The first round of the 2017 NFL draft almost had come and gone without any representatives from the University of Wisconsin.
That changed, however, when the Pittsburgh Steelers selected outside linebacker T.J. Watt with the 30th overall selection.
After the San Francisco 49ers traded back into the first round to take Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, another Badger alumnus came off the board, when the New Orleans Saints took offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk with the final pick in the draft’s opening round.
T.J. Watt, younger brother of NFL players J.J. and Derek Watt, will provide a boost off the edge, as well as some youth, for a Steelers team that will need to soon replace 39-year-old James Harrison. In his only season as a starter, Watt logged 11.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss. He also forced two fumbles.
In a down year for the position, Ryan Ramczyk was only one of two offensive linemen selected in the first round. Many viewed Ramczyk as the best offensive tackle in this year’s draft, although Denver took Garett Bolles with the 20th overall selection.
As a position of need for the Saints, they’re hoping Ramczyk can fill the void they have at tackle. Some draft experts view Ramczyk as a bit of a question mark, in terms of experience. He only started one year at the FBS level.
Rounds two and three of the NFL draft will continue Friday night.