After finishing second in the final vote for last season’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, Watt has simply picked up where he left off last year. The three-time Pro Bowler currently leads the Steelers in quarterback hits (6), sacks (3.0) and forced fumbles (2).
Ahead of the Packers’ upcoming home matchup against the Steelers, LaFleur has been closely watching film on Watt and remains star-struck at his ability to rush opposing quarterbacks with ease.
During a recent press conference, LaFleur was asked whether Watt is the best defensive player in the league. He did not flat out offer an endorsement to Watt being the clear-cut most dominant defensive star today, but rather took some time to laud the two-time All-Pro talent.
“If he’s not, he’s right there,” LaFleur said. “Him, Aaron Donald. I think [Cam] Heyward probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves as well. That guy’s a game wrecker. It’s hard to pinpoint. Watt is all over the place.
“This is the first time I have had a chance to sit down and study him. He is so talented. When you mix that with the effort and relentlessness that he displays every time he is out on that field. It doesn’t come as a surprise to how he is able to generate these big-time plays. He is all over the tape. He does a great job when he gets to the quarterback of raking the ball out. He does a great job of making tackles trying to punch the ball out. He is a force to be reckoned with.”
Watt missed the Steelers’ home game against the Cincinnati Bengals due to a groin injury. He was a full participant in practice on Thursday and Friday ahead of this Wisconsin homecoming for him. More so, he noted after Friday’s practice that he felt ‘really good” after featuring in the session.
The Steelers will aim to avoid a 1-3 start in Week 4.