Congratulations: Steelers Key Player has been Ranked as Top (5)Five…

Steelers’ T.J. Watt ranks second in AP’s NFL Top 5 defensive linemen.

How much does OLB T.J. Watt determine the Steelers defensive results? -  Behind the Steel Curtain

In a season filled with dominant performances from defensive linemen, Myles Garrett stands out.

Whether it is hurdling players to block a field goal, beating blockers with slick cross-over moves or just overpowering them with his strength, Garrett has been nearly unstoppable and was voted as the top defensive lineman in the league by The Associated Press.

A panel of nine AP Pro Football Writers ranked the top five players at defensive line, making their selections based on current status through Week 8. First-place votes were worth 10 points. Second through fifth-place votes were worth 5, 3, 2 and 1 points.

Garrett was one of three players named on all nine ballots, getting five of the first-place votes and moved from fifth in the preseason poll to first. T.J. Watt and Micah Parsons were also named on all nine ballots and got two first-place votes each, with Watt coming in second and preseason winner Parsons third.

Aaron Donald came in fourth and Nick Bosa was fifth.

Maxx Crosby, Danielle Hunter, Josh Allen, Chris Jones, Khalil Mack, Trey Hendrickson and Leonard Floyd also got votes.

While Garrett was held back in recent years, in part because of substandard defenses in Cleveland, he has really shined under new coordinator Jim Schwartz on one of the league’s top units. He has 8 1/2 sacks and four forced fumbles already this season. His 30% pass rush win rate is tops among all edge rushers, according to PFF.

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Watt is a playmaker on defense, carrying the mantle from older brother J.J., who retired after last season. He has 8 1/2 sacks, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, one interception, six passes defensed, 16 QB hits and a touchdown.

Last night, not even losing his helmet could stop T.J. Watt from making a play. In the first quarter of Thursday’s game against the Tennessee Titans at Acrisure Stadium, Watt brought down quarterback Will Levis in the backfield after losing his helmet.

Parsons’ fall from first place to third is not a reflection on his game slipping as much as it is the dominant performances from Garrett and Watt. Parsons has six sacks in seven games and ranks fifth in total pressures with 43 according to PFF.

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year is not quite as dominant as he was during his peak but has bounced back from an injury-shortened 2022 season. Donald has 4 1/2 sacks and ranks second among interior linemen with 38 pressures. He could be in line for his eighth first-team All-Pro selection that would tie the record for the most ever for a defensive player.

The reigning Defensive Player of the Year hasn’t been quite as dominant early this season following a training camp holdout. Bosa has only three sacks after leading the NFL with 18 1/2 a year ago, but is still doing a good job of generating pressure, ranking tied for third with 44 this season.

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