J.J. Watt has become possibly the most electrifying player in the NFL with a breakout season last year in which he recorded 81 tackles, 20.5 sacks and batted down 16 passes. On February 2, Watt was rightfully named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in just his second year in the league.
Watt was drafted 11th overall in the 2011 draft by the Houston Texans. In his first career game, Watt recorded five solo tackles and recovered a fumble. Watt finished his rookie campaign with 56 tackles, five and a half sacks, two fumble recoveries, four passes defended and a blocked field goal. In his first playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Watt intercepted quarterback Andy Dalton and returned it for his first NFL touchdown.
Ironically, Dalton had beaten Watt’s Wisconsin Badgers the previous year in the 2011 Rose Bowl.
In week 12 of the 2012 season, against the Detroit Lions, Watt broke former teammate Mario Williams’ franchise record for sacks in a single season, and finished the year just two sacks shy of the NFL record.
Watt is a quarterbacks’ worst nightmare: A 6’5″ 295 pound machine who not only possesses the speed and technique to get past the offensive line and disrupt a play, but who also has the ability to bat down passes, which, on more than one occasion, has led to an interception. Watt is regarded as undoubtedly the best defensive end in the NFL right now, and possibly the best stand-alone defensive player in the league.
If Watt can keep up this level of play every year, he will rewrite record books and end up in Canton one day.