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J.J. Watt, first round, 2011, Wisconsin. Watt, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year is already, at the age of 28, one of the best defensive players in league history. Watt has two seasons with 20.5 sacks and has 76 sacks total in six seasons, despite playing in only three games last year after injuring his back.
Houston selected Watt with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 draft. He has played 83 consecutive games for the Texans despite various injuries, including the torn core muscles and a broken hand last season. He has been a force since entering the league not only because of his pass-rushing prowess, but also because of his uncanny ability to swat down passes. He has 45 passes defended in his six-year career. He has forced 15 fumbles and recovered 13.
Watt, in a post for The Players’ Tribune, credits a Texans trainer for looking at “some weird bumps on my knee” and recognizing the infection. He said he was later told by a team doctor that, if it had gone undiagnosed, he could have lost his leg.
During that 2015 season, Watt said he also suffered a broken hand, two torn abs, three torn adductor muscles and a herniated disc on two occasions. He didn’t miss a game.
“I thought he was joking at first. But then I could see in his face that he was serious and actually a bit panicked,” Watt wrote. “As it turned out, he saved me in a big way. At the hospital, they immediately put me on three hours of the strongest antibiotic IVs. I went straight from the hospital to the team plane and we flew to Jacksonville.
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When Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst asked Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert to evaluate Watt late in 2016, Colbert told him he was a first-round pick. Then, the Steelers had dinner with Watt before his pro day and came away impressed.
“I think he wants to make people just as proud as the Watt name,” Colbert said. “If you didn’t know who his brother was, he certainly wasn’t going to tell you. Good for him.”
Watt, a second-team All-American, recorded 15.5 tackles for loss last year. At the combine, he led all front-seven participants with a 60-yard shuttle time of 11.20 seconds.
The Houston Texans had the No. 1 defense in 2016, and nfl jersey china that was without three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt. How does his return impact an already great defense and the division?
“He has such good instincts, such a good nose for the ball — he’s a natural playmaker,” Watt said. “He’s always been a natural athlete. He’s always been a little bit more smooth [an athlete] than I was. He can make some moves and has natural abilities that didn’t necessarily come as easily as it comes to me. But I don’t want to say natural because I’ve seen the work. He plays the game with so much joy, and it’s fun to watch.” As part of a Gatorade campaign, Watt put his skills to the test by training with the Houston-based Albion Hurricanes FC girls’ soccer team.
Watt led the NFL with 17.5 sacks last season and has 76 for his career.
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The NFL’s shift to a pass-heavy emphasis has made pass rusher the marquee position on defense. Teams are looking to feature a pair of explosive rushers off the edges to harass quarterbacks into costly mistakes that result in turnovers. With that in mind, I’ve always favored pass rushers with explosive athleticism and cat-like first-step quickness in the evaluation process. Part of my thinking has been influenced by the Pro Football Hall of Fame teammates (Bruce Smith, Reggie White and Derrick Thomas) I played with during my career. Those guys were quick starters off the ball and their ability to turn the corner on speed rushes made it difficult for quarterbacks to stand comfortably in the pocket.
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Texans star pass rusher J.J. Watt has arrived at voluntary workouts set to reclaim his role as the NFL’s John Cena. However, this time, he does so with a different perspective.
Changes to how he prepares for the season started last year, when he was coming off January surgeries to his abdominal muscles and groin. And after two back surgeries in 2016, Watt had to continue to tweak those plans, knowing that continuing to work too hard could be harmful in the end. In February, Watt admitted that he came back too soon from his first back surgery, and that played a big factor in aggravating the injury in late September and needing a second back surgery two months after the initial procedure.
The three-time Defensive Player of the Year knows the danger of playing with the worry or the fear of getting injured again. He knows, he said Monday at NRG Stadium, that if he doesn’t play the way he has played in the past, he will not be as successful.
“If something happens, it happens. But all I can do is play as smart and play as hard as I possibly can and try to be the best teammate I can be for these guys. And that’s all I am going to do. Because that’s the only way I know how to play.”
“If I’m out there trying to second-guess myself, if I’m out there wondering if I’m good enough, then I’m not going to be good anywhere, so there’s no point in going out there and playing,” Watt said. “All I can do is give it everything I have every single day, whether it’s practice, meetings or film. I’m going to give it everything I have. I’m going to go out there, I’m going to have fun. I’m going to play the game I know how to play it, with energy, with enthusiasm, with excitement, rallying around teammates, having a lot of fun. Just enjoying football again.