Watt were they thinking?

Hitting on all 32 picks in the first round of the NFL Draft might be just as challenging as filling out a perfect NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Bracket, yet we continue to consume these NFL Mock Draft articles day-in and day-at at a rabid pace.  Hell, even Mel Kiper’s only correct roughly 20% of the time…  And we consider him a draft expert.

There’s no science to projecting where these collegiate athletes end up in the draft and there certainly is no reason to grade said draft immediately following the announcement of the Mr. Irrelevant pick.  Yet we read them.  All of them.  Just like we read the thousands of Mock Drafts that fill our time between the Super Bowl and the start of the season.

To highlight the absurdity of Mock Drafts and Draft Grades, let us take a look at what was being said about J.J. Watt on and or around the 2011 NFL Draft.  Watt is arguably the BEST defensive player currently in the NFL and easily on pace to join other NFL greats in the Hall of Fame.


The Accolades: 

2012 NFL AP Defensive Player of the Year

2012 First-Team All-Pro

2013 First-Team All-Pro

2014 NFL AP Defensive Player of the Year

2014 NFL Bert Bell Award (Player of the Year)

2014 First-Team All-Pro

2015 NFL AP Defensive Player of the Year

2015 First-Team All-Pro


The Commentary:

Jerome Solomon – Houston Chronicle

On the Houston Texans selecting J.J. Watt with the #11 pick:

The Texans picked an OK player who fits in with what seems to be an ‘OK is OK’ philosophy, hence the disappointment.


Chris Baldwin – CultureMapp

On the Houston Texans selecting J.J. Watt with the #11 pick:

Watt is a great story.  But it’s hard to imagine him ever being a star.  It’s hard to see him changing games for Houston on defense.


Evan Silva – ROTOWORLD

#17 New England Patriots

Five-technique defensive ends don’t go early in drafts unless it’s the Chiefs reaching for Tyson Jackson.  But Watt projects as a borderline double-digit sack guy ala Justin Smith, with the ability to also be a high-impact run defender.


Michael Akelson – Bleacher Report

On the Houston Texans selecting J.J. Watt with the #11 pick:

Watt will be a good NFL player, but the Texans reached a little bit.


Gil Brandt –

Title:  On ability alone, these are top prospects of 2011 NFL Draft

Although not a Mock Draft, it’s a list of players tiered by the following:  “…complete analysis of a player and listed them strictly on talent and ability.

Tier 2

J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin


Wes O’Donnell – Bleacher Report

#17 New England Patriots

Watt is one of many second tier defensive end prospects.


Mike Kerns – (Battle Red Blog)

Title:  Potential Texan:  2011 NFL Draft Player Preview – J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

This is one of those guys, to me, that just had a great Combine and really boosted his stock.  While I’ve seen a few mock drafts that have him going at #11, I haven’t seen very many others that have him in the top 20.  He would just seem like a stretch at 11…


Robert Davis –

2011 NFL Draft:  Defensive Line (breakdown)

…has the ability to play a 4-3 defensive end, but not being an explosive pass rusher limits the upside in that role.


Jason McIntyre – USA Today Sports

#30 New York Jets

Absolutely, positively, must be a pass rusher.  I doubt Aldon Smith, OLB/DE, Missouri will be around, but he’s getting high marks from everyone who intently follows the draft.  JJ Watt, Wisconsin?


Jake Langenkamp – Bleacher Report

Title:  2011 NFL Draft Grades:  A Review of the Houston Texans Draft with Matt Miller

There is nothing incredibly sexy about his pick…”  “Watt is a high-motor, high-character guy which the Texans have always loved.  I personally thought Cameron Jordan was a slightly better prospect at the position…


Pete Prisco – CBS Sports

On the Houston Texans selecting J.J. Watt with the #11 pick:

Questionable move:  Picking J.J. Watt in the first round instead of Prince Amukumara…


Lance Zierlein – Houston Chronicle

On the Houston Texans selecting J.J. Watt with the #11 pick:

Considering the fact that I think he’s one of the safest picks in the draft, you won’t see a ton of weaknesses in my report, but one that jumps off the page at me is that I believe he’ll be an average to slightly above average pass rusher.


Jonathan Bales – Bleacher Report

Title:  NFL Draft 2011:  JJ Watt, DE, Wisconsin Is a Potential Dallas Cowboys Pick

…he’s a late-first round talent who, due to his measurable and work ethic, will get selected in the middle of the first round.


Mike Mayock – NFL Network

Title:  Mike Mayock’s Top 5 Draft Prospects by Position Defensive End

1. Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson

2. Adrian Clayborn, Iowa

3. Aldon Smith, Missouri

4. Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue

5. J.J. Watt, Wisconsin*

5. Robert Quinn, North Carolina*




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