Over the past few years, J.J. Watt has proven to be one of the most unstoppable forces in the NFL. The Houston Texans' defensive lineman missed most of the 2016 campaign, but is on track to return to the field this coming season.
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When he does, could he be joined in the Texans' defensive backfield by another Watt from Wisconsin? It's a legitimate possibility, as his younger brother, T.J. Watt, declared early for the 2017 NFL Draft and will likely hear his name called early come April's draft.
T.J. will be the third Watt brother in the NFL, joining J.J. and Derek, who is a fullback for the Los Angeles Chargers. T.J. finished the 2016 season at Wisconsin as the Big Ten's leader with 11.5 sacks, and added 15.5 tackles for a loss and a pick-six that looked oddly similar to his older brother's work.
Could the Texans take a shot on their current star's younger brother?
Believe it or not, Houston managed to have one of the best statistical defenses in the NFL last year even without J.J. Watt on the field for 13 games. The Texans gave up the fewest yards in the league (301.3) and the second fewest passing yards per game (201.6).
That would suggest The Texans don't need much help on defense.
But adding another pass rusher is never a bad idea, and the Texans would certainly benefit from T.J.'s abilities — the question is, how would the Texans land J.J.'s brother?
Current mock draft analysts predict T.J. Watt to be either a late first-round or early second-round pick. NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah has him going 29th overall to the Green Bay Packers and Bleacher Report's Matt Miller slates him 45th to the Arizona Cardinals.
The Texans should have the ability to take Watt with the 25th overall selection if they decide that's the direction they'd like to go. It seems more likely Houston would use that pick to select an offensive lineman like Alabama's Cam Robinson, Utah's Garett Bolles, Western Kentucky's Forrest Lamp, or another Wisconsin product, Ryan Ramczyk.
It also wouldn't be surprising to see the Texans select an inside linebacker or even a quarterback they fell in love with during the pre-draft process with this pick.
If the Texans are going to grab T.J. Watt, then, they might need to trade up in the second round to do so. If Watt is still there when the Texans hit the podium for the 57th pick, it's a no-brainer the Wisconsin product should end up in Houston.
It seems unlikely that the Texans will end up with a Watt duo in the defensive backfield, as much fun as that could be. The Texans have bigger needs than outside linebacker and Watt is unlikely to last until the Texans' second pick.
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Still, there's always the chance that Houston assumes the draft strategy of selecting the best player available, and at some point could argue that drafting a talented, young pass rusher just makes sense.
If not, we'll have to hope that NFL free agency (or, I guess, the Pro Bowl) one day puts the two players on the same defense.