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PFF Snubs T.J. Watt, Ranks Myles Garrett No. 1 Edge Rusher

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Pittsburgh Steelers Falcons T.J. Watt

In Pro Football Focus’ annual position rankings for edge rushers, the polarizing analytics outlet ranked Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett as the No. 1 edge rusher in the NFL. T.J. Watt came in at No. 4, behind Nick Bosa and Micah Parsons.

It’s no secret that PFF is enamored with Garrett, so it’s no surprising that he comes in at No. 1. Garrett is certainly a remarkable player, but PFF is hyper focused on his pass-rush win rate.

In the article, Trevor Sikkema of PFF said Garrett was nothing short of sensational in 2023, posting a league-best 94.7 pass-rush grade. His 27.3% pass-rush win rate was one of the highest marks in PFF history. It was the fifth straight season that Garrett recorded an elite pass-rush grade.

Steelers OLB T.J. Watt

Steelers OLB T.J. Watt against the Cincinnati Bengals, Dec. 23, 2023 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Watt led the NFL in sacks in 2023 (19) and placed fourth in pass-rush grade (91.7). Sikkema said Watt’s 16.2% pass-rush win rate is what puts him fourth on this list, but he’s still in Tier 1 for his consistent one-on-one success.

Watt also led the NFL in sacks in 2020 and 2021, when 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.

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.

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.