As J.J. Watt strolls down the walkway to Houston here in an about an hour or so, Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has an idea of who he wants Watt to emulate: ex-Bills defensive end Phil Hansen, who started on the Buffalo Super Bowl teams that he coordinated. At a news conference last night, Phillips went over how he thinks the two stack up:
He reminds me a lot of Phil Hansen, who I had at Buffalo for a while, that same kind of size, movement and temperament. If he plays anywhere close to Phil Hansen, that'd be great for us. I think the kid is very talented athletically. He ran a 4.81, I believe, at 290 pounds. They worked him out as an outside backer and he actually didn't look bad at 290 pounds as an outside backer. He's really a defensive lineman and at 6'5½", 34 reps, he's strong and we think he can come in and help our defensive line and play really well in our area.
Hansen was never a Pro Bowl threat, but he gave the Bills many strong seasons and contributed as both a run stopper and a pass rusher in the 3-4, so the comparison definitely helps both critics and supporters of the pick. Supporters can point to Hansen's long-term value as a key member of Super Bowl defenses, and critics can look at how he was never really an elite player that changed the game.