The Pittsburgh Steelers lost several core special teamers during the offseason as linebacker linebacker Tyler Matakevich left via free agency and outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo, fullback Roosevelt Nix and wide receiver Johnny Holton all had their contracts terminated. To help Steelers special teams coordinator Danny Smith feel a little bit better about the loss of several core players from last season, the organization signed free agent fullback and special teams ace Derek Watt to a three-year contract. On Wednesday, Smith was asked about Watt and what makes him such a good special teams player.
“He’s a Watt,” Smith said. “His mom and dad ought to be writing books, we all ought to be reading it. That’s the first thing, he’s special. I mean, he just is. His makeup, his understanding of the game, his work habits and everything, he’s special. That’s what makes him special. I’ve got plans for him and he’s been successful in this league. We hope to continue that success and I’m so glad we got him.”
Last season, Watt and Matakevich tied for the league lead in total special teams tackles with 16 so it’s easy to see why Smith feels a lot better about losing the backup inside linebacker during the offseason. we broke down on this site what Watt will bring to the Steelers in terms of special teams play and if you read that post, it’s easy to understand why he was signed.
“The known aspect of his game that was really attractive to us was his high level of productivity in special teams,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said of Watt last week. “I think he and Tyler [Matakevich] led the NFL in special teams tackles a year ago.”
Watt should be able to supplant Matakevich as a core special teams player in 2020. Additionally, it won’t be surprising if Watt is ultimately named the Steelers special teams captain ahead of the start of the 2020 regular season despite him being a newcomer.