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The Hindsight Games Part 1: J.J. Watt

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Websters dictionary defines the word hindsight as "perception of the nature of an event after it has happened". As football fans, we use the word hindsight all the time when looking back at previous situations involving our team. This is common when looking back at past draft classes.

I wanted to start a fresh and new series, called "The Hindsight Games". Using hindsight is usually frowned upon by the esteemed population on BTB. It usually makes the person using hindsight look like a fraud or phony. I am comfortable enough with myself to write a few articles based on hindsight. In the first article, I decided to go back to the 2011 NFL Draft.

During that long off season, I pushed the wagon on Tyron Smith. I would not go back and change his draft selection, but I will play the devils advocate and talk about the possibilities of drafting another player. We are still in the hanging pattern doing circles before the real off season begins. The combine is a couple of weeks away, free agency is over a month away and the NFL Draft doesn't take place for months.

I am running out of stuff to talk about and I thought that this would be a fun article for everyone to read. The Hindsight Games is nothing like the Hunger Games, so don't worry about being selected to fight to the death in a arena. Though that would offer me some true excitement to see some of you battle against each other, I know I am a sick man.

The 2011 NFL Draft

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For months we speculated and debated who the Cowboys should draft with their 9th overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. After reading Wes Bunting and Raf discuss USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith, I was sold immediately and began to push him as our first round draft pick.

After taking the entire twelve minutes the Cowboys had when they went on the clock, the pick was sent in to NFL commissionaire Roger Goodell. With the 9th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith.

I was relieved that they selected such a physical freak and I envisioned Tyron Smith as a franchise offensive tackle. I would never go back and change that pick, but I will consider the options we had at the time. Going back and changing the selection has a ripple effect on the entire franchise. This is what makes the Hindsight Games so fun and unique.

A couple of other names also intrigued me and I wrote many articles on the pro's and con's of drafting each different prospect. I will start of the Hindsight Games with J.J. Watt.

J.J. Watt

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Draft Profile: J.J. Watt

Eve Of The Draft Post About J.J. Watt

Final Big Board Update: J.J. Watt Ranked 9th Overall

The other option I had for the Cowboys instead of Tyron Smith was Wisconsin defensive end, J.J. Watt. Watt was a very special player in the draft last year and I truly feel that he was one of the most underrated prospects in the past ten years. People underestimated him for whatever reasons, but his combine performance was one of the best I have ever seen.

Combine Performance

  • 6'5 290
  • 34 inch arms
  • 11 1/2 inch hands
  • 4.81 40 yard dash
  • 34 225 lb bench reps
  • 37 inch vertical jump
  • 10'00" broad jump
  • 4.21 20 yard shuttle
  • 6.88 3 cone drill

Watt absolutely went to the combine and blew the doors off the place. Before the combine, Watt was considered a top 25 draft pick. After his impressive combine performance, his stock went through the roof and was then considered a top ten draft pick.

J.J. Watt didn't last for long after the Cowboys selected Tyron Smith, Watt was drafted by the Houston Texans with the 11th pick. Newly appointed defensive coordinator and former Dallas Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips started off his era with the Texans on a great draft pick. The Texans as a whole had one of the best drafts out of any team in the NFL last year. They wanted to change their defense from a 4-3 to the 3-4 and dedicated the resources they had in the draft, acquiring the personnel they needed to make the defense work.

There were plenty of J.J. Watt fans on here last year and many, primarily Fan In Thick And Thin, wanted the Cowboys to draft JJ Watt instead of Tyron Smith. Personally, I would have been thrilled with either player because in my eyes, both were blue chip prospects.

J.J. Watt would have brought us the disruptive and pass rushing defensive end we are still looking for. Adding Watt to our defensive line would have instantly upgraded our defense. Having Watt would have opened plays up for the nose tackle next to him, Jay Ratliff. It also would have greatly benefited the outside and inside linebackers behind Watt. Having a defensive end of this quality may have improved Anthony Spencer's game back to what we saw from him in 2009. That is the line of thinking behind the support for drafting Watt, many fans felt that he would greatly impact the entire defense and I do agree with that theory.

Watt was a force to be reckoned with in his rookie season. He was an immediate big time player and has already established himself as one of the best defensive ends in the NFL. I am not just saying he is one of the best 3-4 defensive ends, I am saying he is one of the BEST defensive ends in the game, 3-4 or 4-3.

2011 Statistics

  • 56 tackles
  • 5.5 sacks
  • 2 fumble recoveries
  • 13 tackles for loss
  • 14 quarterback hits
  • PFF All Rookie Team
  • Chia's NFL Comparison for J.J. Watt- The 3-4 version of Jared Allen

Watt was a beast in his rookie season and was one of the centerpieces to one of the best defenses in the NFL. When the Texans played their FIRST ever playoff game on January 7, 2012 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Watt showed up big time.

Playoff Statistics

  • 2 tackles
  • 1 sack
  • 1 INT returned for a TD

His performance against the Ravens was even more impressive.

  • 12 tackles
  • 2.5 sacks
  • 3 tackles for loss

J.J. Watt is a such a great player and his upside is through the roof. This is a kid who played tight end at Central Michigan and delivered pizza's. He then goes to Wisconsin, redshirts for a year and then becomes the starting defensive end out of nowhere. Watt has really only played defensive end for three years now, 2009-2010 for Wisconsin and 2011 for the Texans. This is a player who hasn't even begun to scratch the surface of his potential and this is scary. Watt can get even better and I am so happy for this young man, nobody deserves it more than J.J. Watt.

He loves the game of football and is one of the hardest working players I have ever heard about. Crying isn't a good look for a beast of a man at 6'5 290, but he actually cried after he lost the Rose Bowl to TCU. He really cares about playing to the best of his abilities and giving the fans a win. If you don't like J.J. Watt, then there is something seriously wrong with you.

Even though Watt is on the rival Houston Texans, a team we despise. I will always root for and support J.J. Watt. If the Cowboys drafted him, we would have the pass rushing/disruptive defensive end that we seem to need every year in the draft. A new year, a new draft and we still have the need for a type of defensive end like Watt. The problem is, these guys don't grow on trees. You cannot go out into the woods and cut one down. These guys aren't sold at Best Buy. You cannot go to Best Buy and pick one up.

The same can be said for Tyron Smith and I don't want to confuse anyone with Hindsight Games articles. Tyron Smith was a great decision and we needed a offensive tackle in the worst way. Marc Columbo was the worst RT in the NFL in 2010. Adding a franchise offensive lineman like Tyron Smith, who is just 21 years old, will give us bookend tackles for a long time. If Tyron Smith successfully makes the move to left tackle, we will have arguably the best pair of tackles in the NFL.

But it is always fun to go back and look at things with a different perspective. If we drafted J.J. Watt, we would have drafted a serious talent at defensive end. But what happens at right tackle? Do we draft one later in the draft? Would that player have been successful for us? Would we have signed a free agent right tackle? That is why I wanted Tyron Smith, because the options at offensive tackle got really slim after the first round. Tyron Smith showed that he is one of the best right tackles in the NFL his rookie season, at just 20 years old, Smith showed the world just how good he was.

The Cowboys made the right decision, and drafting J.J. Watt would have been a damn good decision also. Looking back it now, it's just all hindsight. Welcome to the Hindsight Games, may the odds be ever in your favor.

Next On The Hindsight Games: Nick Fairley

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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