Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is starting to get back the recognition he had prior to his lost two seasons.
Pro Football Focus released their bottom 20 of their top-50 players entering the 2019 season, and the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year ranked 33rd overall.
After injuries limited him to fewer than 250 defensive snaps in 2016 and 2017, Watt played 1,000-plus snaps for the first time since 2015 this past season. And while the results didn’t mirror his four-year (2012-15) dominance that made him a household name, Watt still earned an impressive 90.6 overall grade, an 88.7 run-defense grade and an 89.7 pass-rush grade on the year.
On the available portion of the list, only the Dallas Cowboys’ DeMarcus Lawrence and the Atlanta Falcons’ Deion Jones ranked ahead of Watt.
The All-Pro defensive end finished the 2018 season playing all 16 games and collecting 16.0 sacks and leading the NFL with seven forced fumbles. Though Watt would never declare that he was back to form, the numbers indicated that he was definitely more effective than he had ever been in his eight games played over the 2016-17 seasons.
Watt finished 19th overall on Pro Football Focus’ top-101 players for 2018. If he has the same type of production in 2019 that he did in his return season, expect him to finish in a comparable position on Pro Football Focus’ list.