T.J. Watt is no longer the best defensive player in the NFL
Let me start by saying that I love T.J. Watt. I interviewed the former Defensive Player of the Year in 2022 and he's everything you want from a player and a leader on the Pittsburgh Steelers. While Watt is still remarkably productive, his reign as the best defensive player in the NFL may have come to an end.
I try to take time to watch every game of every NFL team. When I do this, it's clear to see that Watt doesn't have the same juice as a pass rusher as guys like Micah Parsons and Myles Garrett. As a result, he doesn't beat his man to win the pass-rush rep at as high of a rate as the top pass rushers in the league.
Don't get this confused with his value to the team. Watt is still one of the most valuable non-quarterbacks to his respective team as anyone in the league, and the defense is simply different when he's on the field. However, Watt no longer has freaky traits on film and he's not quite the same game-wrecker that he used to be.
This doesn't mean that he's not deserving of Pro Bowl or even All-Pro honors. It just means that it's becoming a bit harder to label him as the best defensive player in the NFL -- especially when there are several other stars around the league who are having career years. Watt is going to be a Hall of Famer someday, but he's not in a tier of his own atop the best defensive players in the NFL.