The NFL is doing its annual "Top 100 Players" feature right now, and it appears that only one defensive player was voted into the Top 10 of said Top 100. While we are all extremely biased as fans of the Houston Texans, I don't think it's a stretch to say that the majority of people would agree that J.J. Watt must be that singular defensive player on any reputable list (to the extent such lists are capable of being reputable).
Indeed, four of the six media types polled in this NFL.com article agree that J.J. Watt should be the top-ranked defender in any such list. When one of those pundits writes, "Statistically speaking, J.J. Watt is on pace to be the greatest defensive lineman in the history of the NFL" and you don't immediately dismiss that observation as certifiably insane hyperbole, it would seem to indicate that there might be something to giving this Watt fellow his just deserts.
Charley Casserly, former general manager of the Houston Texans, does not cotton to popular opinion. Casserly, the man who once traded the Texans' second, third, fourth, and fifth round picks in the 2004 NFL Draft for Jason Babin, believes that Richard Sherman is the best defensive player in the NFL. Yes, the same Charley Casserly who took Travis Johnson in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft. The same Charley Casserly who...I better stop. I'm starting to black out.
To be fair, Bucky Brooks joined Casserly in opining that someone else (in Brooks' case, Luke Kuechly) should be ranked first amongst NFL defenders. I simply don't have the same kind of vitriol for Bucky Brooks that I do Casserly. I'm also fully aware that manufacturing debate is all too frequently done to drive traffic, and I have likely played into the very hands of the hit gods by calling attention to Casserly's "analysis." I know all that, and I still can't believe that anyone who watches football, much less gets paid to do so, would truly champion a player not named J.J. Watt for the label of best defensive player in the NFL.
Before this post deteriorates into spiteful name-calling, I'll close it with this quote from Bill Belichick:
"Who’s been wrong more than Charley Casserly since he left the Redskins? His percentage is like a meteorologist," Belichick said.