"Don't take everything too seriously," Watt said when asked last week about his NFL Draft experience.
The Texans selected the Wisconsin defensive lineman in the first round, with the 11th overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. Despite his climb to the top of draft boards, Watt still recalls the boos when his name was called.
Seven years later, he is one of Houston's most beloved professional athletes and admits he used that 2011 draft experience on the field.
"I took that very seriously," Watt said. "You know, it hurt but I also used it as motivation. Part of me would say don't let that get to you but then the other part of me says that was part of the motivation that got me to where I am."
Watt gave both of his brothers, T.J. and Derek Watt, the same advice when their draft days approached. He also urged them to learn how to be a pro, put in the work and to follow the examples set by leaders in the locker room.
"Find the leaders on the team, the guys who do things the right way, the guys who are pros who go about their jobs the right way, follow those guys," Watt said. "Learn as much as you can from them."
The four-time All-Pro's motivation earned him PFWA All-Rookie team honors (2011), two-time NFL sack leader (2012, 15), Four Pro Bowl selections (2012-15), three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year honors (2012, 2014, 2015) and most recently, NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year (2017). Last week, TIME Magazine named Watt to the TIME 100, their list of 100 most influential people in the world.
Looking back, Watt has some sage advice for himself too.
"I think the biggest thing I would tell myself is, 'This is one of the coolest rides you'll ever go on in your entire life,'" Watt said. "Everybody dreams about playing in the NFL. You dreamed about it as a kid and now you get to do it. So, make sure you take some time, look around and realize just how special it is and enjoy every second of it."
The 2018 NFL Draft takes place Thursday, April 26 through Saturday, April 28. Houston has eight picks in the draft: three in the third round, one in the fourth round, three in the sixth round and one in the seventh round.
Houston Texans fans came together to congratulate J.J. Watt for being included on the Time 100 list of most influential people in the world.