Micah Parsons says TJ Watt is not one of the NFL’s top-five pass rushers

Micah Parsons says TJ Watt is not one of the NFL’s top-five pass rushers

Micah Parsons is certainly one of the top edge rushers in the NFL, as evidenced by his 40.5 sacks throughout his first three NFL seasons. So when the Dallas Cowboys superstar speaks about the art of pass rushing, it’s only natural that folks around him listen. 

Parsons, who is a three-time Pro Bowler, believes he’s the best pass rusher in the game, but he’s aware of the others who could vie for that top spot.

And according to No. 11, Cleveland’s Myles Garrett, who was just awarded the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, edges Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt when it comes to getting to the quarterback. 

“The film does not lie.,” Parsons said of Garrett on the “Zach Gelb Show” during Super Bowl week. “His presence is way more dominant than TJ Watt’s.” 

Parsons went on to say that Watt, who finished with 19 sacks this season and netted his fourth first-team All-Pro selection, was not a top-five edge rusher in the NFL.

Parsons ranked himself first, citing ESPN’s pass-rush win rate as substantial reasoning, following his own name with Garrett, Maxx Crosby and Nick Bosa. He doubled down on his sentiments toward Watt, emphasizing that his Steelers teammate, Alex Highsmith, was superior to him in pass-rush win rate.

“I think I’m probably the best pure speed pass rusher,” Parsons said. “But if you’re talking about defensive ends, run and everything … if you’re talking about pure pass rusher, I would say if you look at my win rate, I was the best one this year.”

When asked specifically about Watt, Parsons encouraged people to just “look at the stats.”

“The stats don’t lie. He was fifth or sixth, but I think Alex Highsmith might have had a better pass rush win rate,” Parsons said of Watt. “And he had a more double team rate than T.J. Watt if you really want to be statistical. Like, this isn’t my stuff. I’m not just pulling it out of my ass.”

Parsons’ stats were correct: Highsmith finished with an 18% win rate, compared to Watt’s 16.9. Parsons was also double-teamed on 35% of his snaps, while Garrett posted 29% in the category, and Watt came in at 14%. The three-time Pro Bowler was sure to make clear that his statements had no personal bearing.

“There’s no beef at all,” Parsons said. “One thing I hate about the NFL community and NBA community, we just hate when someone else wins. When I lost [the DPOY] to T.J., I did not go in and say, ‘I got snubbed.’ I just said, ‘I’m going to go to work.’ When I lost to Nick Bosa the year after that, I did not say, ‘I got snubbed.’ I just said, ‘I’m going to work.’ 

“The biggest mistake in people is saying that someone is not deserving. Who are you to say someone is not deserving of an award of that magnitude?”

Garrett received 23 of 50 first-place votes for this year’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, while Watt finished in second with 19, and Parsons in third with seven.

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