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Steelers sign No. 1 draft pick

Posted Jun 14, 2017

T.J. Watt signed a four-year deal with the team.

The Steelers signed first-round draft pick T.J. Watt to a four-year contract.

Watt, the linebacker who played at Wisconsin, is the final of the team’s eight players from the 2017 NFL Draft to sign.

Watt finished the 2016 season with 17 tackles for a loss and 11.5 sacks, his first as a starter and only his second playing defense after switching from tight end.

“T.J. is a rock solid young man who has a lot of upside,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “He doesn’t have a lot of experience at the position, but at the same time we saw some things that were exciting to us. His hand usage in particular for a guy with his short resume at the position was exciting. His production speaks for itself. He’s just a quality guy and a quality pick for us. We’re excited about continuing his development not only as a football player, but as an outside linebacker. That’s probably the most exciting element of the T.J. discussion. We are excited about the potential upside and growth given the short length of time he’s played the position.”

Watt credits his hard-working approaching with being able to make the transition to defense, as well as the natural talent he is blessed with.

“I am a lunch pail kind of guy who yeah, I just got picked in the first round, but I am here to prove that I am worth that pick and I am worth much more than that as well,” said Watt. “I think some things come easy for me, like the transition over to defense. It came naturally to me, but at the same time there was so much work behind the scenes that no one ever saw. That’s what it’s so hard to put it into words. It is a lot of God-given ability, but it is so much work that no one will ever see.

“No one will ever know. It’s an insurmountable amount of work. That is how you get to places like this and get the opportunity to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. It all pays off. It really does.”

Transactions

Date Transaction
08/16/2017 Activated WR Sammie Coates from the team's Physically Unable to Perform List.
08/14/2017 Signed LB Austin Gearing; Released WR Canaan Severin
08/08/2017 Signed C Lucas Crowley; Waived/Injured C Mike Matthews.