Aaron Rodgers may have edged out JJ Watt for the 2014 MVP award, but in NFL.com’s 2015 pre-season Top 100 players, it was Watt who was crowned top dog. Unlike the MVP balloting, the NFL.com Top 100 was voted on by the players. Although Rodgers was deserving of the MVP award last season, Watt punched in one of the most dominant defensive seasons of all time (20.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 5 touchdowns). The whole league took notice and, now, with the players behind him, his league wide star-status has been vindicated.
Interestingly, in the five years NFL.com has taken this players poll, Watt is the first defensive player to rank first (Brady, Rodgers, Peterson, Manning were all former winners). In fact no defensive player had previously ranked higher than fourth (Ray Lewis in 2011). In a league that is becoming more and more offensive, Watt’s accomplishment is all the more significant. Who knows, perhaps Watt’s ascendance will spark a decade of defensive dominance.