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Old 09-26-2012, 11:43 AM    (permalink
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Default JJ Watt: best defensive lineman in NFL?

It's only 3 weeks into the 2012 season, but JJ Watt of the Houston Texans already looks like one of the best, if not *the* best, defensive lineman in the game right now.

He had a stellar rookie year, and this year he seems to have only increased his level of play to an extremely high level.

Is it safe to say that he is one of the top-3 defensive linemen in the game right now? Could he even be the front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year?
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:45 AM    (permalink
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JJ Watt is an animal, but I'd still give slight edges to Haloti Ngata and Justin Smith. Watt is no doubt top three, and could eventually be the best in the league at his position, but I'd still give the edge to those other two guys first.
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:49 AM    (permalink
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JJ Watt is an animal, but I'd still give slight edges to Haloti Ngata and Justin Smith. Watt is no doubt top three, and could eventually be the best in the league at his position, but I'd still give the edge to those other two guys first.
Ngata and Smith are great players but I think in the first three weeks, after watching all three of them, Watt has just played at a higher level than even these guys. He's a supreme force against both the run and the pass.

It's rare that there's a sequence of plays in any Houston game in which Watt isn't either pressuring the quarterback in some way or making a play in the backfield.

Of course, if you're talking about the next 5 years, it's no contest: Watt will be the far superior player over Ngata and Smith in the next 5 years with certainty, barring unexpected injury.
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:57 AM    (permalink
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Are you talking just 3-4 DL?
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:01 PM    (permalink
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I miss having a healthy Aaron Smith. :''''(
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:01 PM    (permalink
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Are you talking just 3-4 DL?
Considering he's only mentioned Smith and Ngata, you'd have to figure so, otherwise JPP, Ware, Peppers and Allen would be mentioned as well.
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:05 PM    (permalink
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Considering he's only mentioned Smith and Ngata, you'd have to figure so, otherwise JPP, Ware, Peppers and Allen would be mentioned as well.
Well the title of the thread doesn't make any mention so I just wanted to double check. I think you could argue through 3 weeks Watt is playing the best of the 3-4 DL. I don't know if that makes him the absolute best yet though.
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:05 PM    (permalink
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Watt is an animal and I am pissed that we got rid of Mario Williams only to have to deal with this new asshole in the AFC South. That said, I think you have to take a balanced look at these types of discussions and weigh past accomplishments with current production.

There is only so much you can really take from the "right now" discussion. Osi Umeniora got 6 sacks in one game, but IMO that was a right place/right time situation. I'm not saying the same about Watt, I'm saying that duration of production is important and using an extreme example to illustrate.

You can make an argument for Justin Smith, Haloti Ngata, Calais Campbell (I apologize to the Cards fan that I argued with, he is elite), maybe several others. And others, like Julius Peppers, Mario Williams, JPP, Suh, Kyle Williams, Jared Allen, etc, will probably make a case for themselves as the year goes on.

So yeah, Watt is playing great. But offenses will scheme more and more against him, and while that will open things up for his teammates, it will lower his production and discernible impact. So overall I would not say he is the best, because that is just too difficult to nail down IMO.
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:15 PM    (permalink
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I'm a huge JJ Watt fan and think he's a phenomenal player but Ngata is playing the best football of his life right now so it would be hard for me to rank him behind anyone.
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:20 PM    (permalink
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It really chaps my ass that JJ Watt has more sacks this year than Tyson Jackson has in his career.
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:35 PM    (permalink
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It really chaps my ass that JJ Watt has more sacks this year than Tyson Jackson has in his career.
I hate to bring a rant to another thread irrelevantly, but after bitching about how recent LSU offensive linemen are disappointments in college and/or the NFl, so are their DL. Marcus spears, marquise hill (rip), Tyson Jackson, Glenn Dorsey, The jury is still out on guys like Nevis and Al woods but woods was pretty disappointing. Who has been good, Booger McFarland? Off on a tangent yes sorry.

JJ Watt is a manimal but I am still taking ngata...for now. He was great as a rookie and yes, this year has been a small sample size, but if he plays like this all year it could be an MVP type season moreso then when Fat Albert got considered in his last year with the tits. He has been an absolute wrecking ball for the texans while playing with a nagging elbow problem.
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:36 PM    (permalink
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I would be a little hesitant at the moment to proclaim him the best, however if I had to pick one defensive lineman to build a team around it would be him due to upside and age.

Justin Smith is probably the top IMO but it's tough to compare different positions and schemes.

As people have mentioned you have JPP, Jared Allen, Peppers etc who are all pass rushing DEs in even fronts.

Watt, Smith and Ngata are all 5 techniques.

Then you have guys like Wilfork, Suh, McCoy, Dareus, Kyle Williams etc along the interior in 4 man fronts.

It's too hard to state which is the best because you are comparing apples to oranges, it's all personal preference
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:44 PM    (permalink
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I hate to bring a rant to another thread irrelevantly, but after bitching about how recent LSU offensive linemen are disappointments in college and/or the NFl, so are their DL. Marcus spears, marquise hill (rip), Tyson Jackson, Glenn Dorsey, The jury is still out on guys like Nevis and Al woods but woods was pretty disappointing. Who has been good, Booger McFarland? Off on a tangent yes sorry.

JJ Watt is a manimal but I am still taking ngata...for now. He was great as a rookie and yes, this year has been a small sample size, but if he plays like this all year it could be an MVP type season moreso then when Fat Albert got considered in his last year with the tits. He has been an absolute wrecking ball for the texans while playing with a nagging elbow problem.
Quick OT comment, Drake Nevis has looked surprisingly good at 3-4 DE and it is a mystery to many in Indy why he is not starting in place of Fili Moala.
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:46 PM    (permalink
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I hate to bring a rant to another thread irrelevantly, but after bitching about how recent LSU offensive linemen are disappointments in college and/or the NFl, so are their DL. Marcus spears, marquise hill (rip), Tyson Jackson, Glenn Dorsey, The jury is still out on guys like Nevis and Al woods but woods was pretty disappointing. Who has been good, Booger McFarland? Off on a tangent yes sorry.
I read an article about that a few years ago. It basically suggested that when LSU players realize that they're going to make it to the pros, the coaches don't do anything to keep them motivated and they develop sloppy work habits.

It was a good read, but I haven't been able to find it ever since.
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:50 PM    (permalink
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I certainly haven't seen anyone playing better than Watt, this year.

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I hate to bring a rant to another thread irrelevantly, but after bitching about how recent LSU offensive linemen are disappointments in college and/or the NFl, so are their DL. Marcus spears, marquise hill (rip), Tyson Jackson, Glenn Dorsey, The jury is still out on guys like Nevis and Al woods but woods was pretty disappointing. Who has been good, Booger McFarland? Off on a tangent yes sorry.
Kyle Williams. but he wasn't a high pick like those guys. Love the appreciation he is getting in this thread. His profile seemed to die down a bit after his injury and the emergence of Dareus. He still does what he does best.
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:50 PM    (permalink
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as a giants homer, and JPP lover, and with all due respect to Watt and Justin Smith (who I rank above Watt because he is a ridiculous animal monster man beast sex muffin), the best is Haloti. The things that dude does are just incredible. His size and ridiculous athleticism for that size and his IQ (which was already pretty high) is even higher. Dude knows how to play the game and use his unreal skill set. I can't rank anyone above Haloti at this moment, regardless of scheme

edit, this is no discredit to Watt, he is unreal, it's just Haloti man...Haloti
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:54 PM    (permalink
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as a giants homer, and JPP lover, and with all due respect to Watt and Justin Smith (who I rank above Watt because he is a ridiculous animal monster man beast sex muffin), the best is Haloti. The things that dude does are just incredible. His size and ridiculous athleticism for that size and his IQ (which was already pretty high) is even higher. Dude knows how to play the game and use his unreal skill set. I can't rank anyone above Haloti at this moment, regardless of scheme

edit, this is no discredit to Watt, he is unreal, it's just Haloti man...Haloti
I love how he bulked back to 350 because he felt to small and weak at 330 lbs last year. What a monster.
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Old 09-26-2012, 01:16 PM    (permalink
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Watt has nine sacks and nine passes defensed in his last nine games. Not saying he's the best DL in football right now but the man is a BEAST.
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Old 09-26-2012, 01:18 PM    (permalink
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How the hell did I forget about Kyle Williams. He is certainly the exception, but it's funny because like Whitworth he wasn't nearly as highly touted as some of his LSU position counterparts because he wasn't as flashy and also they both have an uncanny resemblance to Ben Affleck.

I forget Williams went to LSU, he is a beast.
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Old 09-26-2012, 01:37 PM    (permalink
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Watt is an animal and I am pissed that we got rid of Mario Williams only to have to deal with this new asshole in the AFC South.
I feel your pain man LOL. I'd rather him be on any other team in the league.

And yes, I think the case can be made for him being the best. He's definitely in the same tier with Ngata, Smith, and Campbell, in my opinion.
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Old 09-26-2012, 01:40 PM    (permalink
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If we are going by just the first three weeks of this season then Watt has definitely been the best so far. Not ready to put him ahead of Ngata and Smith, though, who are still almost as good and have been doing it for years
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Old 09-26-2012, 01:57 PM    (permalink
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defintely in the conversation
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Old 09-26-2012, 02:53 PM    (permalink
Babylon
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Gotta get Darnell Dockett in there too.

Those big tackles/ends are almost a necessity for any great defense. Looking forward to seeing where Hankins and Star go in the draft.
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:00 PM    (permalink
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It really has changed from the start of the last decade where a 4 man defensive line was generally comprised of a smaller, quicker weakside end, a smaller penetrating 3 technique, a bigger, stouter nose and a good run stuffing strongside end. Now it is simply a case of getting your best guys on the field and finding matchups. The NFL has always been a matchup orientated league, however. specifically along the defensive line it is becoming so player specific instead of scheme specific. You don't need a guy like Kevin Williams to be your 3 technique when you can line up someone like Justin Tuck inside on passing situations.

Similarly in a 34 you had the Pats as an example. Two 6'4+ 300+ guys who could stack and shed at DE with Wilfork at the nose. Now you can have guys like Wilfork, Ngata etc playing end and pass rushers playing lined up over the center.
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:49 PM    (permalink
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I've watched all three very closely in all of their teams' games so far, and JJ Watt is playing a whole level higher than Justin Smith and Haloti Ngata. Ngata especially looks kind of heavy and slow this year. Smith is his usualy grinder self, but Watt is just as workmanlike but makes even more big plays.

And of course, the Houston defense as a whole is better than either the 49ers or Ravens defense this year (especially the Ravens defense). That also make me lean toward Watt over Smith / Ngata.
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