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Steelers Rookie Ryan Watts is Already Learning From Joey Porter Jr.

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Pittsburgh Steelers CB Ryan Watts
Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ryan Watts at rookie minicamp on May 23, 2024 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers’ sixth-round selection Ryan Watts confirmed at OTAs last week that he”s been getting reps at multiple positions on defense. Watts could be a Swiss Army Knife on the Steelers’ defense.

“Oh yeah, they really want me to try everywhere and see where they can put me in versatility wise,” Watt said. “Just being flexible (at) every position. So maybe a couple weeks I’ll be at safety and then another week I’ll be at corner. So just really rotating everywhere, for real, getting reps at every spot.”

Watts played some box safety at OTAs. It’s something that he’s done before in the past, but in a limited capacity.

“Today I was playing safety. Just coming down (and) fitting,” Watts said. “I didn’t do it in Texas, but I did it at Ohio State for about a month and I did it in high school, too.”

Watts said communication is the biggest difference from playing safety to cornerback. But even at Texas, Watts was a vocal leader.

“Just really being more vocal and just knowing what you’re doing,” he said on the difference from playing safety to corner. “But I feel like even at college at corner, the safeties really never had to tell me anything. I was always making checks from corner, so it’s really something I already had a knack for. (Just) doing it at a different spot, so I feel like it’s natural.”

Pittsburgh Steelers CB Ryan Watts

Ryan Watts, Texas Athletics

Watts stands at 6-foot-3, 208 pounds. That’s an unusual frame for a slot corner, but it’s something that he feels like he can do if asked. He wasn’t a true slot corner at Ohio State, but more of an overhang safety.

“Shoot, I played slot at Ohio State when I was guarding Garrett Wilson in practices,” Watts said. “I had learning curves then and I have it in the sense where I learned from that and I know what to expect, so I don’t have to jump over that curve. And then from playing corner, I guarded some of the best at Ohio State and then at Texas, too, guarding Xavier Mitchell and A.D. Mitchell.”

Watts has already received pointers from Steelers Joey Porter Jr. on how to take his game to the next level.

“Just watching more of Joey Porter’s tape and seeing what I did last year, and I automatically got a sense of where my technique was wrong,” Watts said. “(I got) ahead of the curve from learning that technique because I feel a lot of times we give (wide receivers) ground. That caused a lot of reasons why I might have lost a rep or being a step behind. Just being more firm on my press. I’m already learning that Joey Porter.”

Nick Farabaugh contributed reporting from Pittsburgh.

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Edward Carmichael
Edward Carmichael
June 4, 2024 9:55 am

as a true Steelers fan, if CB/S Ryan Watts can play position in the secondary that would be a plus and can cause a problem for offenses