T.J. Watt: I'd love to play for Packers, will bust my butt for any team

For T.J. Watt, his Wednesday pro day will mark the end of an era.

When the linebacker prospect takes the field for his workout, it will be the last time a member of the Brothers Watt represents the Badgers football program before ascending to the professional ranks. But it will also be the final communal gathering for a unique group of Badgers, one that has seen major overhaul in Madison.

Through three coaches (Gary Andersen, Barry Alvarez, Paul Chryst) and two defensive coordinators (Dave Aranda, Justin Wilcox), Watt and his teammates managed to win three straight bowl games and record three straight 10-plus-win seasons, only the second-such stretch in Wisconsin football history.

But surrounded by other gridiron powerhouses in the Big Ten, Watt feels like his school's accomplishments have gone unrecognized, and the linebacker is taking it upon himself, in this step and the next, to undo that slight.

"It's such an honor to be able to showcase our talents with Wisconsin as our background and to show people that Wisconsin can put out really, really good athletes," Watt said. "I feel like Wisconsin is often overlooked as a university and as a football school and I feel like we produce really good athletes and really good football players. I think that it's awesome that we'll be able to be able to showcase our talents."

Watt showcased his talents for scouts earlier this month at the NFL Scouting Combine, recording impressive results in just about every drill, including the 40-yard dash. Watt was pleased with his 4.69-second scamper in the combine's marquee event, so he won't run the 40 at his pro day.

Instead, he'll focus on position drills in his workout.

"From what I've heard, I'm going to be put through a bunch of different type of drops (at the pro day)," Watt said. "They want to see me backpedal. They want to see me work in space to make sure that I can play off the ball, on the ball, whatever they want me to do."

Watt is preparing for the pro day by working out with his older brothers, J.J. and Derek, at NX Level in Waukesha, Wis., and frequenting J.J.'s log cabin in the "middle of nowhere."

As for rumblings that a certain Wisconsin franchise is the presumptive favorite to land Watt in the draft, the Badger State native isn't biting on any of them.

"I'm not zoning in on one team or picking the Packers at all. I'm open to all 32 teams, whoever wants to take me," Watt said. "Whoever is willing to take a chance and select me, I'm going to be more than grateful to go there and bust my butt for that organization.

"Obviously, I'd love to play for the Packers, but I'd love to play for the other 31 teams as well. I didn't zone in on one team and botch all the other interviews to make sure I'm a Green Bay Packer. That's not the case at all."

For T.J., this week is more about focusing on where he is than where he's going, and in this moment, his place is in Madison with his Wisconsin teammates.

"We had a great run this past year and the past couple years at Wisconsin," Watt said. "Seeing the development over the past four, five years is incredible to watch and to see guys come into campus when I did and now we're here preparing for the NFL draft, it's really surreal. And I can't wait to see them work out."

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