J.J. Watt is a freak show. His arms are as thick as mature tree trunks, and his wingspan is that of a small plane. Watt is dominating the entire league so far this season, earning well-deserved MVP discussion in this young season.

As impressive as Watt has been, this outcome wasn't always apparent to NFL teams. When he was drafted in 2011, Watt actually went as the No. 11 overall pick. While that draft was actually pretty strong up top, it's hard to imagine most teams passing over Watt if they had the shot now. Here's a look at the 10 players who were drafted ahead of the Texans star.

The 10 Players Drafted Before J.J. Watt In 2011

1. CAM NEWTON, CAROLINA PANTHERS
 

1. CAM NEWTON, CAROLINA PANTHERS

Few people enjoy the trifecta Newton enjoyed starting in his last season at Auburn. The quarterback won the Heisman Trophy and then led the school to a BCS Championship before the Panthers picked him first overall.

1. CAM NEWTON, CAROLINA PANTHERS
 

1. CAM NEWTON, CAROLINA PANTHERS

Newton may not be as elite a player as Watt, but it's hard to argue with Carolina taking him with the top pick. He's a two-time Pro Bowler who led the Panthers to the second round of the playoffs last year.

2. VON MILLER, DENVER BRONCOS
 

2. VON MILLER, DENVER BRONCOS

Like Newton, Von Miller had a strong track record coming out of college. He was a two-time AP All-American who led the NCAA in sacks in 2009.

2. VON MILLER, DENVER BRONCOS
 

2. VON MILLER, DENVER BRONCOS

Miller actually won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award over Watt in 2011. The one blemish on his resume came in 2013, when he missed the first six games of the NFL season to serve a suspension for allegedly trying to cheat on a drug test. But on the field, Miller has shined, making the Pro Bowl twice.

3. MARCELL DAREUS, BUFFALO BILLS
 

3. MARCELL DAREUS, BUFFALO BILLS

Combining size with surprising speed, Marcell Dareus was a nightmare for anyone facing Alabama's defensive line. The defensive end was a sight to see when picking up a fumble and running it back at an impressive clip.

3. MARCELl DAREUS, BUFFALO BILLS
 

3. MARCELl DAREUS, BUFFALO BILLS

Darueus brought that dominance into the NFL, where he's a star player on an underrated Buffalo defense. Despite having legal troubles involving guns and controlled substances, Dareus was a 2013 Pro Bowl selection.

4. A.J. GREEN, CINCINNATI BENGALS
 

4. A.J. GREEN, CINCINNATI BENGALS

Standing 6-foot-4, Green was a star from day one at Georgia, using his length to dominate the opposition en route to two straight All-SEC team selections.

4. A.J. GREEN, CINCINNATI BENGALS
 

4. A.J. GREEN, CINCINNATI BENGALS

But one could argue Green is even more dominant in the NFL, accumulating 30 touchdowns in his short career while earning three straight Pro Bowl selections.

5. PATRICK PETERSON, ARIZONA CARDINALS
 

5. PATRICK PETERSON, ARIZONA CARDINALS

Peterson's 2010 season at LSU was truly special. As a sparkplug for the Tigers' defensive and special teams units, Peterson was a unanimous All-America choice, as well as winner of the Thorpe Award and Bednarik Award.

5. PATRICK PETERSON, ARIZONA CARDINALS
 

5. PATRICK PETERSON, ARIZONA CARDINALS

In the NFL, little has changed. Peterson still stars regularly on defense and special teams, and he's become one of the most renowned cornerbacks in the league.

6. JULIO JONES, ATLANTA FALCONS
 

6. JULIO JONES, ATLANTA FALCONS

Jones earned acclaim at Alabama as a rare true freshman starter on the team. He developed into one of the team's most reliable stars on a team that won the BCS Championship in 2010.

6. JULIO JONES, ATLANTA FALCONS
 

6. JULIO JONES, ATLANTA FALCONS

Playing opposite receiver Roddy White, Jones has had an exceptional career. In 2012, he made the Pro Bowl thanks to a 1,200-yard, 10-touchdown season.

7. ALDON SMITH, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
 

7. ALDON SMITH, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Aldon Smith was a big contributor at Missouri since he was a freshman, when he won the Big 12 Freshman of the Year award.

7. ALDON SMITH, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
 

7. ALDON SMITH, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Smith started just as quickly in the NFL, setting the 49ers' rookie sack record and winning NFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2012. But after a run-in with TSA at an airport, during which he allegedly became belligerent, Smith was handed a nine-game suspension for this season.

8. JAKE LOCKER, TENNESSEE TITANS
 

8. JAKE LOCKER, TENNESSEE TITANS

Locker was considered an excellent pro prospect in college, where he led Washington while running a pro-style offense and displaying accurate throwing and strong footwork.

8. JAKE LOCKER, TENNESSEE TITANS
 

8. JAKE LOCKER, TENNESSEE TITANS

But Locker's career with Tennessee has been a roller coaster, with flashes of brilliance weighed down by injuries and poor decision-making. Without more consistent play, Locker's time as a starter might be winding down.

9. TYRON SMITH, DALLAS COWBOYS
 

9. TYRON SMITH, DALLAS COWBOYS

At USC, Smith became one of college football's best lineman while protecting Trojan quarterbacks that also went to the NFL.

9. TYRON SMITH, DALLAS COWBOYS
 

9. TYRON SMITH, DALLAS COWBOYS

In Dallas, Smith has evolved into a reliable Pro Bowl lineman. His service is one reason the Cowboys have jumped out to a fast start this season.

10. BLAINE GABBERT, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
 

10. BLAINE GABBERT, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Gabbert was an electric quarterback in college, where he displayed great ground speed to go with a beautiful throwing motion.

10. BLAINE GABBERT, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
 

10. BLAINE GABBERT, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

But Gabbert didn't translate to the NFL game. He struggled with timing and comfort in the pocket and lost his starting job last season. This past NFL draft, the Jaguars selected Blake Bortles to start their QB project anew.

11. J.J. WATT, HOUSTON TEXANS
 

11. J.J. WATT, HOUSTON TEXANS

J.J. Watt was already a monster in college. After two years at Central Michigan, Watt transferred to Wisconsin, where he won the Lott Trophy in 2010.

11. J.J. WATT, HOUSTON TEXANS
 

11. J.J. WATT, HOUSTON TEXANS

But you could make a strong argument that Watt has been even better in the NFL. This year alone, he's scored three touchdowns -- a remarkable feat for a defensive end.

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