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Sheldon Richardson believes he’s just as good a defensive lineman as J.J. Watt

Sheldon Richardson generally is lauded as one of the better defensive lineman in the league — a 2013 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award provides ample evidence of that.

But to hear it from the New York Jets player himself, he deserves to be included in any discussion related to who are the best defensive linemen in the league.

In fact, Richardson puts himself on par with Houston Texans all-world defensive standout J.J. Watt.

“J.J. Watt, he’s got a few more sacks than me, but it’s the same type of disruption,” Richardson told ESPN New York. “He’s a little more active, I’ll give you that, but we have the same type of determination, same heart, same skills. He scores touchdowns, I score touchdowns.”

Richardson, who scored two touchdowns during his rookie campaign, has yet to reach the end zone this season like Watt, who has scored five touchdowns, three on offense.

Still, along with Watt, Richardson also insists that he’s on-par with other defensive line greats currently dominating the line of scrimmage in NFL games. He included the names of Detroit Lions star Ndamukong Suh and Tampa Bay Buccaneers standout Gerald McCoy as players among his elite NFL peers.

“The same people you see mentioned every day, getting big contracts, I’m on the same level,” Richardson said. “I don’t put them over me, I don’t put them under me. Most definitely, it’s the same comparison, really.

“You name it, I’ll put myself up there. I’m not scared to say it. You don’t get to this point not being confident. If somebody calls me cocky, oh well, they’ll get over it.”

As far as the Richardson-Watt comparison is concerned, the second-year Jets player has 6.5 sacks this season, Watt has 16.5.

Richardson isn’t quite a Watt-like force at this stage in his career, but he clearly has the confidence — and arguably the skill — to one day be worthy of comparison to the Texans superstar. Just not yet.

(photo credit: Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post)