The Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers can both claim to possess one of the game's best young pass rushers, as Myles Garrett and TJ Watt are both two of the post productive edge defenders in football today. Once again, however, Pittsburgh can claim to have a young prospect that is more productive than their AFC North rivals' franchise cornerstone.
Both of these players are All-Pro caliber and should be stars in this league for the next decade, but Watt has the slightest of edges over Garrett right now due to these three key factors.
3. He's More Versatile
Watt is a true 3-4 outside linebacker in that he is comfortable with dropping into coverage, as Pittsburgh's defense tasks him with learning man and zone concepts. As evidenced by his two interceptions and eight pass breakups, Watt can handle himself in coverage, run defense, and pass rush situations. Garrett, meanwhile, is a more traditional, hand in the dirt defensive end that would look out of place dropping into a deep zone.
2. He's a More Productive Pass Rusher
Watt, who was at one point tied for the league lead in quarterback hits with brother JJ, himself racked up 14.5 sacks last year, which exceeds the 10.0 sacks that Garrett put up despite the fact Watt rushed the passer on a lower percentage of snaps. His eight forced fumbles last year and 14 over the last two seasons prove that he is already one of the best edge rushers in the game when it comes to causing turnovers, while Garrett's five forced fumbles clearly put Watt in a tier above him.
1. He's Doesn't Have Temper Concerns
When two similar, evenly-matched players are both reaching their primes on the football field at the same time, things like their conduct can be enough to separate the two. Garrett received an indefinite suspension for using Mason Rudolph's helmet as a weapon, which could have had grave consequences for Rudolph if the crown of the helmet connected. Garrett's season ended early, and his reputation lies in tatters. The Steelers, meanwhile, don't have to worry about the squeaky-clean Watt getting into such trouble.