It would probably be fair to point out that we have already talked quite a bit over the course of the past couple of months about outside linebacker T.J. Watt, whom the Pittsburgh Steelers selected with the 30th pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Not that there is anything wrong about making the team’s top draft choice a topic of frequent discussion. After all, the intention is for him to be a contributor during his rookie season, so given that he has never contributed at the NFL level before, it would stand to reason that progress reports would be a relevant point of order on which to focus.
And Steelers outside linebackers coach Joey Porter did give up an update following the conclusion of mandatory minicamp yesterday, pointing out the obvious, that “he looks good”. The former Steelers outside linebacker described Watt as a “smart guy” who “picks up the defense real well, runs well, rarely makes mistakes. I’m happy where he’s at as far as his progression”.
When a reporter asked him about his ability to transition as smoothly as he has at this point, considering his relative inexperience playing the outside linebacker position, Porter pointed out that Watt already did the same things at Wisconsin, just with different terminology.
“Once he picked up our terminology, it’s been better every day”, he said. He even went so far as to say that he can “count the mistakes he had on one hand”, describing that as rare given how many practices they have already been through up to this point in the offseason.
“What he’s shown so far is that he’s acclimated”, he continued about his brightest young pupil. “I feel comfortable with him being out there. His learning curve is real good. I think with the reps that he’s getting, it’s just helping him prepare and get more and more comfortable with the defense”.
When it comes to beginning to contemplate his future usage in training camp, though, let alone the regular season, Porter sad simply that he’s “good [with] where he’s at, and anything further, we’ll see how it goes”.
One reporter pushed the issue, raising the hypothetical of James Harrison at some point in the season coming off the bench, as he began last season, with Watt being in the starting lineup. “We’ll get to that bridge when we cross it”, the position coach said. “Right now he’s just doing the work as he’s supposed to, and as we get further into this thing, how it plays out, we’ll go from there”.