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Is J.J. Watt Only The Seventh Greatest Defensive End in NFL History?

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Not bad for someone who’s been in the league for only seven years, but does it sell the greatness of the Texans’ defensive end short?

Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

J.J. Watt has been playing football professionally for seven years. In those seven seasons, he has amassed 76 sacks, 47 passes defended, 15 forced fumbles, and one interception (that was returned for a touchdown).

He’s won NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times. He’s been named to four Pro Bowls and four All-Pro first teams. He’s led the NFL in sacks twice. He put together the single greatest season I’ve ever seen from a defensive player in 2014 when he had 20.5 sacks, 10 passes defended, and scored four touchdowns (three of which came on offense).

The last two seasons, however, Watt was lost to injury early. Playing in only eight games combined over last two years. I don’t know how Watt’s career will unfold moving forward, but what he’s done so far is enough to make him an all-time great and a surefire Hall of Famer.

Gil Brandt agrees. He named Watt the seventh greatest defensive end in the history of football.

The only players ahead of Watt were Lee Roy Selmon, Doug Atkins, Gino Marchetti, Bruce Smith, Deacon Jones, and Reggie White. You can see Brandt’s entire list here.

I know it might be hard to look at this objectively for Texans fans, but do you believe there are six defensive ends better than J.J. Watt in NFL history?