2011 NFL Draft Projections: J.J. Watt

The 2011 NFL Draft has officially snuck up on us. With much of the public's focus on a potential NFL lockout, there hasn't been as much buzz about the draft as there usually would be. This is also the first year that the first round of the draft will be held on Thursday. The second and third rounds will take place on Friday, and the remainder of the rounds on Saturday.

So with that in mind, it's a pretty safe bet that defensive end J.J. Watt will hear his name called Thursday night. Watt will be in attendance at the draft on Thursday. He's also the odds-on favorite to be the first Wisconsin Badger to be selected, though Gabe Carimi could certainly give him a run for his money. If I had my way, Watt would be heading to the Minnesota Vikings to create a scary defensive end tandem with Jared Allen. That would probably upset a good amount of Badger/Packer fans. Anyways, let's take a look at some NFL draft projections for Watt from all across the interwebs.

SBNation's Brian Galliford:

18. San Diego Chargers: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin. San Diego is another team that might like to move down, but in this scenario, they'd have a hard time entertaining that notion with Watt still on the board.

Hit the jump for a slew of more projections for the guy who dreams big and works hard.

NFL.com analysts:

Pat Kirwan says Watt goes 11th to Houston. Bucky Brooks has him 18th to San Diego. Brian Baldinger and Charles Davis both have Watt going 16th to Jacksonville.

Peter King of SI.com:

27. Atlanta Falcons- Will Pick: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

The Falcons are looking for a long-term speed-rush replacement for veteran John Abraham, who'll turn 33 in May, and Houston fills the bill. But even though Watt doesn't fit G.M. Thomas Dimitroff's theme for this draft -- finding "explosive players" -- the chance to get a guy who's in the top 10 on more than one draft board around the league is an opportunity Atlanta can't let slip.

Note: there are four teams before Atlanta that King says "should pick" Watt: Seattle, Kansas City, San Diego, and New England.

Greg Cox at WalterFootball.com:

18. San Diego Chargers: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin 
The Chargers have to improve their defensive front. Jacques Cesaire is fading fast and is a free agent. Luis Castillo is not exactly lighting the world on fire either. This is a popular landing spot for J.J. Watt for those reasons.

Draft Countdown:

17. New England Patriots: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

Peter Schrager at FoxSports:

18. San Diego Chargers: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin. A run-stuffing 3-4 defensive end with bullish pass rush abilities, Watt’s a high-motor guy with the size and talent to make an immediate impact on San Diego's already high-quality defense.

Todd McShay at ESPN.com (Insider required):

10. Washington Redskins: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin: With no quarterback or nose tackle worth the pick, Watt would still offer an immediate upgrade to the defensive front seven. He has the size and strength to two-gap as a 5-technique and can potentially provide more on passing downs than most 3-4 ends in the NFL.

Draft Tek:

18. San Diego Chargers: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin: The Chargers are in need of an upgrade at DE and arguably the best 3-4 DE prospect in the draft falls into their lap at #18. Watt is not only a beast of an end, at 6'5", 290 lbs. he's extremely athletic for his size. Honestly, there isn't much that Watt can't do.

Mocking the Draft consensus mock draft:

18) San Diego Chargers: J.J. Watt, DE 33.3% (Aldon Smith was taken; 33.3%)

Finally, this isn't a mock draft, but Ted Glover at the Daily Norseman states his case for why the Vikings should select J.J. Watt with the 12th pick in the draft.

So there you have it. J.J. Watt is projected to go anywhere from 10th to 27th in the first round of the NFL Draft. Many experts think he's headed to San Diego at 18. Anything can happen at the draft, so we'll just have to wait and see.

Bucky's 5th Quarter is your home for the most in-depth NFL Draft coverage regarding your favorite Wisconsin Badgers. Stay tuned for the latest news, projections and draft analysis all week long and be sure to follow us on Twitter @B5Q.

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