If Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt could start an NFL team with any single non-quarterback, he’d pick himself.
Asked by NBC Sports’ Dan Patrick in an interview on The Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday morning which one of four non-quarterbacks -- himself, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson or University of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney -- he would choose to build a team around, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year had little hesitancy about calling his own number.
“Obviously you have to pick yourself,” Watt said. “I believe in myself, I believe I’m a good player, so I would pick myself.”
Asked to decide who causes more problems for defenses between Peterson, the reigning NFL MVP, and Johnson, who set the NFL single-season record for receiving yards in 2012, Watt gave the edge to the runner.
"I think, from my personal standpoint, because I’m a defensive lineman, it does more to me, I think AP, just because he does a lot against you in the run game,” Watt said. “But obviously Calvin wreaks havoc on the edge. Both those guys are the best at their positions. The two of them are very difficult to stop.”
Watt may also have shined some light on teammate Antonio Smith’s run-in with Dolphins guard Richie Incognito in the Texans’ preseason game against Miami on Saturday, in which Smith ripped Incognito’s helmet off and swung it at him. The NFL is reportedly considering suspending Smith for the remainder of the preseason, and possibly the beginning of the regular season.
Watt cited Incognito as one of the league’s biggest trash talkers among offensive linemen.
“Richie Incognito likes to talk some trash out there,” Watt said.
“There’s been some incidents in the past. I could see some frustration.”
Watt has also made headlines recently for his desire to play on offense for the Texans. He’s not backing off that desire, but also says he isn’t holding his breath about it coming to fruition.
“My guess is zero,” Watt said of the number of offensive plays he expects to play in 2013. “I’ve been lobbying to play (offense) since the day I got to the Texans and it hasn’t worked yet. But I am all for it if (Texans coach Gary Kubiak) would ever give me the chance.”
How successful could the ultra-athletic Watt be as a tight end, a position he played in his lone season at Central Michigan University in 2007? He wouldn’t rule approaching the level of production he’s seen as a defensive end.
“I think if I had the training for it and I worked at it and watched all the film and put in as much effort at tight end as I do at defensive end, of course, I think I’d have a shot at being a pretty darn good tight end,” Watt said.
As for players who are likely to impact the Texans’ offense in 2013, Watt said his understanding is that running back Arian Foster, who remains on the team’s physically unable to perform list while recovering from a calf injury and back soreness, should be ready to play in Week 1.
“Obviously we’re all hoping he’s going to be there. From what I understand he’s going to be there. But that’s the trainers’ and the coaches’ (decision).”