Defensive Player of the Year:
Likely Winners – Micah Parsons, Myles Garrett, T.J. Watt, Nick Bosa, Sauce Gardner
Falcons’ Best Chance – A.J. Terrell
Throughout the history of the NFL, sacks are typically viewed as one of the most important stats when it comes to defense. Knowing that helps us recognize why four of the top five candidates for this award are elite pass-rushers who have a strong knack for taking down opposing quarterbacks.
Parsons, Garrett, Watt, and Bosa are all candidates to go off for 15-20 sacks this year, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see this be a close competition throughout the year. Sauce Gardner is the wild factor of the group though. He was amazing last year, and he’ll be expected to take another leap forward this year and continue his play as a shutdown corner.
The Atlanta Falcons haven’t been known for their defense in a long time, but A.J. Terrell has a claim as one of the best cornerbacks in the league. He’s provided strong play since joining the organization and is currently listed as their best bet for winning this award. It would take a truly stupendous season for him to snag this, but an All-Pro or Pro Bowl honor isn’t out of consideration.