T.J. Watt was drafted as a pass rusher but he’s done some of his best work in coverage, too. The people over at Pro Football Focus wrote an article with one unique stat for each time. When it came to the Pittsburgh Steelers, it focused on Watt and his coverage rates.
“Edge defender T.J. Watt has dropped into coverage on 154 of his defensive snaps this year, which is the second-most among all edge-defenders. When in coverage, he’s been targeted 17 times and he’s logged four pass breakups, one interception and allowed a passer rating of 34.7, all of which are the best marks among edge defenders this year.”
By our charting, to make the number more relative, we have Watt dropping into coverage a whopping 39% of the time, by far the highest on the team and I’m guessing one of the highest – if not the highest – mark for any 3-4 OLB in the entire NFL.
And as they point out, Watt is doing a great job in coverage, too. That was best on display against the Green Bay Packers, breaking up a throw over the middle against Jordy Nelson.
“Overall, global awareness helps him and helps anyone makes the type of plays that you mention when they’re seemingly out-manned,” Tomlin said about the play after the Packers game. “Knowledge levels that playing field and for a young guy, he’s displayed unusual knowledge.”
Watt has looked as good in coverage as he has getting after the quarterback. And his ability to drop has let the Steelers go wild with him, doing so about 10% more often than anyone else. That’s important too for where he’s playing at because under Butler, the right outside linebacker spot has always dropped more than the left.
He’s been pretty much everything you want in a rookie. The versatility to play all over the front, the upside of a pass rusher, and the humility of a Steeler. If this season is any indication, Pittsburgh is going to get another excellent return on investment from the first round.