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2024 NFL Draft

Steelers Sign DB Ryan Watts to Rookie Contract

The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed sixth-round pick Ryan Watts to his rookie contract, the team announced on Saturday.



Pittsburgh Steelers CB Ryan Watts

The Pittsburgh Steelers officially agreed to terms with defensive back Ryan Watts on a rookie contract, according to the team.

The Steelers drafted Watts with the 195th overall pick and in the sixth round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Surprisingly, Watts is the first Longhorn that the Steelers drafted since the 2011 NFL Draft. Coincidentally, that player was a defensive back as well.

While the exact details of Watts’ contract are not available yet, Over The Cap estimated that the four-year deal in that slot would be worth around $4.2 million with a signing bonus that is in the range of $182,680. Watts’ projected cap hit for the 2024 season is $840,671.

Watts started his collegiate career at the Ohio State University before entering the transfer portal and heading down south to Texas. In his two seasons as a Buckeye, Watts picked off three passes while tallying 11 tackles.

As a Longhorn, Watts started 23 of his 24 appearances and was named as an honorable mention All-Big 12 in 2022. In his 24 career games at Texas, Watts racked up 89 tackles, five tackles for loss, a sack, six passes defended and one interception.

Ryan Watts worked out at multiple positions at the Shrine Bowl including outside cornerback, slot cornerback, and safety. He could work at single-high in some packages on the Steelers defense, but with his versatility and his natural athleticism he will definitely be a special teams guy.

Given the state of the Steelers cornerback room, Watts could be one of the candidates to be the Steelers slot cornerback but as a late-round guy, it is more likely than not that he only gets regular reps on the special teams unit.

With his length and physical tools under the new special teams rules, Watts can become an “ace” on special teams. Down the road, Watts can fill into a similar role to what Miles Killebrew plays in currently.

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