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Wisconsin OLB T.J. Watt might be an option for the Green Bay Packers next Thursday.

T.J. Watt would be a perfect fit for Green Bay, latest mock drafts and the Badgers read bad jokes

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Today is Thursday, April 20, and this is what’s for breakfast.


Watt in Green Bay

The Green Bay Packers have drafted 1 — ONE — Wisconsin player since 2001. But if you’re to believe mock drafts (and you probably shouldn’t), this might be the year that changes.

At different times this spring, several major outlets, including NFL.com, CBSSports.com and ProFootballFocus.com, have had OLB T.J. Watt going to the Packers at pick No. 29 of the first round.

It’s an intriguing thought, and 1 that Packers OLB Clay Matthews would welcome, especially with the career Watt’s brother, J.J., has had with the Houston Texans since he was drafted out of Wisconsin after the 2010 season.

“That would be great if he’s even half the player that his brother is,” Matthews told reporters this week. “If he’s anything like his brother, then he’ll have a drive and work ethic that can’t be matched.”

Mock drafts are difficult to get right inside the top 10, much less the entire first round, so anybody hoping that Watt ends up in Green Bay will probably be disappointed next Thursday night.

That said, it would be a perfect fit schematically for him. Like Wisconsin, Green Bay plays a 3-4 defense with their outside linebackers spending most of their time rushing the quarterback both in the base package, as well as when they go to their sub packages and bring more defensive backs on the field. They ask their guys to drop into coverage, too, and Watt improved in that aspect the more playing time he saw last season.

Perhaps the most important thing, though, is he’s ready to play now, unlike most of the guys Green Bay has drafted for the position since moving to the scheme in 2009. Other than Kyler Fackrell in the 2016 draft, the Packers typically don’t take outside linebackers who actually played in a 3-4 in college. Neither Matthews nor 2012 first-round pick Nick Perry did. So despite him just scratching the surface of what he can be — he’s only played defense for the last 18 months — Watt wouldn’t be your typical Packers draft pick at the spot.

The pick would also give defensive coordinator Dom Capers another person to disrupt opposing offenses up front, helping a secondary that was besieged by injuries and poor play at the cornerback spot last season.

The concern for Watt, no matter where he ends up, is everyone will always be making comparisons to J.J., and judging him based on what his brother did on his way to becoming a 3-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. It’s unfair to T.J., but it’s also something he’s dealt with in high school and college, following J.J. at both places, as well as his other older brother, Derek, who plays for the San Diego Chargers. He’s proud of what they’ve accomplished and doesn’t shrink from it, even if people put unrealistic expectations on him. It’s very possible that it would be easier in Green Bay, where many fans have already separated him from his brothers based on what he did at Wisconsin.

Matthews kind of knows what Watt is going through, considering his grandfather, father and uncle all played in the NFL before him and made their last name practically football royalty.

“People put more pressure on me than I put on myself just for having the last name. I think that’s really driven by the fact that I’ve always wanted to be more successful than just (being defined) by having the last name Matthews and the pedigree that was established,” Matthews said. “Obviously everyone is going to expect big things out of him with how well J.J. has been playing in this league, but I think he just wants his shot.”

Plenty of Packers fans would be happy if that shot came in Lambeau Field.

Latest mock drafts

The NFL draft will get underway a week from Thursday in Philadelphia, so it’s probably a good time to check out where the mock drafts had the Badgers going 2 weeks ago and where they have them going now.

OT Ryan Ramczyk

ESPN.com (Mel Kiper)
Last: Denver Broncos (No. 20 overall)
Now: Denver Broncos (No. 20 overall)

ESPN.com (Todd McShay)
Last: Houston Texans (No. 25 overall)
Now: Last: Houston Texans (No. 25 overall)

NFL.com (Chad Reuter)
Last: N.Y. Giants (No. 23 overall)
Now: Last: N.Y. Giants (No. 23 overall)

CBSSports.com (Will Brinson)
Last: Denver Broncos (No. 20 overall)
Last: Denver Broncos (No. 20 overall)

ProFootballFocus.com
Last: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 19 overall)
Now: Denver Broncos (trade up to No. 16 overall)

OLB T.J. Watt

ESPN.com (Mel Kiper)
Last: Seattle Seahawks (2nd round, No. 58 overall)
Now: Baltimore Ravens (2nd round, No. 47 overall)

ESPN.com (Todd McShay)
Last: Cincinnati Bengals (2nd round, No. 41 overall)
Now: Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 30 overall)

NFL.com (Chad Reuter)
Last: Green Bay Packers (No. 29 overall)
Now: Dallas Cowboys (No. 28 overall)

CBSSports.com (Pete Prisco)
Last: Green Bay Packers (No. 29 overall)
Now: No longer in the first round

CBSSports.com (Will Brinson)
Last: Green Bay Packers (No. 29 overall)
Now: New Orleans Saints (No. 32 overall)

ProFootballFocus.com
Last: Green Bay Packers (No. 29 overall)
Now: Dallas Cowboys (No. 28 overall)

Our take:

Ramczyk appears a near-lock to get taken in the first 32 picks despite not being able to work out for teams as he comes off of hip surgery. If it happens, he’ll become 1 of the more unlikely first round picks in history, going from almost becoming a welder 4 years ago to a multi-millionaire after just 1 year of starting at Wisconsin.

Watt, meanwhile, still projects to go at the end of the first round, though it will be interesting to see if there’s a team or 2 that really likes him that tries to jump ahead of outside linebacker-needy teams and takes him in the 20-25 range.

A look where some of the other Badgers could end up going:

OLB Vince Biegel

ProFootballFocus.com — San Francisco 49ers (4th round, No. 142 overall)
DraftWire.com — Green Bay Packers (5th round, No. 172 overall)
WalterFootball.com — Los Angeles Chargers (4th round, No. 113 overall)
DraftTek.com — Arizona Cardinals (5th round, No. 179 overall)

CB Sojourn Shelton

DraftWire.com — Indianapolis Colts (5th round, No. 158 overall)

RB Corey Clement

DraftTek.com — Cleveland Browns (5th round, No. 175 overall)

Bad jokes

It’s hard not to laugh at bad jokes. It’s even harder not to break a smile when that bad joke is read to you by a teammate or coach, as several Wisconsin athletes found out.

The first 1 with LB T.J. Edwards and K Rafael Gaglianone is the funniest by far … see for yourself why.

Catching up

  • From Jason Galloway at the Wisconsin State Journal: Arrington Farrar feels at home with his move from safety to inside linebacker.
  • Over at ESPN.com, Jesse Temple writes that a normally unselfish defensive line is ready to become a little more selfish this season.
  • ESPN has voted and declared the Big Ten to have the best group of coaches of any conference in the country.