Three times this season J.J. Watt has lined up on offence for the Texans, and caught a passes for touchdowns. His three offensive touchdowns (plus two on the defensive end) this season gives him as many touchdowns as notable offensive players like LeVeon Bell and Frank Gore and more than the Texans’ top receiver Andre Johnson.
It’s a small sample size, but people around the NFL think Watt could be a legitimate offensive terror if he played tight end full time. According to Dan Fleming of ESPN, former NFL player Ernie Conwell says Watt at tight end compares favourably to Rob Gronkowski:
“He would be an absolute nightmare to deal with on offence if he was out there full-time. If J.J. Watt played tight end full-time, he would be a bigger, nastier Gronk. He’d be Gronk but with 30 more pounds of muscle and much meaner.”
Conwell continued by adding that Watt is “one of the greatest athletes to ever play the game” and would be like “an armoured SUV flying down the field.”
Tennessee Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard agreed with Conwell, saying, “He is more capable and has the same ability as a tight end in the NFL when he’s at the goal line… They can throw the ball up to him. He is a go-to guy when he gets in there in the end zone.”
Fleming’s piece also quotes another NFL player who says Watt is better than most of the tight ends who are their teams’ no. 1 option on offence.
At 6’5″, 290 lb. Watt can outsize almost any defender and use his athleticism to make difficult grabs. He made a diving touchdown catch against the Titans last Sunday:
And this tough diving grab against the Browns:
Texans’ coach Bill O’Brien had a simple explanation for using Watt: “It’s not a circus show… we’ve got a guy over here [who has] a 6-foot-7 frame, a physical player, he’s got really good hands, he’s instinctive, he’s smart, he’s got tight end experience. So why not use him?”
Watt’s probably too good at defence to ever switch to offence full time, but the Texans would be smart to keep using him in the red zone.
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