Parallels run fast and furious during pre-draft coverage, and plenty of talking heads have compared T.J. Watt, the former Wisconsin outside linebacker and pass-rushing hero of 2016, to his older brother, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.
But longtime draft analyst Mike Mayock of NFL.com sees the younger Watt in something of a different mold.
“The easy comparison is (Green Bay’s) Clay Matthews,” Mayock told Peter King of MMQB. “He’s an edge rusher who fits best into a 3-4 system.
“He has a similar game to Clay — an edge who can drop in coverage and has a motor that just won’t stop.”
The younger Watt even has a similar — if leaner — frame (6-foot-5, 243 pounds) to the Packers’ Pro Bowl pass-rusher (6-3, 255), plus a frame that can probably handle even more bulk. The ex-Badgers defender excelled in his only season as a starter at outside linebacker in Wisconsin’s 3-4 scheme, recording 11.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for losses.
Matthews, meanwhile, has recorded 30 sacks over his last 55 appearances as an edge rusher in Green Bay’s 3-4 alignment.
Of course, Mayock wasn’t the first pundit on any platform to make the Watt-Matthews comparison …
T.J Watt reminds so much of Clay Matthews but he’s longer and more explosive off the snap than Matthews was at USC.
— John S (@xnojoe) January 2, 2017
… and, depending on how well Watt performs at the NFL Scouting Combine this week at Indianapolis, he probably won’t be the last.