Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt is the best edge rusher in the NFL. That’s according to Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports HQ, who has Watt atop his ranking of the NFL’s top Edge pass rushers.
“T.J. Watt may have surpassed brother J.J. as the best NFL player in the family,” Wilson writes. “The 30th overall pick in 2017, Watt has gotten better each season, improving his sack totals from 7.0 to 13.0 to 14.5 last season, when he also forced a career-best eight fumbles.”
Wilson has T.J. Watt ahead of No. 2 ranked Myles Garrett (Cleveland Browns), as well as Chandler Jones (Arizona Cardinals), Cam Jordan (New Orleans Saints) and Joey Bosa (Los Angeles Chargers), who round out the top five.
As for those players at #’s 6-10, that would be Shaquil Barrett (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Danielle Hunter (Minnesota Vikings), Za’Darius Smith (Green Bay Packers), Khalil Mack (Chicago Bears) and Nick Bosa (San Francisco 49ers).
Cameron Heyward No. 7 on Top D-Line List
Meanwhile, Wilson also has Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward on his list of the top 10 defensive linemen in the NFL [see link above], saying Heyward has “consistently been one of the best 3-4 defensive ends during his eight seasons. He’s logged 29 sacks the last three seasons, including nine in ’19.”
It’s also worth noting that former Steelers defensive tackle Javon Hargrave is No. 10 on Wilson’s list. Hargrave hasn’t received a lot of publicity to date, but “there’s a reason the Eagles gave Hargrave a three-year $39 million deal this offseason,” writes Wilson. “His low center of gravity coupled with an explosive first step makes him incredibly difficult to block and he has 10.5 sacks the last two seasons.” Wilson argues that Hargrave’s stats could improve playing alongside Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson in Philadelphia, ostensibly because he could see more snaps playing for the Eagles.
As for T.J. Watt’s brother J.J., he’s No. 9 on Wilson’s ranking of NFL defensive linemen, reminding us that J.J. generated 16 sacks in 16 games in 2018, and “is looking to recapture the form that made him one of the most formidable defensive players in the league” before injuries robbed began robbing him of playing time.
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T.J. Watt and Cam Heyward Both Top 50 in the NFL
Cam Heyward’s continued strong performance makes him one of the Steelers’ Top 5 Unrestricted Free Agents entering 2021. In fact, Heyward is probably the team’s top priority when it comes to a contract extension, but it won’t be easy to get a deal done anytime soon, especially with many NFL revenue streams in doubt for the forseeable future.
And Cam Heyward—along with T.J. Watt—is still considered one of the Top 50 Players in the NFL.
It has been estimated that the Steelers will lose $156 million this year if NFL games are played without fans in 2020.
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