The Pittsburgh Steelers used their first round NFL Draft pick to add one of the most dangerous players in the draft.
T.J. Watt heads to Pittsburgh as one of the most promising young men in football. The brother of All-Pro defensive end, J.J. Watt, T.J. is looking to have just as good, if not better, of an NFL career.
In Pittsburgh, pass rushing can make you a God. Luckily, for Watt, he’s known as one of the most versatile and explosive edge rushers in the 2017 draft class. Now, he teams up with future Hall of Famer, James Harrison, and young star, Bud Dupree. A combination that may be one of the best in football.
Watt is more of a Dupree than Harrison. While the Steelers all-time leading sacker has nearly perfected the pass rush game with his strength, Watt and Dupree tend to use their athleticism to get into the backfield.
Neither strategy is wrong. In fact, with both power and speed off the edge, Pittsburgh has one of the most well-round attacks in the NFL. Three players with Pro Bowl potential all attacking will be a group nearly unstoppable in 2017.
The return of dominating defensive football in Pittsburgh may finally be back. The Steelers approached everything position they needed to fill during the draft, boosting both the secondary and linebacking core. While their defensive backs now have more talent and experience, quarterbacks will have to wait longer for plays to develop. That’ll be a major advantage for the quickness of Watt and Dupree off the edge.
There won’t be a time when at least one threat is on the outside. Harrison, Dupree, or Watt will certainly be in the game at all times leaving constant concern for quarterbacks. When two are pressing at the same time, it’s going to be a scary site for opposing quarterbacks.
Dupree is already training for a breakout year in 2017. He’s been training with former NFL defensive end, Chuck Smith, and is turning his speed advantage into an all-around pass rush most teams won’t be able to stop.
Add a legendary Harrison on the other side working with rookie Watt, and you have a trio of dominating players. Looking around the NFL, there isn’t another team with the edge rush Pittsburgh now possesses.
While Dupree is looking Defensive Player of the Year, Watt will be hungry for Defensive Rookie of the Year. To finish it off, Harrison is finishing up a career he’s looking to prove Hall of Fame worthy. It’s pretty rare to see multiple players win awards on the same team, but this season, the Steelers look like a candidate to pull it off.
They may not be James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley off the past, but these three linebackers have all the potential to be the best core Pittsburgh has every seen. With Ryan Shazier in the middle, Pittsburgh’s second line of defense is going to be nearly unbeatable.
Most times, you get a solid player who needs some work with the 30th pick in a draft. The Steelers got someone who could be an instant Pro Bowler, though. Now, they’re looking to put their big three to the test.
Don’t sleep on this unit. 2017 is going to be more than the return of dominating Pittsburgh defense. It’s going to be the start of a pass rush that will quickly take over the NFL.