Packers, Badgers rule NFL’s Top 100 players list

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1. J.J. Watt

Last year: 12

It’s a long road from walk-on at Wisconsin to the No. 1-ranked player in the NFL, but it is a road Pewaukee native J.J. Watt has traveled in just seven years.

After playing at Central Michigan as a freshman tight end in 2007, Watt returned home to Wisconsin in 2008. Converted to defensive end, Watt wound up starting 26 games in two seasons before declaring for the NFL Draft after his junior season in 2010.

In two years with the Badgers, Watt had 106 tackles, 11½ sacks, 36½ tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, one interception and 14 passes defensed.

That, as it turns out, was just the warm-up act.

Last season with the Houston Texans, Watt notched 20½ sacks—becoming the first player in NFL history to have two 20-sack seasons in his career—to gow ith 78 tackles, an interception, four forced fumbles and 10 passes defensed.

He threw in three touchdown receptions as a short-yardage tight end while earning his third consecutive All-Pro nod and Pro Bowl berth.

He was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in three seasons after finishing second in the league in sacks and non-offensive touchdowns.

Watt was the 11th overall pick by the Texans in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Next: How Will Packers' Second-Year Players Fare?

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