Cleveland’s Myles Garrett is Among the Front-Runners for Defensive Player of the Year award
It is crowded at the top in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year odds. Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ T.J. Watt, and Aaron Donald of the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams lead the way accordingly with +700 odds.
Last year’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys isn’t far off. He is followed by Nick Bosa of the San Francisco 49ers.
There’s a bit of a drop off from the top five.
Good luck finding a rookie in the Defensive Player of the Year race with Detroit’s Aidan Hutchinson leading the way and he is tied for 67th.
Donald is Always a Strong Choice
Since the Associated Press began giving out the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1971, no player has won the award more than three times. That could change in 2022.
Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams is currently tied for the best odds to win the award at +700. He also won the award in 2017, 2018, and 2020 tying him with former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor and current Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman J.J. Watt for the record.
Donald isn’t going to finish with more tackles or sacks than some of the other top NFL players, but there is not another defensive player who keeps opposing defensive coordinators awake at night more than Donald.
Garrett, Watt to Track Down Quarterbacks
The last No. 1 overall draft pick to be named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press is Bruce Smith of the Buffalo Bills. He won the award for the second and final time in 1996.
There is plenty of disfunction with the Browns. However, one constant with the team is the production by Garrett. He has four straight years of recording at least 10 sacks and is coming off a career-high 16 sacks a season ago.
Players to win back-to-back AP Defensive Player of the Year awards include Donald, J.J. Watt, and Taylor. Could it become a family affair?
T.J. Watt was last year’s winner after leading the NFL with 22.5 sacks. He has gone from finishing third in 2019, second in 2020, and finally winning the award in 2021. It would be rather remarkable if he joined his brother as a back-to-back winner of the honor.
Parsons is Looking for an Encore
It is not unusual to see a player who previously won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award to win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award later in his career; however, Parsons is trying to accomplish that feat in back-to-back seasons.
The only other player to accomplish that was the incomparable Lawrence Taylor. Actually, Taylor won his first NFL Defensive Player of the Year honor as a rookie and captured the award again the following season.
That is a pretty impressive company that Parsons could find himself in.
It seems safe to assume that teams have been studying the tape from Parsons’ impressive rookie season and they will make it more difficult for him to get to the quarterbacks as often as he did a season ago.
Bosa Brothers are Both in the DPOY Mix
What the Watt brothers are doing is impressive, however, another brother tandem is keeping the art of sacking the quarterback in the family.
Nick Bosa of San Francisco has the fifth-best odds at +1100 to win the Defensive Player of the Year award. His older brother Joey of the Los Angeles Chargers isn’t far behind at +2000.
Nick Bosa had 15.5 sacks in his third season in the NFL while Joey Bosa has hit double digits in sacks four times in his first six NFL seasons.
Old Faces in New Places
The list of candidates includes players who have found a new home in 2022.
Khalil Mack is back in the AFC with the Los Angeles Chargers. He began his career with the Raiders and after four seasons there, he was traded to Chicago. After another four-year run, Mack is on the move again.
Von Miller spent most of his career with the Denver Broncos. He was traded to the Los Angeles Rams and helped the Rams win the Super Bowl. Now he is with Super Bowl favorite Buffalo and comes in at +5000 to win the Defensive Player of the Year award.
Mack’s odds are +2000 and Miller’s odds are currently at +5000.
Cornerback J.C. Jackson, who moved from the New England Patriots to the Chargers, has +5000 odds to be named the NFL’s top defensive player. Former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Randy Gregory, now with the Denver Broncos, isn’t far behind at +6000. Those are the same odds that Bobby Wagner, now with the Rams, and Chandler Jones of the Raiders have in their first seasons with new teams.Follow us on Twitter