When discussing the NFL’s premier pass-rushers heading into 2023, names like Nick Bosa and Myles Garrett often dominate the conversation. The one name that has been regrettably overlooked this offseason is T.J. Watt. Despite an injury setback in 2022, Watt’s exceptional skills, relentless work ethic, and undeniable impact make him a true force to be reckoned with in the 2023 season.
Prior to his injury in 2022, T.J. Watt had already established himself as THE premier pass-rusher in the league. In 2021, he recorded a remarkable 22.5 sacks, leading the NFL and tying the all-time single-season record. Watt’s ability to generate consistent pressure, disrupt plays, and create turnovers made him a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks and offensive lines. His relentless pursuit, technical prowess, and sheer strength allowed him to excel in both stopping the run and rushing the passer.
The injury setback in 2022 showed just how valuable he was to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ success, with the team going 1-6 in the games he missed. It took a couple games after his return, but as the 2nd half of the season progressed, Watt was well on his way to regaining his elite form. Teams still game-planned to limit his impact above all else, and that allowed other players like Alex Highsmith to feast on the opposite side.
T.J. Watt possesses a versatile skill set that sets him apart from his peers. His exceptional speed and explosiveness off the snap often catch offensive linemen off guard, leaving them scrambling to keep up. Watt’s ability to convert speed to power, combined with his expert hand usage and relentless pursuit, consistently disrupts opposing offensive game plans. His instincts, anticipation, and football IQ allow him to diagnose plays quickly and make decisive, impactful plays in crucial moments.
While statistics alone may not do justice to Watt’s impact on the field, they undoubtedly speak volumes. His numbers consistently rank among the league’s best, but it is his ability to elevate the performance of the entire defense that truly sets him apart. As I mentioned before, Watt’s presence alone forces offenses to dedicate extra resources to contain him, opening up opportunities for his teammates to make plays. His leadership, work ethic, and unwavering dedication to his craft make him an invaluable asset to any team, transforming their defense into a fearsome unit.
Heading into the 2023 NFL season, its time T.J. Watt receives the recognition he deserves as the league’s best pass-rusher. His dominance before the injury, unmatched skill set, and impact beyond statistics all solidify his place among the elite. As Watt continues to wreak havoc on opposing offenses, his name will rightfully re-ascend to the pinnacle of pass-rushing greatness.