NFL Combine Throwback: When Current Defensive Player of the Year TJ Watt Stole the Show in 2017

Published 03/02/2022, 10:30 AM EST

NFL franchise Pittsburgh Steelers have only a few bright spots during their challenging 2021 NFL season, and one of them was star offensive linebacker, TJ Watt. The reigning AP Defensive Player Of The Year has shown signs of his abilities ever since scouts first laid eyes on the player during the 2017 NFL Combine. He was the show-stopping and show-stealing player from the 2017 edition ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Despite starting as a TE, Watt was switched to the OLB position during his redshirt sophomore year and was sensational in playing that position. He was part of the Wisconsin Badgers No. 1 scoring defense before breaking out spectacularly during his redshirt junior year.

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While playing his second season as a linebacker on the Badgers defense, he became a highly decorated All-American athlete.

The national spotlight attention combined with his hopes of playing in the NFL. He will go onto forgo his senior year and was eligible for the 2017 NFL Draft. Entering the league, TJ was always going to be in comparison with his 3-time Defensive Player Of The Year winning brother JJ Watt.

TJ Watt turned it up at the NFL Combine

As an edge rusher, TJ entered the Combine in Indianapolis and might have been one of the top prospects from the 2017 class. His versatility was in full display as Watt finished second in the vertical jump as well as the three-cone drills. TJ was tied for first in the broad jump drill and the short shuttle among the players in his position.

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In trying to impress scouts, TJ also might have thought about the sibling rivalry. He beat his brother, JJ Watt’s 2011 Combine numbers in the following categories:

  1. 40-yard Dash
  2. 40-yard Speed
  3. 10-yard Split
  4. Broad Jump
  5. Three-cone drill.

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While losing in two other and tying JJ in two other drills, the Combine score of 59 is quite perplexing knowing that JJ scored a 91.

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The Steelers drafted the prospect a little later than many fans would have liked, but after 3 seasons, they seem to have bagged a winner. With a 40-yard dash of 4.69 seconds and a broad jump of 128 inches, TJ was always going to be a great addition to the franchise. The recent Defensive Player Of The Year victory is only the start of the things in store for a rising star.

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Anuj Tazhatuveetil

756 articles

An NFL author at EssentiallySports, Anuj Tazhatuveetil is pursuing a Master's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. Initially, he worked as a freelance content writer and later as a part of Sports404. An unquenchable thirst to learn about all things NFL and NBA, adding to a rather healthy obsession with playing outdoor sports like basketball, and soccer with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of this industry make him a sports aficionado.

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