With all of the attention surrounding the NFL and its Hall of Fame weekend in Canton, Ohio, it’s a time to reflect not only on the greats of the game in years past, but the greats carrying the torch of America’s game today.
As legends of the past received their gold jackets Friday night in Canton, NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks took a unique angle on the weekend affairs, projecting five current NFL stars who are well on their way to receiving gold jackets and a bronze bust in Canton.
Of course, Pittsburgh Steelers’ star outside linebacker T.J. Watt made Brooks’ list, coming in at No. 4. Watt was listed along with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, Indianapolis’s Quenton Nelson, Los Angeles’ Jalen Ramsey, and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson.
“The baby brother of three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt has quietly put together a Hall of Fame-worthy resume that rivals that of his all-star older sibling,” Brooks writes. “T.J. Watt has amassed 49.5 sacks over four seasons, including three straight seasons with at least 13 sacks. In addition, the Steelers’ disruptive playmaker has emerged as one of the NFL’s premier turnover machines, logging 17 forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and four interceptions. With No. 90 thriving as an elite pass rusher off the edge, the Steelers’ All-Pro sack master is well on his way toward earning a bronze bust in Canton.”
Though I don’t think Watt has done anything quietly in the NFL to date, he is certainly well on his way to a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Arguably the premier pass rusher in the NFL, Watt is a one-man wrecking crew off the edge for the Steelers when it comes to sacks and forced turnovers.
According to Pro Football Reference’s OLB Hall of Fame Monitor, Watt currently sits at 30.08 HOFm through four seasons with the Steelers. Watt sits roughly 18.0 HOFm behind the next-closest Hall of Fame OLB in former San Francisco 49er Dave Wilcox, who was inducted in 2000.
Should Watt continue to record at least double-digit sacks every season for the next 4-5 years, that would put him near 100 career sacks, which would undoubtedly put him into Canton. He’s off to an incredible start in his career and is on a Hall of Fame trajectory, but there’s still a long way to go for the Steelers’ star when it comes to earning a place in the hallowed halls of Canton.