Falcons candidate for Defensive Player of the Year: Troy Andersen, LB
I am going with a dark horse here for the Atlanta Falcons. Troy Andersen struggled as a rookie but he could be primed for a breakout season in his second year. The Falcons clearly trust him to be their top off-ball linebacker.
I initially was going to go with A.J. Terrell but I immediately remembered how special he was in 2021 and yet he didn't get a second of consideration for the award. Jessie Bates also seems like a possibility, nevertheless, much like Clark Phillips, Troy Andersen is a player who can make the 'wow' plays.
He is so athletic which will set him up with opportunities to get his hands on passes and potentially score a couple of touchdowns. He would have to record some sacks, interceptions, and triple-digit tackles to be considered for Defensive Player of the Year, but there is reason to think he could do just that.
Think about what Demario Davis has meant to the Saints, Andersen could be Ryan Nielsen's Davis—a much more talented Davis.