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Micah Parsons Leaves T.J. Watt Off List Of Top-Five Pass Rushers: ‘Look At The Stats’


In the wake of T.J. Watt narrowly losing out on his second career Defensive Player of the Year Award to Myles Garrett at the NFL Honors event on Thursday night, fellow top defensive player Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys has had a lot to say on the matter. Appearing on the Zach Gelb Show on CBS Sports Radio from Radio Row in Las Vegas, Parsons made quite the claim: Watt is not a top-five pass rusher.

“I thought it should [have] went to Myles, if not me,” Parsons said. “Did you see two tight ends following T.J. Watt?”

He already made this clear with a similar take just a day ago blasting a fan on Twitter for saying Watt should have won the award over Garrett. He doubled down on Gelb’s show when asked who his top five pass rushers are.

“I think I’m probably the best pure speed pass rusher,” Parsons said. “But if you’re going off defensive end or like run and everything…I would say Myles [Garrett], and I would say Maxx [Crosby]. And then I would say Nick Bosa.”

Gelb pushed the issue and asked about Watt’s omission from the list.

“I mean, look at the stats, like that’s one thing. Stats don’t lie,” Parsons said. “I think he might’ve been fifth or sixth. Alex Highsmith I think had a better pass rate and a more double team rate than T.J. Watt.”

He is of course talking about pass rush win rates and double team rates. It is almost comical as he repeatedly points to the stats, while ignoring most of the actual stats. Watt led the league in many statistical categories including having the most sacks in the league for a third season in his career, breaking an NFL record in the process. For reference, here are the double team rates through Week 13 of the 2023 season, via Seth Walder on X.

Parsons and Garrett are double teamed more than most other pass rushers, there is no denying that. Watt is actually below average in that metric, and as Parsons asserted, Highsmith did have slightly more double teams that Watt.

If you are basing everything on this chart alone, then what Parsons is saying makes sense. But he is then ignoring all of the actual, measureable stats that Watt tends to dominate.

Based on Parsons’ list of top-five pass rushers, here are their 2023 stats compared to Watt’s, including PFF win rate:

Micah Parsons: 64 total tackles, 36 solo tackles, 14 sacks, 18 TFLs, 33 QB hits, 1 FF, 24.2 win rate
Nick Bosa: 53 total tackles, 34 solo tackles, 10.5 sacks, 16 TFLs, 35 QB hits, 2 FFs, 21.9 win rate
Maxx Crosby: 90 total tackles, 55 solo tackles, 14.5 sacks, 23 TFLs, 31 QB hits, 2 FFs, 15.5 win rate
Myles Garrett: 42 total tackles, 33 solo tackles, 14 sacks, 17 TFLs, 30 QB hits, 4 FFs, 27.3 win rate
T.J. Watt: 68 total tackles, 48 solo tackles, 19 sacks, 19 TFLs, 36 QB hits, 4 FFs, 1 int, 1 TD, 16.9 win rate

Parsons’ main justification in his list was the use of stats, just not the stats that support his narrative. Just a day ago, he was telling a fan on Twitter to not look at stats and watch the tape, and less than 24 hours later he is pointing at stats.

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