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Porter already impressed by Watt

Posted Jun 15, 2017

He hasn't put the pads on yet, but T.J. Watt already showing Joey Porter plenty.

Just a few hours before the team announced the signing of No. 1 draft pick T.J. Watt to a four-year contract, outside linebackers coach Joey Porter was singing his praises.

“He looks good,” said Porter. “T.J. is a smart guy. He picks up things real well. Runs well. Rarely makes mistakes. I am happy where he is as far as progression.”

What stood out the most in Porter’s words were, ‘rarely makes mistakes.’ It’s not common to hear that assessment of a rookie, especially coming from a coach.

“It’s a tough defense. We ask him to do a lot,” said Porter. “He played in a similar scheme at Wisconsin, just different terminology. Concept pretty much the same, different wording. He’s does a lot of the stuff that we do. Once he picked up the terminology, it’s been better every day.”

During OTAs and into minicamp Watt has been getting the lion’s share of snaps while James Harrison, who is entering his 13th season, has been more of a spectator. Harrison doesn’t need the reps, and Porter feels it’s more beneficial to give them to Watt while he is learning.

It’s paying off, as Porter already has a comfort level with the rookie linebacker.

“What he has shown me so far is he is acclimated,” said Porter. “I feel comfortable with him being out there. With the reps that he is getting, it’s helping him prepare and get more comfortable with the defense.

“As many practices as we have had, I can count on one hand how many mistakes he has had, and that is rare.”

More from Porter:

On Bud Dupree: “It’s about getting him through the season healthy. Last year we went to camp and he was injured. When he came back you saw how well he played for us at the end. I would love for him to come in healthy. I think it could be a big year if we get through the season healthy.”

On depth at outside linebacker: “I think we are solid. We have a lot of guys. All have started, except T.J. Even though (Anthony) Chickillo and Bud are young, I have two guys who have started, played in playoffs and gave us production. That is always something to grow on, but you are looking to improve. That is why we took a linebacker in the first round.”

On Keion Adams: “Keion he is another good pick that we got, that so far has shown us good things. He is picking up the defense fairly well. I am excited about his growth so far. It’s not a finished product. Where we are right now, I am happy with his growth.”