The pick is made and TJ Watt is a Pittsburgh Steeler. But had we known then what we know now, that statement would’ve come as zero surprise.
Watt sat down to talk with Missi Matthews over on Steelers.com in an interview that went up earlier today. And while he said talks between he and the team cooled as the draft crept closer, the Steelers sent everyone short of Joe Greene to the Badgers’ Pro Day.
The night before his Pro Day, he and teammate Vince Biegel had dinner with the team.
“Mr. Colbert was there, Mike Tomlin was there, Coach Porter was there, Coach Butler was there,” he told Matthews. “It was just trying to get to know everybody and it was cool to put names to faces and try to get a feel for each other off the field. It was an awesome night.”
That’s four, count ’em four, of the Steelers’ brass sitting down with Watt at once. Granted, we knew Colbert, Tomlin, and Porter attended, but I hadn’t heard about Butler being there until this interview. Watt said the dinner last 90 minutes to two hours and that was evidently enough to sell the Steelers on him. They didn’t bring him in for a visit and made the selection Thursday night.
And the team kept up their history of using their first round pick on someone they met and saw at their Pro Day, now doing so for the past eight seasons. The last time they didn’t was way back in 2009 with Ziggy Hood and in hindsight, maybe they should’ve.
It’s impossible to say if Watt was the #1 guy they wanted all along but knowing the energy they spent on him before the draft, there’s no doubt in my mind he was one of the top guys on their board.