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T.J. Watt Finishes Behind Rival On ESPN’s Edge Rusher Rankings

Pittsburgh has one of the best defensive players in football

Is the Pittsburgh Steelers’ T.J. Watt the best edge rusher in the NFL? According to NFL executives, coaches, and scouts, Watt is short of being the best.

The 29-year-old is coming off a 19-sack season in 2023, marking his fifth season of double-digit sack totals. As a result, the edge rusher finished second in the AP Defensive Player of the Year voting with 19 first-place votes — just behind Cleveland Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett.

That was seemingly enough to place Garrett ahead of Watt in the eyes of NFL front-office members.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler polled over 80 voters from around the league to give their top 10 lists at each position. On the edge rusher list, the Steelers‘ top star finished second behind Cleveland’s Garrett.

Watt ranked as high as first by voters and as low as fifth. He climbed two spots after last season after coming in at fourth at the position back in the 2023 offseason after his 2022 campaign was filled with injuries.

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“He can’t be labeled a high-motor guy — he’s just exceptionally hard to block, probably the hardest in the league,” an NFL high-ranking official told Fowler. “He has technique, power, counters, violence, bend. Everything you want.”

Watt finished with the aforementioned 19 sacks, 68 tackles, four forced fumbles, three fumble recovers, one interception, and a touchdown over 17 games last season.

The Steelers’ pass rusher will look to add some more hardware to his 2022 AP Defensive Player of the Year award and four first-team All-Pro seasons when the season kicks off in Week 1 on Sep. 8 against the Atlanta Falcons.

More NFL: How Steelers Can Contend For AFC North (And Super Bowl?) Title In 2024

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Featured image via Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports