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Texans defensive end J.J. Watt near-unanimous choice for 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year

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J.J. Watt was named the 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year (USA Today Sports Images)

By a nearly unanimous vote, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was named The Associated Press 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year on Saturday night.

Watt received 49 of a possible 50 votes from a nationwide panel of voters. The other vote went to Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller.

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Watt, a 2011 first-round pick out of Wisconsin, led the NFL with 20.5 sacks this season. In addition to his prolific season rushing the passer, Watt had 81 tackles, 39 tackles for a loss and 42 hits on opposing quarterbacks. The 6-foot-6, 295-pound Watt tied for the Texans' team lead with 16 passes defensed, while also forcing four fumbles and recovering two fumbles.

In two postseason games, Watt had nine tackles, 1.5 sacks and two passes defensed.

Miller, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft and the AP's 2011 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, had 68 tackles, 18.5 sacks, 28 tackles for loss, 25 quarterback hits, six forced fumbles and an interception in 2012.

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