Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt went without a sack last season for the first time in his seven-year career — but listeners and readers of the Talk of Fame Network expect him to bounce back in a big way in 2018.
We asked our followers in last week’s poll to vote on the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year for 2018, and Watt received 21.7 percent of the vote to edge Denver edge rusher Von Miller at 20.0 percent. Los Angeles Chargers’ edge rusher Joey Bosa and Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey tied for third with 13.3 percent of the vote apiece.
The three Talk of Fame Network hosts, as usual, were split. Ron Borges voted Ramsey, Rick Gosselin voted Watt and Clark Judge cast his ballot for Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
“It’s hard to bet against Watt,” Borges said, “except the bet is he doesn’t make it through the season. So I’ll go with the new blood and cast my lot with Ramsey.”
Watt is a four-time Pro Bowler, four-time first team All-Pro, three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and two-time NFL sack leader. When healthy, Watt is the best defensive player in the league. But health has been an issue the last two seasons. Watt, 29, has missed 24 games over the last two years with injuries. He played only five games last season and failed to sack any quarterbacks.
Miller has played six healthy seasons and been in double figures in sacks all six of them, including a league-leading 18 ½ sacks in 2012. He also has been a Super Bowl MVP for the Broncos. Ramsey intercepted four passes in his second season in 2017 as the Jaguars finished first in the NFL in pass defense and second in defense., Donald was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2017.