Former Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt was selected 11th overall by the Houston Texans in the 2011 NFL Draft Thursday night. At 11, Watt was the highest drafted Badger since Joe Thomas went to the Cleveland Browns third overall in the 2007 draft.
""It's a great day to be a Texan,"" Watt said. ""I can't wait to get down to Houston and start getting to work.""
Offensive lineman Gabe Carimi joined Watt as a first-round Badger selection, when the Chicago Bears took the 2010 Outland Trophy winner 29th overall.
Watt, a second-team All American in 2010, accumulated 106 total tackles in two seasons with the Badgers, including 36.5 tackles for a loss. The Pewaukee, Wis., native, who left Wisconsin early for the draft after his junior season, picked up 11.5 sacks the past two years as well.
Carimi, a Cottage Grove, Wis., native, was named Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year last season while leading a Wisconsin line that blocked the way for three 1,000-yard rushers in 2010.
Former Wisconsin tight end Lance Kendricks is expected to go in the second round Friday, while guard John Moffitt has been projected as a late second/ early third-round selection. Experts predict former Badger quarterback Scott Tolzien will be taken in the sixth or seventh round.