J.J. Watt believes Texans have ‘phenomenal’ talent in Will Anderson

J.J. Watt was the face of the Houston Texans for 10 seasons.

From 2011-20, Watt oversaw the team’s first AFC South title, their first playoff win, and built his Hall of Fame resume along the way. The former first-round pick from Wisconsin earned a record-tying three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards, had four seasons with over 16 sacks, and was a five-time first-team All-Pro. Altogether, Watt compiled a career that ultimately led to the Texans announcing plans to induct Watt into the team’s Ring of Honor.

There is no doubt that Watt’s accomplishments deserve celebration and he took time with the Houston media Tuesday afternoon to reflect on that and his recent retirement. However, Watt was also quick to point out the future of the organization appears bright as well. Those comments were extremely evident when he spoke of No. 3 overall pick, defensive end Will Anderson.

“I think Will is a phenomenal player,” Watt said on a Zoom call. “I’m very excited to watch him grow, to watch him develop, to see what [defensive coordinator] (Matt) Burke does with him in that defense, DeMeco’s defense.”

From what Anderson displayed at Alabama, Watt is impressed.

“The attack mindset, watching — he’s a freak athlete,” said Watt. “He’s already great at getting to the quarterback. So, I’m excited to watch him develop and grow, and hopefully get down there and speak with him a bit as well at some point. For me as a pass-rusher, I’m very excited to watch Will.”

Coach DeMeco Ryans’ defense thrived in San Francisco with edge rusher Nick Bosa causing havoc on the perimeter. Houston parted with their 2024 first-round pick for the draft rights to acquire him and clearly has a strong belief he could be a foundational piece.

The glowing comments are surely a good sign for Anderson coming from a player of Watt’s caliber and pedigree in the NFL. Anderson, the top defender in the draft, garnered much attention after a 17.5 sack season in 2021 and he’ll now have a tall task to replace Watt as the next franchise edge rusher for Houston.

Burke helping Watt finish his NFL career on a high note as the Arizona Cardinals’ defensive line coach in 2022. Watt’s final season produced 12.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. It should be interesting to see how both Burke and even Watt himself are able to help Anderson with the transition from Alabama to the pros.

Nobody knows how the Texans or how Anderson himself will perform during their debut seasons under Ryans, but having Watt around the Texans adds more positivity to a trending upward situation.

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Will Anderson’s Talent is ‘Phenomenal’, According to J.J. Watt.

Former Houston Texans player J.J. Watt expressed excitement for defensive end Will Anderson, the team’s No. 3 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Watt, who recently retired, described Anderson as a “phenomenal player” and a “freak athlete” who is already great at getting to the quarterback. Anderson had a standout season with 17.5 sacks in 2021 while playing for Alabama. The former Wisconsin player said he looks forward to watching Anderson’s growth and development, and said he hopes to speak with him at some point. The comments from Watt, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, should give Anderson and the Texans optimism for the future.

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