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How might JJ Watt fit in with the Steelers defense?




The short answer is well. Very well.


Now that JJ Watt has been officially released by the Houston Texans, the full-court press is on to bring him to Pittsburgh, as brother TJ has already started the recruitment on Twitter.

While the front seven is currently the strength of the Steelers roster, it can never hurt to add a 5x All-Pro talent like JJ. He may not be quite the player he was in his prime, but JJ is still an immensely impactful player with a high motor and great attitude. Let's take a glance at some plays from last season for a better look.


This play is a great example of what Watt could bring to Pittsburgh. While he did play a lot of edge in Houston, JJ would serve as a defensive end for the Steelers with similar responsibilities to Stephon Tuitt and Cam Heyward (imagine that three-man rotation). He would not play outside linebacker like his brother or Alex Highsmith.


Here he is with his hand in the dirt working against Ravens right tackle Orlando Brown. It seems there's a miscommunication in the protection as Brown passes JJ off, but the tight end is already occupied with the outside linebacker. JJ does an excellent job of maintaining the edge- he doesn't over pursue, which would allow Lamar Jackson to run right by him. Instead, he sets the edge and lets Lamar collapse the pocket on himself. Heads up play that takes a lot of athleticism and effort.


If there's one thing we know about JJ, it's that he finds his way to the backfield often. Since 1999, only two players (Terrell Suggs and Julius Peppers) have registered more tackles for loss. Of course, this has a lot to do with his physical gifts but also speaks volumes about his mental preparation.


On this play, JJ immediately recognizes the screen, sniffs it out, and stuffs Nyheim Hines for a six-yard loss.


And much like his brother, JJ likes to get the football when he's around the quarterback. JJ has 25 career forced fumbles, including 2 last season.


The bottom line is that JJ Watt would make for an incredible addition to any team that wants to win a Lombardi in 2021-2022. On the Steelers, he would get to play with his family and make arguably the best defensive front in football even better. And just as important, he appears to be a great cultural fit.


Whether or not JJ is willing to take a pay cut to play for Pittsburgh is still in question, but there's no doubt Steeler Nation would love to have him.




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