Can you imagine J.J. Watt playing for any other team than the Houston Texans?
Have you ever sat back and wondered, what if the Texans didn’t draft defensive lineman J.J. Watt in 2011?
Well they almost didn’t.
While doing research for an article he wrote for CBS Sports, Will Brinson ended up coming across a piece where former Texans’ defensive coordinator Wade Phillips admitted that they almost didn’t draft Watt.
"“With players, you give your opinion and then whoever’s in charge of the Draft decides how good your opinion is,” Phillips said at the time. “With [Saints defensive end] Rickey [Jackson], my Dad sent me up to watch him and Hugh Green at Pittsburgh, and we obviously ended up picking him.“With JJ, half the group didn’t want him and half the group did. Our side won, and it turned out great.”“A few of us stood up strongly for him at 11th overall — there was some dissent — but I don’t think any of us thought at the time that he’d be the dominant player that he’s been,” Phillips recalled. “We thought he was gonna be good. What we saw is that he had a great feel for where the football was. He had more pass breakups than any of the defensive backs. He knocked down so many passes. He’s a great athlete, and I think people kind of miss that. They worked him out at the combine as a linebacker, and he moved pretty well there, and he has tremendous acceleration.“We liked him a lot, obviously, and after his first year I told everybody he was gonna be in the Hall of Fame.”"
Drafting players will never stop being a gamble.
Despite all of the college film and pre-draft workouts, there’s no way to know if a player will be a “lock” when it comes to being great in the NFL.
There will always be draft busts and players that become great that weren’t drafted.
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I truly believe a lot of it is mental. There are plenty of guys that have all of the talent in the world, but they’re mentally weak and it keeps them from performing on the football field.
When it comes to NFL front offices like the Texans, coaches and executives will never agree 100 percent on how good a player is coming out of college.
The good news for the Texans is that they hit a home run with Watt.