HOUSTON – Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was named the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year Saturday night at the second annual NFL Honors Awards Show in New Orleans.
Watt is the first Texans player to earn award. The defensive end has already been named a unanimous All-Pro, selected as a starter for the AFC in the Pro Bowl and named AFC Defensive Player of the Year by NFL 101.
Watt led the NFL with 20.5 sacks, and came close to challenging former New York Giant Michael Strahan's NFL sack record of 22.5.
Watt led the Texans defense with 107 tackles, 39 tackles for loss, 42 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles and tied for second on the team with two fumble recoveries.
He is the first defensive lineman to be recognized since Miami defensive end Jason Taylor won it in 2006. He is the 17th defensive lineman to win the award and the eighth defensive end.
The AP has presented the Defensive Player of the Year every year since 1971, when Minnesota defensive tackle Alan Page won the first award.
The award is determined by a 50-member panel of national pro football writers, with one vote cast per voter.