With the 11th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Texans selected Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt.
Watt (6-5, 290) was a two-year starter and a second-team All-American in 2010. He started his college career as a tight end at Central Michigan in 2007 before transferring to Wisconsin in 2008.
"You talk about value and you talk about need," Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said. "We certainly needed a defensive player. He was the top guy we had right there right then. I like his ability. He plays 100 miles an hour every play. This is the kind of player we want on the Texans' defense."
Phillips said that Watt reminds him of Phil Hansen, whom he coached in Buffalo from 1995-2000. Hansen was an 11-year starter for the Bills (1991-2001) and had 61.5 career sacks.
"(Watt has) that same kind of size, movement and temperament," Phillips said. "And if he plays anywhere close to Phil Hansen, that'd be great for us. But I think the kid's very talented athletically. He ran a 4.81 (40-yard dash), I believe, at 295 pounds.
"I think he's just a really good football player. He led their team in sacks, caused fumbles, hurries and blocked kicks. He was second on their team in tackles and he was second on their team in passes defensed. Now, passes defensed for a defensive lineman and tackles for a defensive lineman at that position are rare to be in that category. This guy makes a lot of plays."
In 26 games at strongside defensive end at Wisconsin, all starts, Watt had 106 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 36.5 tackles for loss and 28 quarterback pressures.
"It's a great day to be a Texan," Watt said via conference call from Radio City Music Hall in New York. "I can't wait to get down to Houston to get to work."
A native of Pewaukee, Wisc., Watt said that his biggest strength is his work ethic. That's also one of the things that Phillips was most impressed with about him.
"I think I got that from my parents and from my coaches growing up," Watt said. "The one thing my parents always told me is if you're going to do something, do it a hundred percent. That's what I try to do on the football field because I feel like I'd be disrespecting the game if I didn't go 100 percent all the time. That's what the Texans are going to get, a guy who comes to work every single day, and I'm going to give it everything I've got."
According to Phillips, Watt could play defensive end on first and second down and move inside to tackle in passing situations. Phillips also said there's a possibility that Pro Bowl defensive end Mario Williams could play outside linebacker.
"I think it gives us a lot of versatility with Mario now," Phillips said. "(Watt) can play the left end for you, and that gives us some versatility at what you want to do with Mario. I think that's a big key point for us also."
Watt said he's more than happy to move inside in certain situations.
"I feel very comfortable playing anywhere along the defensive line," he said. "The goal is to sack Peyton Manning is what everybody around here has been saying. So, that's my job."