Some recent news has reminded us just how important T.J. Watt is to this franchise. Here’s why the chips fell perfectly for the Steelers in the 2017 NFL Draft.
I light of recent news around the NFL, Kevin Colbert and his crew can sit back and enjoy the fact that they could have made no greater pick than star edge defender T.J. Watt in the 2017 NFL Draft. He can also be thankful for a handful of foolish teams drafting in front of the Steelers.
On Thursday, news broke that Taco Charlton was getting released from the Miami Dolphins. Taco, the former first-round draft choice by the Cowboys in 2017, spent his first two seasons in Dallas before hitting the road for Miami. Now, just three years into his NFL career, Charlton is out of work again.
Charlton earned just 4.0 sacks in 27 games for the Cowboys before getting released. His sack total increased in Miami, but it clearly wasn’t enough to keep him around. He now has 9.0 sacks to his name over three NFL seasons.
But Taco’s release wasn’t the only news that broke about a former 2017 first-round edge rusher. Miami’s original first-round pick, Charles Harris was recently shipped to Atlanta for a merely seventh-round pick, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com:
Harris was even less productive than Charlton in his first three NFL seasons – earning just 3.5 sacks in 41 career games.
The latest news is just a testament to how fortunate the Steelers were to be able to have a chance at T.J. Watt in the 2017 NFL Draft. A total of five edge defenders were drafted ahead of Watt in 2017, yet he has outproduced them all in terms of tackles, sacks, tackles for a loss, forced fumbles, quarterback hits, pass defenses, and interceptions:
Watt has been utterly remarkable for the Steelers through his first three seasons, and he earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2019 in addition to being a runner up for Defensive Player of the Year. Of the edge rushers drafted above him, only first overall pick Miles Garrett has played arguably as well as Watt to begin their careers.
Remarkably, the Eagles, Dolphins, Falcons, and Cowboys each had a shot at T.J. Watt but elected to pass on him for a less athletic pass rusher.
With the Cowboys and Dolphins both flopping horribly on their first-round draft choices in 2017, Pittsburgh can take comfort in knowing that they landed a player who never should have fell to them. These other teams will be reminded of their mistake every time they watch T.J. Watt dominate in a Steelers uniform.