Two previous NFL Defensive Player of the Year award winners are among the favorites to be named the 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Aaron Donald is the best defensive player in the NFL and a three-time winner, and he will always be among the top contenders to earn this honor. Last year’s winner T.J. Watt is among the favorites too, although the Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to finish in last place in the AFC North. Myles Garrett and Micah Parsons are the other players with odds of less than 10-1.
|PLAYER ||ODDS |
|Myles Garrett ||+650 |
|T.J. Watt ||+700 |
|Aaron Donald ||+750 |
|Micah Parsons ||+800 |
|Nick Bosa ||+1100 |
|Joey Bosa ||+1800 |
|Khalil Mack ||+2000 |
|Chase Young ||+2200 |
|Maxx Crosby ||+2500 |
|Von Miller ||+2500 |
The slight favorite to be named the 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year is Myles Garrett. The former No. 1 overall pick has been an elite pass rusher during his time with the Cleveland Browns, and he was the favorite to be named DPOY through the first month of the 2021 season. Garrett ranked third in the NFL with 16 sacks last season, and he is in the prime of his career at 26 years old. If Cleveland’s offense can make the improvement that many are expecting with Deshaun Watson under center, Garrett will have more opportunities to get to the quarterback, and he could record 20 sacks if he stays healthy.
T.J. Watt tied Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record in 2021. Although the NFL season was one game longer, Watt didn’t play in two games, so he recorded 22.5 sacks in one fewer game than Strahan. That made Watt the easy choice to win DPOY, but it will be very difficult for Watt to repeat. The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the middle of a rebuild even if they are keeping a lot of their starters, and this offense will be worse than it was in 2021. This defense just won’t have as many chances as it had last year although all of the star players are back.
It's hard to argue against Aaron Donald being named NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Donald has already won this award three times, and he has finished in the top five in voting for seven straight years. He is widely heralded as the most dominant defensive player in the league, so voters may want to make him the most decorated defensive player in NFL history if he has another sensational season. Donald was instrumental to the Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl run, but he is on the wrong side of 30.
Last season’s Defensive Rookie of the Year is now one of the top contenders to be named DPOY. Micah Parsons was incredible in his first season with the Dallas Cowboys, registering 13 sacks on his way to being a unanimous DROY selection. Parsons was also the distant runner-up to Watt in the DPOY voting, as Dallas players always seem to get a little extra boost when it comes to vote totals.
Nick Bosa won the 2019 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award, and he finished last year with 15.5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss. Bosa has the potential for a big year in 2022 as well, as the San Francisco 49ers are one of the most talented defenses in the league. Arik Armstead, Dee Ford, and Javon Kinlaw will keep defenses from focusing too much attention on Bosa.
There are some other intriguing options if you dig deeper into the odds. Khalil Mack has the potential to thrive with the Los Angeles Chargers, and he has been named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in the past and was runner-up on another occasion. Von Miller might post big numbers on his new team too. A few Tampa Bay Buccaneers might have the juiciest odds if you are looking to take a shot though as Shaquil Barrett and Devin White are both 50-1 on a team that should win 12 or 13 games.
2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Pick: Aaron Donald
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