2021 NFL DPOY Predictions
Jeffrey T. Barnes:AP

2021 NFL DPOY Predictions Heading Into The Season

They might as well name the DPOY award the Aaron Donald Award at this point. The Rams lineman has won the award three times, joining JJ Watt and Lawrence Taylor as the only players to do so. With a number of elite pass rushers, line backers and defensive backs, DPOY is always a tough decision to make. Barring any crazy preseason injuries, here are my 2021 NFL DPOY predictions.

2021 NFL DPOY Predictions – #1 TJ Watt

I assumed TJ Watt was a lock to win the award in 2020. He finished the season with 15 sacks , 53 combined tackles, an interception and two forced fumbles. Watt has been an absolute menace in Pittsburgh since arriving in 2017. With three straight 13 sack seasons spanning back to 2018, he is one of the elite pass rushers in the NFL.

Watt headlines a scary Pittsburgh defense that includes Minkah Fitzpatrick, Devin Bush, Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt. With a number of players to account for, Watt is going to feast on offensive lineman who have to block him one-on-one. His speed and explosiveness off the edge is unmatched.

2021 NFL DPOY Predictions – #2 Aaron Donald

At this point, Aaron Donald is going to be in the DPOY conversation for the rest of his career. He is the best interior defensive lineman this league has ever seen and could go down as one of the best defensive players in the history of football. The man is simply a force to be reckoned with.

The Rams are going to be pretty damn good in 2021 and they should lead in most of their games with the addition of Matt Stafford. This will force the opposing offense to start airing the ball out, ultimately giving more opportunities for Donald to get after the quarterback.

I do think there is a little DPOY fatigue when it comes to Donald à la Giannis Antetokounmpo and the NBA MVP Award. Donald will need a historic season if he wants to take home the award because voters expect greatness from him year in and year out.

2021 NFL DPOY Predictions – #3 Myles Garrett

I wrote an article about two months ago pondering whether or not Garett could win a DPOY, and I fully expect him to be in the conversation for the duration of the season. Garrett is the only player on Cleveland’s front seven who can consitently get to the quarterback.

The Browns completely retooled their secondary and added Jadeveon Clowney to an already loaded defensive front. A better secondary that can lock down receivers for an extended period of time only benefits Garrett, as he will have more time to get to quarterback. Line him opposite side of Jadeveon Clowney and the offensive line is going to have their hands full blocking such a dynamic duo.

Even if Garrett does not take home DPOY, I predict he leads the league in sacks and QB hurries. He is a dynamic athletes with a unique combination of speed and power.

2021 NFL DPOY Predictions – Dark Horse – Chase Young

Chase Young performed as advertised in his first year with the Washington Football Team. Young provided a consistent rush off the edge and took home the defensive rookie of the year award in 2020. The logical next step for Young is pushing for the DPOY award, and the WFT has put together one of the best front sevens in football to help him accomplish said feat. With guys like Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, and rookie Jamin Davis, offenses are going to have to pick their position when it comes to blocking these guys.

Young does not exactly fill up the stat sheet like Watt or Donald but his impact on the game cannot go unnoticed. Last season, it looked as though Young was either hurrying the quarterback or disrupting the run game on every snap he played. He is going to be star in the years to come.

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