For 13 seasons, Lawrence Taylor operated as a game-plan-wrecking nightmare for the New York Giants. The two-time Super Bowl winner and Hall of Fame linebacker is viewed by many as the greatest defender of the modern era, but L.T. sees another force on the horizon: J.J. Watt.
"That J.J. Watt is a bad SOB," Taylor told the Houston Chronicle about the Texans' defensive end who, along with L.T., stands as the only player in NFL history to win three Defensive Player of the Year awards. "He's going to get it a couple of more times.
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"I think he's one of these guys that only comes around once every 20 to 30 years."
Taylor has seen thousands of players come and go, but didn't shy away from ranking Watt, at 26, among the top-four defensive players ever -- a list that also includes the former Giant.
"In front of me I see guys like Reggie White (and) Deacon Jones," Taylor said. "Do I put J.J. in front of me? No, but the guy is a phenomenal player. He can go down as one of the best players to ever play his position.
"Every time I watch film on him or I see a game he's playing in, the first thing that comes to my mind is this guy can go all day."
With three DPOY trophies in the past four seasons, Watt has plenty of time to chase after accolades and frontiers no other defensive player has seen. But L.T. wondered out loud if anybody on that side of the ball would ever again win MVP. Nobody's done it since Taylor nabbed the honor in 1986.
"That's one I have on him," L.T. said, adding another wrinkle: "The year I won MVP, we won the Super Bowl. They wanted to call me the greatest defensive player of all time. He can put up numbers, and he can be one of the greatest players that ever played (but), you've got to be able to take your team to a title."