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Steelers' T.J. Watt focused, 'smart' about his studies

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In one of the most predictable offseason updates thus far, Steelers rookie first-round pick T.J. Watt appears ahead of the curve, described by the team's official site as "about as focused a rookie as you will ever see."

"You have to be smart about your studies," Watt said, via Steelers.com. "You have to take study breaks, it's just like school. I will go back to the hotel, study my plays, take a break, and do it again. This is my job now. So it's my job to get that playbook down. There's no excuse not having it down."

For a team like the Steelers, that has drafted versatile linebackers in nearly every first round since 2013, it was kismet to see Watt still on the board. But it's worth wondering if Watt will be able to break out in a way none of their rush linebackers have.

With the exception of Ryan Shazier, who was a different kind of linebacker and has thrived in Pittsburgh's 3-4 defense, neither Jarvis Jones nor Bud Dupree had the type of standout season that would turn heads. Dupree has 8.5 sacks over two years while Jones, who recently departed for the Arizona Cardinals in free agency, had six sacks over four seasons.

The ageless James Harrison has obviously played a factor and taken up far more snaps over the last two seasons than anyone expected. In that way, the sack numbers just might be more evenly distributed among the team's rush linebackers.

But Watt, who is coming in at the tail end of Harrison's career in prime position to earn some plum passing down experience, might be better positioned than the last two linebackers to have a truly great individual season.

If the Steelers are right, he will at least be prepared to do so.

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