Nov 24, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne (7) is sacked by Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) during the second quarter at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Football Focus Names J.J. Watt The Best Player In The NFL

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Pro Football Focus Named J.J. Watt the best player in the National Football League.

Though NFL Network has yet to reach the bottom half of their top 100 NFL players, I seriously doubt Watt will get the recognition he deserved.

Pro Football Focus (PFF) isn’t your ordinary football site. While ESPN and NFL Network like to use big-time stats to evaluate players, PFF likes to take into account everything. From quarterback knockdowns, to pressures, to batted passes, everything and anything gets taken into account.

So how’d Watt fair last season? He had just 80 total tackles, 7 pass deflections, and 10.5 sacks, down from his monstrous 81 tackle, 16 pass deflections, and 23 sack campaign in 2012. Did that make his PFF overall grade go down? Nope, not even close. In fact, Watt graded even better in 2013 than in 2012.

Watt finished 2013 with an incredible +111.6 overall PFF grade, 10 points higher than last season’s grade. Here’s what PFF had to say about his monstrous performance.

He showed a devastating rate of pass-rush pressure, earning 85 total pressures – a figure only bettered by Robert Quinn – and matched that performance against the run. Watt was moved around more by the Texans this year, spending time all across the line and proving to be just as tough to handle at 4-3 defensive end as he is in a 3-4.

Watt has a unique mix of strength, quickness, speed and moves that often leave offensive linemen grasping at air. He is the perfect player for any attacking one-gap system and seems to be only getting better.

Robert Quinn of the St. Louis Rams may have racked up better numbers than Watt in terms of overall stats, but Watt kills Quinn in PFF’s grading system. Watt was over 30 points better than Quinn who registered a +77.2 grade last season. Everyone saw how dominant Quinn was and he’s one of the best pass rushers in the league, but this goes to show you how much more dominant Watt is than every other player in the NFL.

PFF wasn’t done gushing about Watt. (Click here to read the full PFF article on Watt).

Watt is one of the most devastating pass-rushers in the entire league, and it’s easy to forget that he is primarily an interior lineman. The rate at which he is generating pressure (once every 6.1 rushes) is akin to Dwight Freeney in his prime, and only Robert Quinn is topping that rate at the moment.

To add to his legend, he is every bit as good against the run as he is the pass, primarily because he plays it in exactly the same way – shoots into the backfield and rains down destruction on the play.

Here at PFF we occasionally get accused of spending too much time talking about Watt, but his numbers and grading are just too crazy not to. We are witnessing the career of one of the league’s all-time greats unfold in front of our eyes, and that deserves all the comment it’s receiving. J.J. Watt was the best player of 2013 and rightfully tops the PFF 101.

We know Watt was over 30 points better than Quinn, but what about the others in the top five? Lavonte David finished fifth with a +26.4 grade, and his teammate Gerald McCoy finished fourth with a +57.3 grade.

What about the best offensive performance in NFL history? Peyton Manning broke several records last season, throwing for 5,477 passing yards and 55 touchdowns. His final grade from PFF was a +44.3.

If all this doesn’t give ESPN or NFL Network a clue then I’m not sure what will. J.J. Watt has been the best NFL player each of the last two seasons, and at least one site recognizes his dominance that has never been seen before in NFL history.

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Tags: Houston Texans J.J. Watt Pro Football Focus

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