J.J. Watt has played like a veteran from day one, a consistent force in the Texans' defensive line. The team’s 2011 No. 1 draft pick was a starter from the very beginning.
Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. likes him. Not enough for Watt to be in the top 10 players of the weekly Rookie Watch feature, but enough for Watt to be the lead in this week’s edition of the column.
Although he plays a little high at times, Watt can run well for a player his size. In the Texans' version of the 3-4, the ends are asked to be penetrators and disruptive upfield players rather than two-gap players who occupy space. That fits Watt very well, although he does use his hands well enough to handle the latter chore as well. Watt is a better player right now versus the run than the pass; he can handle a downhill run game right at him and is also able to make plays in pursuit from the backside.
He needs to build an array of pass-rush moves, but he is a difficult guy to throw around and does a nice job disrupting throwing lanes. Watt has been a great find for the Texans. And now, more than ever, they are going to need him.
I found the ever-available, ever-willing Williamson to ask why Watt ranks as the first player listed under "Other notables" rather than a top-10 guy. Denver linebacker Von Miller is No. 1 and two other defenders are on the list: 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith is ninth and Redskins defensive end Ryan Kerrigan is 10th.
“Miller is WAY ahead of all of them,” Williamson said. “Watt, Smith and Kerrigan could be swapped in any order. It was brutal ranking those guys. The other two are flashier. “
Watt’s unlikely to turn flashy. If he stays on course, the Texans will be perfectly happy.