great size, length and has big hands that will only get stronger and as they do he will get better at shedding blocks versus the run. Until then he will still be a disruptive force but as he matures and envelops himself in film study he should improve his recognition skills and help avoid running himself out of gap assignments by going up-field in pursuit of a ball-carrier. Regardless I think he has stud written all over him and with his great combination of size, athletic ability and passion for the game I think he will continue to improve and be a potentially dominant NFL defensive end.
Projection: Top 15. Will he go in the top 15? That is hard to say, it’s an extremely talented defensive end class. I do think he should, but if he doesn’t I don’t think he will slide much farther than the Patriots at #17 or the Chargers at #18. He is just too talented of a player to get beyond those teams.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Point Of Attack: 3.5
Pass Rush: 3.5