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Steelers OLBs Coach Would Take T.J. Watt Over Myles Garrett Any Day

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Steelers OLB T.J. Watt

PITTSBURGH — T.J. Watt and Myles Garrett are both on track to be in Canton someday. They’re without a doubt generational talents.

Watt and Garrett each have an NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. However, Garrett’s DPOY award last season could be disputed. 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, though.

The Watt-Garrett debate has run rampant on social media between the Steelers and Browns’ fanbases. PFF has also received flak for pushing the pass rush win rate metric, which has some glaring flaws.

Steelers outside linebackers coach Denzel Martin doesn’t pay attention to the outside noise. He knows he has the best edge rusher in the world.

“Well, you know, I don’t work for the Browns’ side. I wouldn’t really know their aspect of it. I’ll just tell you that I’ll take my guy,” Martin said of Watt at minicamp. “That’s just what I’m gonna say. The work he puts in and the things he does for me gives me confidence. I don’t really get into that argument, that battle, because I got the guy and I think he’s the best in the world. So that’s where I stand on that argument.”

“That’s right, they don’t work here, though,” Martin added when asked about PFF knocking Watt for his pass-rush win rate. “I don’t gotta answer to PFF.”

 

Pittsburgh Steelers OLB T.J. Watt

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt at the team’s OTAs session, May 21, 2024 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

In PFF’s annual position rankings for edge rushers, they ranked Garrett as the No. 1 edge rusher in the NFL. T.J. Watt came in at No. 4, behind Nick Bosa and Micah Parsons.

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.

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.

Nick Farabaugh contributed reporting from Pittsburgh.