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Can T.J. Watt improve upon his 2019 season?

Breaking down every player one-by-one alphabetically on the Steelers current 90-man roster

Pittsburgh Steelers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Rob Leiter via Getty Images

We are nearing the conclusion of this series with part 85 of our 90ish-part series — assuming the roster does not change before we are complete — which will break down each player of the Steelers current 90-man (now 80-man) roster in alphabetical order. This series will encompass many aspects of each players game and their current role with the team. At the end, I’ll give some projected stats as well as their chances to make the 53-man roster.

Let’s take a look at one of the best pass rushers in the NFL:

T.J. Watt

Position: OLB
Height: 6’ 4”
Weight: 252 lbs
College: Wisconsin
Draft: 1st round 30th overall in 2017


2019 Stats

16 Games played
55 Tackles
14 Tackles for loss
14.5 Sacks
2 Interceptions
8 Forced fumbles
4 Fumble recoveries
8 Passes defensed
36 QB hits


Contract remaining

Expires in 2022
$2,945,985 salary cap number (1.5% of total cap)
$1,620,920 Dead money
$1,325,065 Savings if cut


Likelihood of making the roster

Lock. You don’t need me to tell you that T.J. Watt isn't going anywhere. The youngest Watt brother is honing in on the richest contract for a defensive player in NFL history. Only three seasons into T.J.’s career and the biggest question facing him is if he can go down in history as the greatest linebacker in Pittsburgh Steelers history.


2020 projection

Looking through the pictures from Steelers training camp one of the things that immediately stands out is the physique of T.J. Watt. The guy looks like a body builder in football equipment. If he’s in the best shape of his life I can only imagine the kind of stats he could rack up. The most notable stat that I believe Watt will be chasing is James Harrison’s sacks in a season (16) record, and I think he can do it.

I would expect T.J. to be flirting with the Defensive Player of the Year award again and if he won the award I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest.


Projected stats:

16 Games played
66 Tackles
18 Tackles for loss
17.5 Sacks
1 Interception
10 Forced fumbles
5 Fumble recoveries
5 Passes defensed
40 QB hits


Summary

We are on the precipice of what should be one of the greatest seasons by a linebacker in Steelers history. T.J. Watt should break 50 career sacks by Week 14 and take down the Steelers sacks in a season record shortly thereafter. He has made a gigantic impact in his first three seasons and the best of the Wisconsin alum is still yet to come. He was a double All-Pro selection [1st team outside linebacker, 2nd team inside linebacker] in 2019 and I'm sure 2020 will see the youngest Watt brother rack up even more awards.

If the Steelers can lock down Watt to a long term contract, there is no doubt in my mind that he will retire the organizations all time leader in sacks by a wide margin.


Previously Highlighted

Ola Adeniyi
Marcus Allen
Tyson Alualu
Trajan Bandy
Zach Banner
J.T. Barrett -Cut
John Battle
Jordan Berry
Saeed Blacknall
Breon Borders
Chris Boswell
Antoine Brooks Jr.
Isaiah Buggs
Devin Bush
Deon Cain
Kam Canaday
Chase Claypool
Josiah Coatney -Cut
James Conner
Anthony Coyle
Jordan Dangerfield
Amara Darboh
Carlos Davis
David DeCastro
Christian DiLauro
Kevin Dotson
Bud Dupree
Eric Ebron
Terrell Edmunds
Trey Edmunds
Matt Feiler
Minkah Fitzpatrick
Zach Gentry
Ulysees Gilbert III
Derwin Gray
Joe Haden
J.C. Hassenauer
Quadree Henderson -Cut
Dewayne Hendrix -Cut
Cam Heyward
Alex Highsmith
Mike Hilton
Devlin Hodges
John Houston -Cut
Anthony Johnson
Diontae Johnson
Jarron Jones
John Keenoy
Tyree Kinnel -Cut
Christian Kuntz -Cut
Justin Layne
Leo Lewis
James Lockhart
Paxton Lynch
Dan McCullers
Vance McDonald
Anthony McFarland Jr.
Henry Mondeaux
Christian Montano -Cut
Alexander Myres
Steven Nelson
Spencer Nigh -Cut
Chuks Okorafor
James Pierre
Maurkice Pouncey
Kevin Rader
Dax Raymond
Ben Roethlisberger
Mason Rudolph
Jaylen Samuels
Tuzar Skipper
Wendall Smallwood
Juju Smith-Schuster
Benny Snell Jr.
Robert Spillane
Cameron Sutton
Ryan Switzer
Calvin Taylor
Stephon Tuitt
Alejandro Villanueva
Corliss Waitman
Cavon Walker
James Washington
Derek Watt