T.J. Watt Named 7th-Best Edge Rusher by ESPN
In 2019, Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt pieced together one of the most impressive campaigns by a defensive player in recent memory despite not walking away with NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors. With an already strong start to his career, many view Watt as one of the top pass-rushers in the league.
ESPN's here to say: You're not wrong, but you're still wrong.
Through the offseason, ESPN has conducted a top-ten position ranking list with voters consisting of 50 league executives, coaches, scouts, and players to help determine the voting. The top ten edge rushers were revealed on Monday morning, with Chicago Bears edge rusher Khalil Mack walking away with number one honors.
To find Watt, however, you might have to scroll a little further down the list than initially anticipated, as Watt placed seventh in voting. Jeremy Fowler offered the following on Watt:
"Not many players maximize their abilities quite like Watt, who was wildly productive with 14.5 sacks and a league-leading eight forced fumbles (tied with Jones). If that wasn't enough, Watt won on 27.7% of his pass rushes, tops among this group.
'He does it in every category,' a veteran NFL defensive coach said. 'If he had Josh Allen's athletic ability, he would be No. 1 on this list.'
That's really the only knock on Watt: Some prefer the raw explosion from the players ranked higher. But Watt still got several top-five votes while surprising many along the way."
ESPN also mentions Watt finished as high as fourth on some lists while finishing as low as twelfth on others. Rounding out the top five after Mack is Chandler Jones, Nick Bosa, Von Miller, and Myles Garrett.