With the first round of the NFL Draft slated to begin Thursday night, we’ll look this week at the prospects the Redskins could be targeting with the 10th overall pick and gauge the likelihood of each landing in Washington. Check back for updates.
Player: Defensive end J.J. Watt, Wisconsin
Basics: Watt was recruited out of high school to play tight end for Central Michigan, but the shotgun offense the team ran during his freshman year gave him very few opportunities, so he transferred to Wisconsin. There he walked on, gained 40 pounds and made the switch to defensive end. Now the 6-foot-5, 290-pounder is considered one of the top defensive linemen in the draft after he recorded 61 tackles and seven sacks last season.
Why he might fit: Watt is believed to be suited for the 3-4 defense, which the Redskins run, because of his impressive strength and ability to get into passing lanes and knock down passes. “He’s stout at the point [of attack], strong against the run, can free up your linebackers and give you just enough of a push,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said of Watt. “With his height and his wingspan and his work ethic and his passion, he’ll get into throwing lanes and he’ll sack the quarterback.”
Why he might not: With Adam Carriker, Phillip Daniels, Kedric Golston and Jeremy Jarmon already in the mix, defensive end isn’t as big a need as quarterback or outside linebacker. So if UNC’s Robert Quinn is still on the board, Washington likely would take him over Watt.
Likelihood Redskins draft him (scale of 1 to 10): 8. The Redskins’ defense ranked 31st out of 32 teams last year, so if Watt is the best defensive player left, they very well could take him. Or, they could try to trade down to gain multiple picks.