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Steelers OLB T.J. Watt Loses Top Edge Rusher Ranking



Steelers OLB T.J. Watt

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt has fallen from his spot as the NFL’s best edge rusher, according to Pro Football Focus.

PFF ranked Watt as the No. 1 edge rusher in advance of the 2022 NFL season, coming off his NFL Defensive Player of the Year award win in the 2021 season. But a year of multiple injuries has cost Watt his top spot.

Watt played in just 10 games in 2022, missing seven with a torn pectoral muscle. He also had his knee scope and dealt with a rib injury after his return, limiting his production to just 5.5 sacks on the season.

That caused PFF to move Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett into the top spot. In fact, Garrett, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons and San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa all passed Watt, who fell to fourth.

“Garrett takes the top spot due to his consistent elite play,”  wrote PFF’s Trevor Sikkema. “This past season was Garrett’s fifth straight season where he earned an 89.5-plus overall grade with double-digit sacks, keeping his pass rush win percentage above 22% in three of them.

Watt got moved down mostly due to his injury, and could certainly reclaim the top spot — and his NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors — with another strong season.

Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby and Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa rounded out the top tier.

Watt’s running mate on the opposite side is also among the rankings, with Alex Highsmith checking in at No. 32. With Watt out, Highsmith posted a career-high 14.5 sacks in 2022. The Steelers were one of a half-dozen teams to have two players ranked in the top 32.

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