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Aaron Donald Thinks T.J. Watt Got Snubbed for DPOY a Couple of Times



Pittsburgh Steelers T.J. Watt

Former Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle and three-time NFL Defensive Play of the Year, Aaron Donald, made sure to give T.J. Watt his flowers in his retirement video. Donald thinks the All-Pro Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker is one of the league’s best and most consistent players.

“I would say T.J. Watt. He’s another guy that’s consistently been doing it, every single year,” Donald told his wife Erica. “He’s a guy that’s gonna consistently get 15 sacks for you, 20 TFLs. Probably two interceptions, maybe a touchdown for sure.”

Donald also mentioned that Watt has been snubbed for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award a few times. Watt finished second to Donald’s in DPOY voting in 2020, but Donald didn’t claim that he wasn’t deserving of the award over Watt that year. He probably was referring to 2019 and especially this past season when Myles Garrett won DPOY over Watt.

“I felt like he should have won a couple more Defensive Player (of the Year Awards), he kind of got snubbed a couple times, I ain’t gonna lie,” he said.

Watt put up better numbers in almost every major statistical category than Garrett in 2023. The Browns star pass rusher edged Watt out in Pro Football Focus’ overall grading and pass rush win rate metric, however. Some voters like Peter King hold that in high regard, hence why he voted for him.

Watt had 68 tackles, compared to Garrett’s 42. Watt had 19 tackles for loss compared to Garrett’s 17. Watt had 36 quarterback hits compare to 30 for Garrett. Each had four forced fumbles, but Watt had three recoveries compared to Garrett’s one. Watt also returned one of those fumbles for the only defensive touchdown of the season between the two players, which happened to be the game-sealing play in the Week 2 game between the Steelers and Browns at Acrisure Stadium.

The Steelers’ defensive captain had 19 sacks this season and set a modern NFL record as the first player to lead the league in sacks for a third time since it became an official statistic back in 1982. Deacon Jones of the Los Angeles Rams unofficially led the league in sacks five times in the 1960s.

Aaron Donald thinks Watt’s consistency sets him a part from other talented pass rushers.

“I’m big on you gotta show me more than one or two years,” he said. “[Watt] consistently dominates year in and year out, so that’s a guy I felt like, if anybody, they need to be chasing him. … He’s that guy right now, I think.”