Has good size and strength. Moves well for his size. Has a nice first step and a good inside counter move against the tackle. Does his best work when he can pin his ears back, get penetration and be disruptive. Shows potential with a bull rush off the corner. Has a good motor and keeps working to the quarterback or ball. Uses his hands somewhat to keep tackle from engaging. Shows ability to toss aside the tight end and get leverage at the point of attack. Shows ability to stay at home in space and keep outside contain against the run. Shows ability to make stops on the backside pursuit.
Needs to polish up his pass rush moves a bit more and learn to use his hands better. Not as effective when forcing to hold the point of attack and stack and shed tackles instead of tight ends. Doesn't always do a good job setting the edge against the outside run. Preferring instead to shoot upfield and losing gap assignments. Not always consistent against the zone read, and needs to improve his recognition. When he lines up inside, doesn't really show the tools to be able to consistently pressure the quarterback.
Watt has very good size, long arms, and big hands. He has the potential to be a top notch 5-technique end. He played predominantly LDE in Wisconsin's 4-3 scheme, but was often lined up in a 5-technique. He went to Central MIchigan, where he caught 8 passes as freshman tight end. But then he transferred to Wisconsin and as a sophomore across from O'Brien Schofield he was productive with 44 tackles, 15.5 for loss, 4.5 sack, 5 pass breakups, and 2 fumble recoveries. His production improved as a junior with 62 tackles, 21 for loss, 7 sacks, 1 interception, 9 breakups, 3 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries, and 3 blocked kicks.
Watt is going to work best, at least initially in a 3-4 scheme that wants its ends to penetrate and be disruptive. While he has the size and strength to be more of a traditional stack and shed end, it's not what he did best at Wisconsin. He wants to get upfield and get after the ball, and that's how he can make plays. Eventually as he develops more experience he should become a solid stack and shed end at the point of attack that can be a force against the run because he's very hard to block. But that is probably a few years down the road. I think he has potential to be as good a 3-4 defensive end as Aaron Smith or Richard Seymour, although I think his game is a bit more like Seymour because of his ability to get upfield, make plays in the backfield and pressure the quarterback. I don't think he'll be a sack machine at the next level, but he can be a guy that can give you 4-6 sacks a year if not more and make his presence known with pressures and the ability to bat passes down at the line.
Watt doesn't really fit that well in a 4-3 scheme. While he has the size and strength to develop as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme, I think he would be just an average starter there sort of like Adam Carriker. He could split reps at end on first and second down and move inside on third downs, but he isn't going to be a major factor as a pass rusher at either spot. He doesn't have the edge quickness to really be more than a 2-3 sack guy as a 4-3 defensive end, and the same goes for him as a tackle. He is more of a role player in a 4-3 scheme, that is probably better than Jamaal Anderson, but not significantly.
For a 3-4 team looking for a potential elite defensive end prospect, he's well worth a Top 15 pick.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Pass Rush: 3.5
Point Of Attack: 3.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.