Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt is putting forth a strong case to be the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year this season.
And, it looks like he would have Bill Belichick’s vote.
“He looks like the Defensive Player of the Year to me,” the Patriots’ coach said on a Wednesday morning conference call with Houston reporters as the Texans and Patriots prepare for a Monday night matchup.
“He's been so productive and so disruptive. It’s not just the pass rush. It’s the batted balls, it’s the tackles for loss, the blocking that he draws it hels everybody else out. He’s been a terrific player for them in a lot of different ways.”
Watt has 16.5 sacks and 15 batted passes this season in just 12 games. He became the first player in NFL history with 14 sacks and 14 batted passes in a single season. And he did it by the 12th game of the season.
“He’s the most disruptive player in the league,” Belichick said. “He’s really pretty good at everything. He’s got great quickness and length and instincts.”
Belichick compared Watt’s development to that of Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants. Both had limited exposure out of college but have quickly risen to the level of stardom in the NFL.
“[Watt] didn’t have a lot of college production but he had enough, you see enough, to know how high the bar can go and how quickly it’ll get there,” Belichick said.
After comparing Watt to Pierre-Paul, Belichick sort of compared Watt to perhaps the best defensive player in the history of the game, Lawrence Taylor, when talking about Watt’s on-field relationship with Antonio Smith.
“When I was with the Giants, we had Lawrence Taylor,” Belichick said. “Probably the best thing to happen to Taylor was probably Carl Banks. I think there’s probably a little bit of that by having Smith on the other side.”