It is just one week of practice but as the old saying goes, first impressions matter. For veteran linebacker Arthur Moats, three rookies stuck out to him.
Speaking with PennLive’s Jacob Klinger, Moats named the following trio: T.J. Watt, Cam Sutton, and Keion Adams. Klinger doesn’t have any specific quotes from Moats about each of those players, I’m sure Moats didn’t divulge too much further, but he did sum up what separates the players who are making an immediate impact as opposed to those who are facing a bit more of a learning curve.
“Generally when you’re watching them on film and you’re seeing how fast they’re playing,” he told Klinger. “A lot of times when a guy’s indecisive about things they’re not showing their full speed or athletic ability, whereas I feel like those three guys especially have been showing some flash on film.”
To be fair, it’s no surprise to see Moats focus on the defensive side of the ball and he named three of the four defensive picks drafted, only leaving out Brian Allen (who has made some spectacular plays of his own).
Watt has been running as the first time OTAs as James Harrison has held out and other teammates have said he’s coming along quickly. Despite being just a one-year starter, his time spent with his hand up and in a Badgers’ defense similar to what the Steelers run eases the learning curve.
Sutton, like Watt, is regarded as having a high football IQ and film room junkie. He has been working as an outside corner during the first week but if he continues to show his smarts, may be kicked inside at points the rest of the way.
It’s interesting for Moats to name Adams given that’s his main competition for a roster spot. That battle, as we’ve talked about before, is likely to be won via special teams and Adams could hold the slight edge as a younger, faster, cheaper option. But that battle is long from being decided.