Thursday night at the NFL Draft, I had the pleasure of watching the festivities from the practice facility of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Although the action did not happen in Pittsburgh until very late Thursday night, the draft itself was exciting. Pittsburgh did not have a pick until 30th overall.
But the draft started off with the Cleveland Browns doing what many expected them to do and that was select the best athlete available Myles Garrett Texas A&M. The big defensive end will help a Browns team that needs help on the defensive side of the ball. The Chicago Bears made a move trading up from the number three spot to the number two pick and used that to select North Carolina QB Mitchell Trubisky who only had 13 starts in college. I would have thought that Deshaun Watson would have been the first QB off the board considering he played in National Championship games the last two years and winning the last championship game with the Tigers.
The San Francisco 49ers used their newly found third overall pick to select the second defensive end picked in the draft. Former Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas who got to stay close to home. The Jacksonville Jaguars took the first running back selected in the draft snapping up LSU Tiger Leonard Fournette with the fourth overall pick.
The Second Surprise pick of the night was Western Michigan Wide Out Cory Davis who was the highest receiver selected from the MAC. The only other receiver selected as high from the conference was Randy Moss (and we all know what he accomplished at the next level). Meanwhile, Jamal Adams the second LSU Tiger taken in the top six picks comes from an NFL Pedigree. His father played with the New York Giants and The younger Adams was selected with the sixth overall pick by his father’s rivals the New York Jets.
Meanwhile, Clemsons Mike Williams a good sized wide out with good hands was taken by the L.A. Chargers with the seventh pick followed by Stanfords Christian McCaffrey at eight and speedy John Ross out of Washington going to Cincinnati.
The Kansas City Chiefs Closed out the Top ten picks by trading up to Take QB Pat Mahomes II out of Texas Tech.
Trade action took place with the 12 pick as the Cleveland Browns up for their second pick of the draft made a trade with the Houston Texans for they first round pick in 2018. The Texans then selected Deshaun Watson a quarterback out of Clemson and the third QB taken in the first 15 picks of the Draft. That pick prompted Texans Defensive Star J.J. Watt to tweet “Welcome to Houston “ To the young QB.
The Pittsburgh Steelers finally made their selection two picks before the final picks of the night and with the 30th selection taking T.J. Watt a 6’4” Linebacker out of Wisconsin. Yes, That T.J. Watt the younger brother of former defensive player of the year J.J. . T.J. started all 14 games for the badgers in 2016 and finished the season with 38 solo tackles and 63 Total not to mention 11 and a half sacks.
Coach Mike Tomlin stated in the press conference after the selection : “ T.J. benefits from his having two brothers in the NFL and it helped him prepare both mentally and physically for the net level”
I’m excited about this upcoming NFL Season and the talent that was selected in the first round of this years draft has definitely added to that excitement. Don’t forget the draft continues today and ends on Saturday. If I were you I would keep watching.
Trevin A Jones
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1st Round – 30th Overall
Re: Level of interest from the Steelers throughout this:
I knew schematically it was a great fit for me, and that’s why I was intrigued by them so much. I had dinner with them right before my pro day, and I worked out with them on my pro day as well. So, they did show quite a bit of interest, but after my pro day, it kind of tapered off. So that was probably the point where I didn’t know. But I had a feeling come draft night that it was a really good match for me and a really good fit. I thought that it could happen.
Re: Mock drafts had you going to the Packers:
[Laughs] I am not upset at all. I am ecstatic to be a Pittsburgh Steeler. It is still crazy to say it. It’s insane. I saw the Packers trade back, and I knew right away that there was a really good possibility that I could end up in Pittsburgh, and I am so happy that it happened.
Kevin Colbert and Coach Tomlin Re: T.J. Watt
KC: Thanks, first of all for sticking around. I know it’s late. It’s 11:30. We’re still excited. It’s always exciting to get that first pick. T.J. Watt is somebody we’ve had our eye on really since the early fall. We made a visit up there. We had two other scouts go in. He was one of those junior possibility guys that might come out early. After their season, Coach Chryst actually texted me and said, ‘Hey, can you take a look at this young man, and give me an idea of where his draft value might be before he decides to come out?’ We did that. I looked at him and said, ‘Coach, this kid is a first-round pick.’ So we followed up on that. Of course, we visited with him at the Combine. On one of our trips on the Pro Days, Coach Tomlin and I spent a night with T.J. He continued to impress. We’re excited to get him. This kid is a solid football player that has really only scratched the surface as a defensive player. His first two seasons he had some injury issues that we’re comfortable with. He was a converted tight end. They moved him over to linebacker this year, and he gets 11.5 sacks in the Big Ten. It was really remarkable one-year production. So we don’t even think he’s a complete product at this point. We’re excited about where he can go.
MT: It’s really simple. T.J. is a rock-solid young man who has a lot of upside. He doesn’t have a lot of experience at the position, but at the same time, we saw some things that were exciting to us. His hand usage in particular for a guy with his short resume at the position was exciting. His production speaks for itself. He’s just a quality guy and a quality pick for us. We’re excited about bringing him into the fold, getting started, and continuing his development not only as a football player but as an outside linebacker. That’s probably the most exciting element of the T.J. discussion. He’s worthy of the pick but boy are we excited about the potential upside and growth have given the short length of time he’s played the position.
Re: On if Watt will eventually replace James Harrison:
MT: not looking at anything of that nature. He’ll be given an opportunity like the other guys. Obviously, because of where we took him in the draft, we believe that all of those things are on the table for him.
Re: On what he will look like when he is a complete product:
KC: I don’t know. I think that’s the exciting part about this. To do this in his first year at the position was pretty amazing, so where he can go from that – his next year at that position will be at the NFL level, so you expect a natural growth against obviously better competition at this level. But I think there is no reason why he can’t contribute and be a significant player, but he’ll be a young player, especially a young player at that position. www.steelers.com