The Sportz Nutt Says JJ Watt will be the greatest defensive player of all-time

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It’s been awhile since I’ve done this, but there’s an important reason. I take this column very seriously, as I do like to look down the road and try to predict something before it happens. There’s a reason (one of many) that I’ve been an Arizona Cardinals fan for 24 years, and a Clippers fan for 20 years. There’s a reason why in my AL Only Keeper Baseball league, I’ve been jumping all over Astros and Red Sox players for years. I look to the future and I scout (sometimes too much) and I put my name/reputation on the line. I haven’t seen anyone in sports where I can declare that he/she will be the next big thing. However, after having seen a resurgence in the past few weeks, something clicked and allowed me to say, with confidence, that:

JJ Watt will be the greatest defensive player of all-time.

There. Soak it in. Absorb it. Get mad if you want. Now, hear me out.

Lawrence Taylor and Reggie White are often regarded as the greatest defensive players of all-time. But, in five years, I can say, with confidence, that JJ Watt will be even better.


Let’s first remind everyone of my LeBron vs Jordan argument, where I state that the game is much different today than it was in years past. Nowadays, it is a much more scientific game, where teams can scheme and plan moreso than ever before. With the use of technology and a playbook needing a genius to decipher, it is possible for teams to know exactly what you’re going to do before you even think about it. It truly is incredible. Furthermore, it is a more global game, with more competition than ever before, meaning the current product is more challenging for a player to dominate. Also the game has changed in the sense that it is tailored for the offense to dominate and for the defense to struggle.

All that said, Watt is dominant in the surest sense of the word.

Let’s compare some stats:

Career Sacks after 4 seasons (career totals in parenthesis)

Taylor – 28 (132.5)
White – 70 (198.0)
Watt – 57 (68.5)

To be fair, Lawrence Taylor played outside linebacker, which is a completely different position than on the line like White and Watt. My next stat comparison would have been tackles, but, unfortunately, tackles were not counted as a statistic back when White and Taylor were playing… least on…..readers if you find something, please chime in.

Interceptions after 4 seasons (career totals in parenthesis)

Taylor – 5 (9)
White – 0 (3)
Watt – 1 (1)

To be fair, again, this accounts for the sack differential, in my books, as Taylor plays at a position where interceptions are easier to obtain. I’m not saying that Taylor did it because it was easier, but rather, he had more opportunities. I’m taking nothing away from him…..9 career picks were amazing.

Fumbles recovered after 4 seasons (career totals in parenthesis)

Taylor – 4 (11)
White – 5 (20)
Watt – 11 (11)

Unbelievable difference there. he has more fumble recoveries than both White and Taylor combined through four seasons.

Touchdowns after 4 seasons (career totals in parenthesis)

Taylor – 2 (3)
White – 1 (2)
Watt – 5 (5)

The difference here is that Watt caught three passes on offense for scores as well.

Defensive Player of the Year Awards after 4 seasons (career totals in parenthesis)

Taylor – 2 (3)
White – 1 (2)
Watt – 2 (2)

All Watt needs is one more to surpass the greats.

NFL MVP Award after 4 seasons (career totals in parenthesis)

Taylor – 0 (1)
White – 0 (0)
Watt – 0 (0)

US PRESSWIRE Sports Archive

The fact that Taylor won this is outstanding in and of itself, as he is one of two defensive players to win it. Hats off to him…..and Mark Moseley, PK for the Redskins who won it in 1982. WOW!

Now, taking all of those stats and processing them, to me anyways, it looks like Watt has had the better start to his career than either Taylor or White. That being said, both Taylor and White had phenomenal stats while in their prime. Both were an enormous defensive presence on the field. Watt does the same, and will continue to do so. Now, I realize that he has a TON of football left to play in his career. He’s only 26, and ANYTHING can happen. I’m betting that anything will happen, and that Watt will continue to be the greatest defensive player in the game as well as all time.