Why Do Local Media & Packers Fans Care About TJ Watt?
Kevin King is a great Green Bay Packers player when he’s on the field. The last part is a key word. King hasn’t stayed healthy through his career. In fact, he will not be playing likely tonight against Minnesota. But King will always be paired with Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt. Why? Well, Pittsburgh drafted Watt the pick after the spot that was supposed to be for Green Bay until they traded out on the first round. This drew ire from Packers fans at the time as most of them are Badgers fans where Watt played as well as his two brothers. Fans and the local media have not forgotten about this move. Packersnews.com Pete Dougherty’s Sunday piece featured how it’s official that we can say the Packers were wrong about King. It’s hard to fathom why people still care about this years later.
The last name ‘Watt’ carries a ton of weight in Wisconsin. They’re the first family of Wisconsin football. T.J., Derek and J.J. are all in the NFL. Obviously, J.J. Watt is one of the best defensive players in football. T.J. isn’t there yet, but he’s been a dominant pass rusher for the first two years of his career. Any time T.J. Watt does anything on the field, Twitter lights up with remorseful Packers fan. It’s a bit ridiculous because King is good in his own right, and T.J. is a one dimensional player yet so many people wish he wore Green and Gold instead of Black and Yellow.
Another part of this conversation is where Watt went to school, Wisconsin. Some people believe Wisconsin is a feeder program for the Packers. It’s fucking ridiculous how many people think the Packers should immediately draft Badgers players. The reasoning is usually due to these people only watching Wisconsin football, and maybe the occasional Big Ten game. Additionally, they want to cheer on guys on the Packers that they did in college. That’s a easy player to root for and why there was so much love for Jared Abbrederis even when he was a marginal receiver. Want to be mad at the Packers for not taking a Badger? Be mad they didn’t take Ryan Ramczyk, the offensive lineman that New Orleans drafted at 32. Ramczyk is one of the best lineman in football and would be a significant upgrade over Bryan Bulaga.
There are other players to poke holes in versus Watt for the Packers. Look at round two where it’s more egregious than what happened with King vs. Watt. Packers drafted Josh Jones who hasn’t played to his draft pick early on in his career. The pick after him? JuJu Smith-Schuster. A few picks after him? Alvin Kamara. Another great player in these 10 picks were Larry Ogunjobi, one of the most underrated defensive linemen in football. Dougherty reviews the whole draft but fails to mentioned this about Jones.
The last part about this might make people uncomfortable, but Watt’s skin tone matters to people. Not to media likely, but the fans, it’s a thing. Watt would be seen in such high regard and yes, his skin color matters to people. Fans would rather cheer for a Wisconsin native with a clean cut look than King, the Bay Area native 100 times over 100. Packers fans love to rally behind caucasian players more than African-American players and yearn for them to play more. Look no further than people ejaculating all over themselves for Jeff Janis if you need an example of this or how people were ready to write off Davante Adams after one season.
Packers might have a made mistake with King over Watt, but their careers are just getting started in the NFL.