Chargers take J.J. Watt’s brother, Derek, in 6th round
SAN DIEGO (AP) — J.J. Watt and Melvin Gordon had the same message to Derek Watt: Welcome to the NFL, bro.
The San Diego Chargers used a sixth-round pick to select Derek Watt, the Wisconsin fullback who is J.J.’s younger brother and Gordon’s former blocker with the Badgers.
Derek Watt will be reunited with Gordon, who is eager to forget the disappointment of his rookie season with the Chargers.
"Could not be happier or more proud bro!!! Incredible!!! I’m definitely coming to visit!!!" J.J. Watt tweeted to Derek.
"I think we were all equally excited," Derek Watt said in a conference call with San Diego reporters. "I mean, he called me and was extremely happy. It was amazing. My whole family was proud. I had a couple of friends over, and my high school coach and it was a great day."
Gordon tweeted to Derek Watt: "glad to have you back bro (hash)BoltUp (hash)Congrats"
Watt said Gordon was texting him before and after the pick.
"He was hoping they could get me there," Watt said. "He was extremely happy and looking forward to me being back out there with him. … He’s definitely an extremely talented guy. He’s got a year under his belt now so I think that definitely helps him out. I’m going to go out there and try to help him do everything I can. We’re going to pick up right where we left off, I think."
After starring at Wisconsin, Gordon’s rookie season was a disappointment, in part because of the underperforming line. He failed to score a touchdown and didn’t have any 100-yard games. He missed the final two games with a knee injury, finishing with 641 yards on 184 carries — an average of 3.5 yards — and 192 yards on 33 catches.
During his final season at Wisconsin, Gordon rushed for 2,587 yards and 29 touchdowns.
Derek Watt said he had great chemistry with Gordon at Wisconsin.
"We talk about it. We’ve got that. We already know how each other kind of thinks and what each other sees. We’ve been in the same meetings, we’ve been involved in the same plays and we communicate what we see on the field to each other. He’ll tell me if he thinks I should have done something differently or if he saw something other than what I saw, and I’ll do the same. I’ll tell him, `Hey, I thought you could have done this or that.’
"It’ll be great to get back with him and the other running backs as well and learn from them. They’ve obviously got more experience than me at this point. I’m going to go in with open eyes and open ears and just try to take in as much as possible."
Some people felt Gordon could have benefited from running behind a fullback last year.
"In the brief talk we’ve had about this, and this can change, but they want a fullback on the roster, a true fullback," said Watt, who also knows he’ll have to make an impression on special teams.
"It’s everybody blocking better. It’s not just a guy in front of him," coach Mike McCoy said. "You could very easily argue, `Eliminate that guy and he should be able to see better.’ 3eIt’s a matter of everybody doing their jobs better, and I’ll say, committing to the run more. Running the ball more. And I’ll say this as a former playcaller, we’ve got to have more consistency of positive plays."
The Chargers were the second-worst rushing team last year in the NFL, averaging only 84.9 yards per game. They were the worst at yards per carry, 3.5.
If Derek Watt makes the team, he’ll face off against his older brother, a three-time Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year, when the Chargers visit the Houston Texans on Nov. 27.
Who will lay out whom first?
"We’re both going to try to do just that. We’ll see. It might be a stalemate. We might just knock each other out," Derek Watt said.
The Chargers also drafted Ohio State linebacker Joshua Perry in the fourth round, Akron outside linebacker Jatavis Brown in the fifth round, Texas A&M punter Drew Kaser in the sixth and Michigan State guard Donavon Clark in the seventh.
General manager Tom Telesco said that before picking Kaser, he called veteran punter Mike Scifres and told him he’ll be released. Scifres has been with the Chargers since 2003.
Perry is the second former Buckeyes player taken by the Chargers, who picked defensive end Joey Bosa with the third selection overall on Thursday night.
Perry has played both inside and outside linebacker.
He is expected to add depth to a unit that was ranked only 20th overall in the NFL and 27th against the run.
The Chargers finished 4-12 last year and winless in the AFC West.
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