Prospect Smackdown: Crick vs. Watt
I see Watt getting alot of hype these days, and I remember Crick getting similar hype last year. Both are the jumbo white male DL of this class, and are two highly talented potential 3-4 DEs in this class...Lets see how they match up:
Watt was a small (2 star) TE/DE prospect in HS who originally attended Central Michigan and played TE. He eventually transferred to Wisconsin to throw on weight and become a DE.
Crick was a higher ranked recruit (3 star) at DE who stayed in state by going to Nebraska. He's a Captain at Nebraska IIRC.
Both are juniors.
Edge: Crick. Higher ranked recruit who stayed at the same school, also a higher profile player within his program.
Watt threw up 44 tackles in '09 (32 solo), 15.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 5 PD, 4 QB hurries, and 1 kicked blocked. He followed it up with 62 TKL (42 solo), 1 INT, 20.5 TFL, 7 sacks, 7 passes broken up, 10 hurries, 3 FF, and 3 kicks blocked. Both compiled in the Big 10 and he plays DE for Wisconsin. I think he's leaving Wisconsin as their career leader in kicks blocked.
Crick in '09 threw up 73 tackles (31 solo), 12.5 TFL, 9.5 sacks, 4 PD, 14 hurries, 1 kick blocked. He followed it up with a 70 (36 solo), 14.5 TFL, 9.5 sacks, 1 PD, 7 hurries, and 1 FF. Both of these done in the Big 12 and he plays DT for Nebraska.
Advantage: I'll give Watt this one, though some context is needed. One, the Big 10 is more run heavy than the Big 12 is (so it seems, I didn't fact check any of this next part) and my hypothesis is that it gives him more chances for things like blocked kicks (which he was awesome at in college), TFL, and FF. The other is that he did this as a DE while Crick threw up his numbers as a DT...where 21 QB pressures over 2 years is pretty damn impressive.
Watt is listed as 6'6 292 on Wisconsin. My guess is that he's closer to 285. He's long and wiry by that listing's standards and looks like his frame could hold another 20 pounds. He actually looks alot like Crick did last year. His run defense is decent. He's very good against the pass and often positions himself well. He's probably the better athlete of the two, though both are considered very good athletes.
Crick is listed as 6'6 285 on Nebraska's site. He looks bigger than that this year, and I'd guess he's 300. He's filled out his frame significantly during his time at Nebraska as his body looked like Watt's as late as last season. He has a stout frame, and this year showed he can hold up to double teams and play the run. He's not as explosive as Watt against the pass, but he's a smart player who positions himself well.
Edge: Watt has a frame you can dream on, and with some hard work in a real NFL training program I could see him filling out to 305-315. Both should peak at in that range so really I guess I'll call this one a draw. Crick is the more pro ready of the two physically.
Both project as 3-4 DEs, though perhaps different types of 3-4 DEs. Crick has the more balanced skillset currently and is much more proven against the double team. The perception seems to be that he has less room to fill out his frame and that he's not as good an athlete, so Watt has perception on his side.
Crick - Ty Warren.
Watt - Chris Canty minus the knee injury.
So apparently I'm Crick all the way on this one. I'm of the belief that 3-4 DEs are guys who like doing the dirty work and I've watched Crick do it for two years now. Watt's got the pretty numbers (yes I know I gave Crick the edge) and the TFL/sack numbers are going to have many on here thinking he'll save the pass rush, but my main knock on him is that he doesn't the sand in his pants necessary to anchor in a 3-4 from Day 1.
I'd say both project as solid 2nd rounders...maybe Watt falls to the 3rd because he's more projectable than pro ready right now body wise.
Maybe I should have included Wilkerson and Guy with them...I see them all 4 as 2-3rd guys who're all talented enough to go in the first in a given year.