Watt shows why he was a number one pick in Pittsburgh’s first pre-season game.

The pre-season is here, which means it’s the first opportunity to see the rookies play live NFL football.  Several rookies have made some noise already, but perhaps none more than TJ Watt of the Steelers.

On Friday night, Watt made his present felt immediately in his first pre-season game against the New York Giants.  Pittsburgh’s number one pick had two sacks on the game — both coming in the first quarter.

He got his first sack as a Steeler on just the third play of the defense’s first possession.  After firing off the line to the outside of the left tackle, he fought back inside and shed the block to take down Giants quarterback Josh Johnson.  It was somewhat of a lucky sack for Watt, as Johnson ran straight into him while stepping up from a collapsing pocket.  Still, his combination of speed and power was evident on the play.

The second sack came just three minutes later on the very next defensive possession.  Watt’s pass rushing skills weren’t even needed on the play, as he was left completely unblocked.  He did utilize his excellent lateral quickness, however.   After slightly biting on the play fake and overrunning the play, he recovered and caught Johnson easily as he tried to escape to the edge.

When asked about his rookie’s two-sack performance, head coach Mike Tomlin said lightheartedly, “Those will probably be the two easiest sacks of his career.”  He then added “I don’t want him to get disillusioned.  But I do like the things that I’ve seen thus far.”

It wasn’t just the sacks that made Watt’s debut so impressive.  The tenacity and motor that made him so attractive to Pittsburgh was on full display.  He was also able to consistently beat his man off of the edge, which could be a sign of many more sacks in his future.

Expectations should be tempered after just the first pre-season game, but you have to like what you see from Watt thus far.