What Should Fans Expect from Derek Watt?


By G.Stryker

The Pittsburgh Steelers made an interesting splash in free agency by going out and hiring a fullback: Derek Watt. Some of you may be thinking this must be a move to keep TJ Watt happy? Though the signing definitely has TJ over the moon to compete with his brother, the Steelers should be confirming Watt’s 5th year option very shortly, which will keep him under contract through 2021. So this signing doesn’t really factor in TJ’s long-term standing with this team.

Roosevelt Nix essentially lost a whole year to injury, being healthy for only one complete game and playing partially in three others. As a result, the running game suffered through the end of the year. The Steelers realized they had to improve their fullback position, and at the same time, their special teams coverage units (since Steelers fullbacks are expected to play there as well). Watching Derek’s highlights from his time as a Charger, you will notice a fluid receiver, and high motor tackler on special teams.

In college, you will see his willingness as a lead blocker on running plays, as well as his ability to break tackles and extend plays with the ball in his hands.

So what should we expect from Derek Watt? We should expect a great lead blocker, and great special teams player. Compared to Nix, over four years, Derek had 35 tackles compared to Nix’s 34, though Nix did have two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Derek last year produced 16 special teams tackles which is more than Nix’s best year of 10.

Another thing we can expect is a fluid receiver out of the backfield, who used both hands to catch contested balls, and break tackles to gain valuable yardage. There are times in Derek’s college footage where he was split out wide on passing plays. Not only is he a willing receiver, but he is also a strong route runner who is always working back to attack the football before the defender can get to him. I expect his career receiving numbers of 158 yards to possibly double with a QB like Ben Roethlisberger distributing the ball to every player on offense.

One final point that you can’t put a price tag on, is the competitiveness of the Watt family. Not only will TJ and Derek make the other better by challenging each other during drills, but you also have the outside chance of luring the third brother JJ Watt to come play with his siblings when he becomes a free agent after 2021. Until then, we will have some pretty awesome Backs on Backers drills to look forward to!

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!


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  1. Pingback: Mike Tomlin Answers Fan Questions, Addresses Running Backs – SteelerNation.com

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