Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt was ranked No. 6 on the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2022 list, which was voted on by the players. Watt was ninth on the top 100 list last year.
“T.J. is a game changer and a game wrecker,” Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick said in the video for Watt’s ranking. “He’s passionate about what he does, he brings an energy to this team. You know, he fires guys up before the game. During the game, he’s making plays and getting everyone hype. He’s a guy that can smash the run. He’s a guy that can blow up a quarterback and make a force fumble. He’s a dude I love playing with, and hopefully we can continue to play together for a long time.”
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady was ranked No. 1., marking the fourth time in his career that he was named the league’s top player. The four other players ranked ahead of Watt on the list were Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who was ranked second.
Watt had a historic season in 2021, as he tied Michael Strahan’s NFL single-season record with 22.5 sacks and was named Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year. It was the first time in Watt’s career that he received the prestigious award. Watt also made the Pro Bowl for the fourth straight year and was named first-team All-Pro for the third consecutive season.
Along with leading the league in sacks in back-to-back years, Watt also obliterated James Harrison’s single-season franchise record of 16 sacks, which was set in 2008.
Watt even joined Hall of Famer Reggie White in two statistical categories in 2021. Watt and White are the only two players in NFL history to have 20+ sacks in 14 or fewer games since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. Watt also joined White and his brother, J.J. Watt, as the only players since 1982 to have 70+ sacks in their first five seasons in the NFL. Watt has 72 sacks in 77 career games.
Cam Heyward, who ranked 42nd, was the only other Steelers player to make the top 100 list. Heyward was 57th on the list last year.