Steelers superstar edge rusher T.J. Watt has been a perennial NFL Defensive Player of the Year finalist. However, he hasn't been voted the winner of the coveted award yet. Considering the insane number’s the youngest Watt brother has been able to put up over the past few seasons, it’s kind of incredible he hasn't received more votes. But in 2021, T.J. is having his most dominant start to a season in his career, and is currently on a pace to eclipse 20 sacks. Even more impressive, Watt is among the league leaders in all categories despite missing a game and a half with a groin injury and clearly feeling the effects of the injury in the game against the Packers.
Across the NFL things are being set up for Watt to take home his DPOY crown. Myles Garrett is the only player with more sacks (8) in the NFL but 4.5 of those were in one game and he has a lower sack per game average (1.3) than Watt (1.4). Aaron Donald has been a great defender as per usual but his stats are far from elite with just 3.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble in his name, and Cam Heyward has consistently graded out higher on a weekly basis than Donald according to PFF. Finally Trevon Diggs has been an interception machine hauling in more than a pick per game, but he has also given up more than a touchdown per game. Genuinely, no one has made an impact on the defensive side of the field like Trent Jordan Watt has in 2021.
Watt should also get extra recognition for the time he missed, because during that stint the Steelers were a considerably worse football team. Before Watt pulled his groin against the Las Vegas Raiders the Steelers were dominating Derek Carr and company. After he went out, the Raiders offense took off and won them the game, the difference being T.J. Watt. The fact of the matter is the Steelers are so much worse when T.J. isn't on the field. He is a game-changer and his true impact is obvious when he isn't suited up.
Being a Watt brother also means he will be compared to big brother J.J. for the rest of his career. The eldest Watt holding down three DPOY awards of his own will always be something he can hold over his youngest brother. Until T.J. can get one of his own, he will always strive to outdo his older brother, and I'm sure one DPOY award won't be enough. But it is a start.
But what do you think? Will T.J. Watt finally take home a DPOY award here in 2021? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.