Bleacher Report Names T.J. Watt As Biggest Draft Steal Of 2017

The Pittsburgh Steelers have historically been a great drafting team, but in the past decade it hasn’t been as great as previous decades. Names like Jarvis Jones and Artie Burns are burned into the memories of Steelers fans as first-round busts. But in 2017 the team struck gold, drafting T.J. Watt at pick 30 and adding a generational pass rusher to the team.

In a re-draft of the 2017 draft Watt goes in the top three. Getting him at 30 is a steal and this coming season barring injury Watt will become the Steelers all-time leader in sacks. Because of his draft slot and his accolades, Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report named him the biggest draft steal of 2017.

“By his second pro season, it was apparent that the Steelers had hit the jackpot late in Round 1—again,” wrote Davenport. “For four straight years from 2018 to 2021, Watt posted at least 13 sacks. In 2021, he tied the single-season sack record with 22.5 and won his first Defensive Player of the Year Award.”

Watt’s impact on the Steelers is undeniable. With Watt this past season the Steelers were 8-2, without him the team was a miserable 1-6. Simply put Watt is the Steelers defense and their most valuable player.

In just six season Watt has 77.5 sacks, only three behind James Harrison, the man he replaced in 2017, to tie the all-time Steelers record. Watt has shown no signs of slowing down either as even through a year where he was inured for most of the season and not fully healthy when he returned he still had 5.5 sacks last season. A fully healthy Watt easily breaks 10 sacks next year.

What is now left for the Steelers is to win Watt a Super Bowl. His brother J.J. Watt, another great player, failed to win a Super Bowl. The Steelers have a young core for T.J. now, and will become contenders again soon. Watt is still young, only 28 years old, and can still anchor an elite defense for some time while Kenny Pickett and the young offense comes into it’s own.

The Steelers’ Super Bowl window is opening again, and a big reason for that is because of the man they drafted with the 30th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

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