Steelers grab Pitt star, cancer survivor James Conner

Posted April 30, 2017

That's a little how the Steelers wound up selecting outside linebacker T.J. Watt in the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday.

The first Wisconsin linebacker to be taken in the first round, Watt continues a remarkable family tradition by joining brothers J.J. He was limited to six games this past season due to an injury he suffered against OH on September 17 and returned to action against Kentucky on November 12, recording a pair of pass breakups to break Jabari Greer's UT career record for passes defended.

The 2014 ACC player of the year, Conner worked out with his Pitt teammates even as he underwent 12 chemotherapy treatments.

After an outstanding NFL Scouting Combine performance, workouts and visits with nine teams and phone calls with others, the linebacker-defensive end hybrid from Pewaukee, Wisconsin, caught a fever this week.

"I looked at the tape, and the tape told me what he was", Saxon said. Conner finished his final college season with 1,060 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns; he added 20 receptions and four receiving touchdowns. You see it work for good and for bad with the youngest Watt. Long-time Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert doesn't garner the recognition he deserves, but he is one of the best in the league in terms of scouting and drafting talent.

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"That's something I've been doing at Wisconin these past two years and I think that's why I translate so well to the (Steelers) defense", Watt said. That worked well. They got Kentucky edge rusher Bud Dupree in 2015, and the jury's still out there. Watt-the All-Pro and three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year-and Los Angeles Chargers fullback Derek Watt in the NFL.

Jordan Plocher, Pro Football Focus: "T.J". The Steelers had trouble getting to the quarterback past year and needed another pass rusher. I had Shaheen mocked to Pittsburgh in the third round, but there's an awfully good chance he doesn't make it that far. And, given his ability to play defense, Conner could be a special-teams demon.

I do not know him, but he's J.J. Watt's brother and comes from a great college development program, so I bet he's football-savvy.

Well, things just got interesting. I have learned so much from J.J. and I've been able to translate that myself, and I don't think people really even know who I am at this point just because I've been in such a big shadow.