Jason Taylor was the last defensive end to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year back in 2006. After Sunday evening's "NFL Honors" award show, J.J. Watt will likely be the next.
If you give this award a quick Google search, what do you find? Go ahead and take a look, we'll wait. Surely you see Watt's name dominating the page, because throughout the 2012 season, he was dominating on the field.
Watt was a monster in his second pro season, finishing with 20.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, 16 pass deflections, and 81 total tackles. Pro Football Focus rated him a 101.6 overall, making him by far their highest-rated player in the entire league. A nightmare for any offensive lineman, Watt disrupts every backfield he faces.
Looking around at what people have to say about this award, it's easy to see why Watt is expected to win. SB Nation's NFL bloggers named Watt their NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He received 16 of the 26 total votes. Also, NFL.com gave the Texans defensive end unanimous support.
Let's not forget the other defenders in the conversation, though. San Francisco's Aldon Smith recorded 19.5 sacks in his sophomore campaign. Smith received seven of SB Nation's 26 votes. The 23-year-old also helped fuel the 49ers defense to allow an average of 294.4 yards per game during the regular season.
Denver's Von Miller, also in his second season, continued wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks, finishing the year with 18.5 sacks and six forced fumbles. Offenses must really despise that 2011 draft class.
At the end of the day, though, we should be seeing Watt taking home the honors of Defensive Player of the Year. He is a rare talent who provides the Texans with most of the most dangerous weapons in the league.
You can watch "NFL Honors" Saturday starting at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.