Three reasons why Steelers drafting Pitt's James Conner is flawless

T.J. Watt

Thursday night, with the 30th overall pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Steelers selected linebacker T.J. Watt, a redshirt junior out of the University of Wisconsin. As of right now I would expect Conner to get every chance to be Bell's back-up.

"Hearts and smarts", coach Mike Tomlin said, referring to an oft-used line by general manager Kevin Colbert. Conner wasn't done, as he earned recognition as first-time all-conference with 216 carries for 1,092 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. Mr. Watt will now be preparing to face the crème de la crème of the college athletes offered up for competition in the NFL.

Conner heroically overcame both a knee injury and Hodgkin lymphoma to return to the field in 2016.

"I'll do anything possible to bring the Steelers back to the Super Bowl, special teams, be a role player", Schuster-Smith said. "We've never been on the same field in full uniforms competitively before, so I think that'll be a really cool and kinda weird day for me".

This is the fourth time in the last five drafts the Steelers have taken a linebacker with their top pick. J.J. Watt is a perennial All-Pro defensive end for the Houston Texans. "37" vertical jump, the same as his oldest brother (who was 290 at the Combine in 2011), and 10'8 shows he's very explosive. The head coach even called upon T.J's oldest brother, J.J.

Watt had the bloodlines.

There are other question marks - he's not a pure pass rusher, he lacks burst speed, he plays with a narrow base - but the Steelers think that's stuff Watt can pretty easily improve upon.

With Watt, the added inside information certainly didn't hurt, especially given his history. Watt began his football career as a tight end recruit for the Wisconsin Badgers.

Don't worry, the Steelers did finally get around to selecting a cornerback.

When he went to college, he was a wide receiver, but after the 2014 season, Allen was asked to move to the defensive side of the football, and it was no easy task. Warren has missed just one game since 2009. But he got better and better last season and chose to enter the draft, striking while the iron was hot. That's the big selling point here. "I'm scratching the surface of what I can do".

Conner, as if you needed me to tell you, is an all-effort player and willing to do anything to help a team.

The Steelers feel the same way. It was the offense that carried them to the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots but it was the defense that led them down at the final hurdle.

"We are excited to have him", said team president Art Rooney II.



Other news