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CBS Sports Ranks T.J. Watt Over Myles Garrett as League’s Best Edge Rusher: ‘It’s Not Even Particularly Close’

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Steelers OLB T.J. Watt

In CBS Sports’ recent installment of the top 20 players at each position in the NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt was tabbed as the league’s best edge rusher. Watt edged out Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns. If this was a Pro Football Focus ranking, Garrett would have came in at No. 1 (I kid, no really).

“Myles Garrett has technically been steadier over the last half decade, if only because an injury limited Watt to 10 games in 2022. In every other way, though, No. 90 on the Steelers has been the standard-setter for edge rushing, and it’s not even particularly close,” Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports wrote. “Clearing 13 sacks in each of his last five healthy seasons, with close to 30 forced fumbles and 200 quarterback hits in his vaunted career, the six-time Pro Bowler is the heart of Pittsburgh’s old-school program, pairing elite get-off with jarring physicality. If he’s on the field, Watt is easily the most feared player at his position.”

Watt has led the NFL in sacks in 2020, 2021 and 2023. In 2021, he tied the all-time single-season sack records, drawing even with Michael Strahan’s mark of 22.5. He is the first player to win the NFL sack title three times since it became an official stat. Deacon Jones of the Los Angeles Rams unofficially led the league in sacks five times the 1960s.

Pittsburgh Steelers OLB T.J. Watt

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 23, 2023. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Watt put up better numbers in almost every major statistical category than Garrett in 2023, but the Browns star pass rusher was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year over him. Pro Football Focus’ hyper focus on Garrett’s pass-rush win rate probably played a role in Garrett winning the award. Peter King even revealed that he voted for Garrett because of his pass-rush win rate.

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.

Watt is heading into his eighth season and will turn 30 on Oct. 11. He knows that he doesn’t have forever to play, so winning in the playoffs is something that he covets, especially a Super Bowl. Watt has never won a playoff game.

“For me, it is all about no playoff wins,” Watt told Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. “I am trying to do anything I can do. We have so much turnover year to year and so many new guys that it is trying to learn as much as possible coming from guys from other organizations that have done it and won championships since being in the league.

“I am going to do whatever is possible to win. It is about not taking any day for granted, and when it comes down to executing and working, putting everything aside and getting it done.”