NFL.com assesses the Texans first round pick with glowing praise. “Wade Phillips’ defense is predicated on bringing pressure off the edges, but a strong interior presence is needed to make it happen. Watt is an ideal five-technique with the strength and power to dominate offensive tackles at the point of attack. He not only improves Houston’s rush defense but gives them another high-motor player to incorporate into the pass rush.”
Phillips addressed the media after the first pick for his new 3-4 defense on Thursday night at Reliant Stadium. “J. J. Watt, I think you talk about value and you talk about need and we certainly needed a defensive player. He was the top guy we had right there and right then. I like his ability. He’s our kind of player. He plays a hundred miles per hour every play. This was the kind of player we want on the Texans defense. He reminds me a lot of Phil Hansen, who I had had at Buffalo for a while, that same kind of size, movement, and temperament. If he plays anywhere close to Phil Hansen, that’d be great for us. I think the kid is very talented athletically. He ran a 4.81, I believe, at 290 pounds. They worked him out as an outside linebacker and he actually didn’t look bad at 290 pounds as an outside linebacker. He’s really a defensive lineman, and at 6’5 ½”, 34 reps, he’s strong and we think he can come in and help our defensive line and play really well in our area.”
“He’s a good pass rusher. He will help us on the pass rush. I think he had seven sacks this year. He’s just coming along. He played tight end. He moved from Central Michigan where he was a tight end and is really working his way up as a defensive end. He keeps getting better and better because he works at it. He’s become stronger. He’s become faster and he’s going to keep helping himself because he’s such a hard worker.”
“I was impressed with the way we did the draft. All the scenarios we’ve been through before. Every single one of them that got to our point, we had gone through, so I was impressed with the way (General Manager) Rick (Smith) did it and (Head Coach) Gary (Kubiak) and how they set it up. We had a lot of discussions. I’ve been with teams where we had a lot of arguments. These were discussions. People made their points. We came down to our final decision and we think it’s a really good one for us.”
There was no doubt that Watt was happy to be drafted by the Texans. He made that clear on the conference call with media covering the team shortly after his selection. “It’s a great day to be a Texan. I can’t wait to get down to Houston and start getting to work. I knew it (Houston) was one of the teams that might pick me. At the end of the day, I was waiting for a phone call and was extremely excited when it came from Houston. I have good athleticism. When you have a guy like Mario Williams on the other side, he’s a great athlete as well. I am excited to come in, learn the defense, and give them everything I’ve got.”
Watt flew from New York City to Houston and met with the media at Reliant Stadium on Friday afternoon. His smile and enthusiasm left no doubt that he was excited to be a part of the Texans.