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Brian Cushing Says J.J. Watt Could be ‘Greatest Defensive Player Ever’

Texans' JJ Watt

With a talent-laden roster that includes big stars on both sides of the ball, the Houston Texans will certainly be one of the top contenders to win the 2014 Super Bowl title (Bovada.lv has them at 18/1 currently). However, considering Houston has failed to achieve its goal of reaching the NFL’s biggest stage with the same roster over the past couple of years, what could make this year any different?

One thing that sets Houston apart from some of the league’s other heavy hitters is the fact that it has youth and plenty of it. While other squads see their window at a title closing a little more every year, the Texans seem to be improving every season and with players like Arian Foster and Matt Schaub just hitting their prime, the Texans should have many more good runs in them and many more chances at a championship in the coming years.

On the defensive side of the ball – where Houston is just as, or more dangerous – it has a young star who may not have even realized his full potential yet. Of course, we are talking about J.J. Watt, Houston’s monster defensive end, who won the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award in just his second pro season last year. It seems like a lot of people are speaking highly of Watt these days, including one of his teammates, linebacker Brian Cushing.

In a recent interview with ESPN.com’s John Clayton on his “Inside the Huddle” podcast last week, Cushing couldn’t help but gush about Watt, saying that the 24 year-old third-year man has immeasurable upside.

“When you talk about the potential that he has of really being the greatest defensive player ever, he could be. I know that’s very premature but he’s that kind of player. I think if he just keeps doing what he’s doing and obviously stays healthy, he’s on that track.”

There’s no doubt Watt has the skill and physical attributes to become one of the greatest, but staying healthy is always one of the hardest parts. Watt’s achievements last season become even more impressive when you consider the fact that he dealt with an elbow injury for most of the year, but knowing that he was injured at all would probably worry some Texans fans with high hopes for Watt and the team this year.

Then again, Watt is young and has a resilient body. And like many, Cushing believes we may not have seen the best from Watt yet, which is a terrifying thought for his and Houston’s opponents.

“He’s incredible. There’s no other word for him,” Cushing said. “He’s one of those guys that he’s truly the best at what he does. Just the combination of speed, the power, how he plays, his endurance, his smarts … the scary part is it’s his second year. He hasn’t even hit his peak yet.”

Expectations for Watt and Co. will be high again this year, but with the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots looking to improve as well, winning the AFC certainly won’t be easy. However, if Houston and its young stars can stay healthy, I would feel pretty good about taking the Texans at 18/1.

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