T.J. Watt has been arguably the best defensive player in the league this season. Here’s why the Steelers dynamic pass rusher should be the Defensive Player of the Year.
The Steelers defense has been firing on all cylinders this season. While several talented players are contributing to their success, none has done so more than Pittsburgh’s outstanding edge defender, T.J. Watt.
After a breakout season in 2018 that consisted of 13.0 sacks, 11 tackles for a loss, 21 quarterback hits, and 6 forced fumbles to go with his 68 total tackles, many thought that Watt might hit a plateau on his production. However, his numbers in year three have been utterly outstanding.
In fact, Watt is no longer just a far-fetched candidate for the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2019, he is quickly becoming a front-runner. And why shouldn’t he be?
Watt has been perhaps the most consistent defensive player in all of football this season, as he continually harasses opposing quarterbacks with an incredibly rare combination of speed, power, and hand usage off the edge to go with his relentless motor.
Remarkably, T.J. Watt is also the first defender in Steelers history to record multiple seasons of at least 13.0 sacks:
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 16, 2019
This is something players like James Harrison, Joey Porter, and Kevin Greene couldn’t even accomplish during their time with the Steelers. However, at just 25-years old, Watt has a chance to expand on this record and make it untouchable in the future.
But sacks aren’t the only thing that makes T.J. Watt a prime candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. In addition to getting after the quarterback as well as anyone in the league, Watt is also a terrific run defender. He is as good as anyone at stacking and shedding blockers, and he makes his living in the backfield.
Watt also provides fantastic versatility to line up all over the formation, and his 2 interceptions on limited coverage snaps this season are proof that he can do it all.
I wrote an article earlier this year about how I believe that Watt is a rare breed of player who could have been an NFL tight end if he wasn’t asked to move to defense at Wisconsin. The sky is the limit to what he is capable of.
Steelers fans will have to wait until after the new year to find out who will be the recipient of the Defensive Player of the Year award. While Aaron Donald and Stephon Gilmore are both strong candidates having excellent seasons, I truly believe that T.J. Watt is deserving of this honor.