There is no guarantee that Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt will be a major contributor in his first season with the organization. The Steelers are often wary of putting too much on a rookie, but Watt’s potential points to the possibility that he could make a major impact if given the chance.
Watt might not be quite as dynamic as his brother J.J., the superstar defender for the Houston Texans, but the Steelers have almost certainly allowed their minds to wander to a world where Watt has a similar impact after he had two sacks in his professional debut Friday night.
Their own sack man named Watt? That could change the face of the franchise.
The Steelers are already one of the most successful organizations in professional sports. However, since their last championship at Super Bowl 43, they’ve undergone a minor makeover.
The dominant defenses that propelled them to six Super Bowls hasn’t been present in recent years. Watt could help change that practically overnight if he winds up being a dominant pass-rush specialist.
Again, that’s not necessarily the expectation. Genetics alone won’t make it so, but he’s shown some burst in the short time he’s been playing the position and that’s encouraging.
The Steelers’ success isn’t contingent on him realizing some unrealistic expectations. If he even provides so much as a situational pass-rushing presence, they’ll be better off for it.
However, in the event that he becomes an All-Pro performer, it will almost instantly vault the Steelers back to a championship level. That’s enough to get excited about.
It also makes performances like the one he turned on Friday night in the Steelers preseason opener against the New York Giants seem more significant than your average preseason performance.