Derek Watt to join brother T.J. Watt with Steelers after four seasons as Chargers fullback, per report

Two-thirds of the Watt brothers will play for the Steelers in 2020. 

On Tuesday, the Steelers came to terms with former Chargers fullback Derek Watt, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Watt is the younger brother of Texans pass rusher J.J. Watt and Steelers pass rusher T.J. Watt, who is expected to land a new deal with the Steelers this offseason. The youngest Watt can officially sign with the Steelers when the league’s new year opens at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday. 

Like his brothers, Watt attended the University of Wisconsin, averaging 5.0 yards per carry during his senior season. He also spent three seasons in Madison blocking for Melvin Gordon, who later became his teammate with the Chargers.

A sixth round pick in the 2016 draft, Watt helped Gordon become one of the NFL’s best running backs during their four seasons together with the Chargers. After rushing for just 641 yards as a rookie (the season before Watt joined the Chargers), Gordon averaged nearly 1,000 rushing yards per season from 2016-17. Gordon also saw his yards per carry average climb from 3.5 to 4.1 yards with Watt as his teammate.

Watt is also regarded as a formidable blocker in pass protection, as former Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was routinely one of the league’s least sacked quarterbacks during Watt’s time with the franchise. Watt will now be tasked with helping protect another member of the 2004 draft class in Ben Roethlisberger, who is looking to rebound in 2020 after missing 14 games last season with an elbow injury. 

The addition of Watt is likely a response by the front office to Steelers president Art Rooney II’s recent statements about his desire to see an improved Pittsburgh rushing attack. The Steelers have finished 31st and 29th in the NFL in rushing over the past two years. 

With the addition of Watt, the Steelers will now have to make a decision with regard to the team’s current fullback, Roosevelt Nix. A Pro Bowler in 2017, Nix, who helped Le’Veon Bell blossom into arguably the NFL’s best running back, missed most of the 2019 season with a lower body injury. 

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