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College coaches wanted to make J.J. Watt an OT

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J.J. Watt has become one of the dominant defensive linemen in the NFL.

But if his coaches at Central Michigan would have had their way, he’d be playing offense.

According to 49ers left tackle Joe Staley, the Chippewas wanted to convert Watt from tight end to tackle, which led to him walking away from a scholarship en route to Wisconsin.

“They missed out,” Staley said, via Alex Marvez of “They were like, ‘We’re going to move you to tackle now,’ and he was like, ‘Nah.’ I think he wanted a little more glory than what the tackle position offers so he moved and made himself into a hell of a player.”

The move worked for Staley, who became a first-round pick in 2007. That year, the CMU coaches tried moving Watt, but he resisted, leading to a pizza delivery job that covered his bills while he walked on at Wisconsin.

That made it reasonable to ask Staley if he’d have fared as well.

“I think so,” he said. “I’d be a dominant defensive player. I’d be in the mold of him and [49ers defensive end] Justin Smith.

“I’m kidding. I’ve never played defense in my life.”

And Watt is playing like few in the NFL at the moment.

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11 Responses to “College coaches wanted to make J.J. Watt an OT”
  1. juanquixote says: Oct 12, 2012 4:04 PM

    I could see why you want to have a freak of an athlete at the tackle position. Some of those freak athletes (Orlando Pace, Jonathan Ogden, Willie Roaf) had 10+ year careers, and got paid well for the time.

    J.J. Watt would make a hell of a tight end if he wanted to be.

  2. beerbaron says: Oct 12, 2012 4:13 PM

    I wish guys still played two ways. I know it’s ridiculous and not worth the injury risk, but wouldn’t it be awesome to see Vernon Davis as a pass-rushing defensive end?

    If Watt has hands he’d probably make a pretty good goal-line tight end, like the Pats used to do with Mike Vrabel.

  3. 8to80texansblog says: Oct 12, 2012 4:26 PM

    How can you not respect a guy who walked away from a scholarship at one school and busts his hump with a pizza delivery job in order to be a walk on somewhere else because they wouldn’t let him be who he wanted to be.

    Mad props.

    Who’s got two thumbs and a J.J. Watt man-crush?

    This guy!

  4. beavertonsteve says: Oct 12, 2012 4:27 PM

    If you have seen Watt’s TD vs the Bengals you know he could line up at TE right now and be a nasty goal line weapon.

  5. bleedburgandyandgold says: Oct 12, 2012 4:51 PM

    J.J. Watt is extremely fun to watch. I think he could play both ways and make it happen. He’s got the potential to be that good no matter what position he plays.

  6. miguelc2012 says: Oct 12, 2012 5:34 PM

    That’s why they are college coaches, not NFL scouts

  7. gojags says: Oct 12, 2012 5:53 PM

    Is this the same guy who wanted Flacco to be a tight-end in college?

  8. luckynumberlucas says: Oct 12, 2012 6:00 PM

    JJ probably could play tackle as well. My guess is he’d be starting for half of the teams at LT.

    DPOY of the year. And if the voters werent so focused on offense, he’d get many MVP votes too!

  9. exibitsman says: Oct 12, 2012 7:44 PM

    he’s the best D lineman in the NFL today.

  10. decon49 says: Oct 12, 2012 9:32 PM

    my fantasy team name is 1 POINT 21 JJWATTS

  11. piemasteruk says: Oct 13, 2012 2:47 AM

    “I think so,” he said. “I’d be a dominant defensive player. I’d be in the mold of him and Justin Smith.

    “I’m kidding. I’ve never played defense in my life.”


    Liking Joe Staley a lot suddenly

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