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Nick Bosa won Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2022.
Micah Parsons entered the 2023 NFL season as the favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year.
Three different players have taken home DPOTY honors three times.
Every year, the top defensive player in the NFL during the season is recognized with the Defensive Player of the Year Award. It doesn’t matter if they’re linemen in the trenches, linebackers covering the field, or defensive backs playing in the secondary, all defensive players are eligible and capable of winning the honor.
Nick Bosa barely edged out Micah Parsons for Defensive Player of the Year in 2022. By doing so, Bosa joined a long list of great players to win Defensive Player of the Year. Since defensive players almost never win MVP, this is the pre-eminent award for NFL defensive players.
During the 2023 NFL season, we’ll keep track of the betting odds and the top contenders for DPOTY.
We’ll break down the top players on that side of the ball and let you know who is trending in the right direction toward winning the award and who offers the most value from a betting perspective. Let’s take a look at where the top defensive players in the NFL stand right now with regard to their chances of winning Defensive Player of the Year in 2023.
|Myles Garrett||Defensive End||Cleveland Browns||+110|
|Micah Parsons||Linebacker||Dallas Cowboys||+200|
|T.J. Watt||Linebacker||Pittsburgh Steelers||+275|
|Nick Bosa||Defensive End||San Francisco 49ers||+2000|
|Maxx Crosby||Defensive End||Las Vegas Raiders||+2200|
|Aidan Hutchinson||Defensive End||Detroit Lions||+2200|
|Chris Jones||Defensive Tackle||Kansas City Chiefs||+2200|
|Fred Warner||Linebacker||San Francisco 49ers||+3000|
|Danielle Hunter||Defensive End||Minnesota Vikings||+3000|
|Haason Reddick||Defensive End||Philadelphia Eagles||+7500|
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It’s taken a little bit of time but Garrett has finally moved himself into the top position as betting favorite for Defensive Player of the Year honors. The caveat is that there are no fewer than two outstanding candidates breathing right down his neck. Also, at +110, he doesn’t hold as much value as he had earlier in the season. But his two sacks in an ugly 13-10 win over the Steelers in Week 11 made a statement. Garrett has now recorded at least one sack in five straight games, totaling 7.5 sacks during that span. After Week 11, he stands alone as the NFL’s sack leader with 13, and if he can stay on top in that category, he’s going to be tough to beat for DPOTY, especially since he’s on pace for 22 sacks.
Even with 2.5 sacks against the Panthers in Week 11, Parsons saw his odds slip from +180 after Week 9 to +200 after Week 11. Obviously, Garrett has had a lot to do with that, but Parsons still has 10 sacks this year. That’s a strong total for a linebacker who does more than rush the passer. Fortunately for Parsons, Dallas has a top-five defense and the Cowboys will play five of their last seven games against winning teams, giving him a great opportunity to showcase himself as the NFL’s best defensive player.
Watt has refused to go away as the third member in a three-horse despite his odds moving from +200 to +275 over the last two weeks. Despite collecting a sack in three consecutive games, Watt trails Garrett by 1.5 sacks for the league lead. Watt’s path to becoming Defensive Player of the Year is to overcome Garrett and others to lead the NFL in sacks, preferably with a total of 20 sacks or more. It would also help if the Steelers can remain in the playoff picture, although that’s far from a guarantee heading into the stretch run, which could hurt Watt’s chances.
It looks like Bosa is going to make one last stand in his effort to repeat as Defensive Player of the Year. Two weeks ago, he had +3500 odds, but those odds have moved to +2000 coming out of Week 11. That’s a big jump after Bosa collected 2.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery over the past two weeks. With Chase Young added to the San Francisco defensive line, Bosa is getting more opportunities and taking advantage of them. Don’t forget that he’s arguably the most important player on the NFL’s best defense. The catch is that Bosa probably needs several multi-sack games late in the year to give himself a realistic chance to be DPOTY for a second straight season. But that’s not exactly impossible for a player with his pass-rushing abilities.
Crosby’s odds to be Defensive Player of the Year are holding steady at +2200. But that means he’s running out of time to make a serious push. After his three-sack performance against the Giants in Week 9, Crosby has only added one sack to his tally. The good news is that he still ranks in the top five among sack leaders. However, Crosby’s hopes are slipping because he plays for an average defense and hasn’t done much since his breakout performance against the Giants.
Detroit’s success is certainly helping to keep Hutchinson in the Defensive Player of the Year discussion. While his odds have dropped from +2000 to +2200 over the last two weeks, Hutchinson’s streak of four games without a sack finally ended in Week 11. He also forced the fumble that led to the game-sealing safety. There’s no question that he’s made a huge impact for the Lions this year, which is why oddsmakers haven’t forgotten him while going a month without a sack. However, it’s time for Hutchinson to start racking up sacks so that his numbers line up with the impact he’s making on the field.
Despite fading from the race with +3500 odds a couple of weeks ago, Jones is back in the mix at +2200 after Week 11. Even if he did it in a losing effort against the Eagles, his two sacks in Week 11 gave Jones a huge boost. He’s now on pace for close to 13 sacks, which is exceptional for an interior lineman. If Jones can continue to collect sacks and the Chiefs continue to have a top-five defense, he remains an intriguing dark horse in the DPOTY race.
Unfortunately for Warner, he’s about 30 tackles off the NFL lead. For a middle linebacker, leading the league in tackles is usually a prerequisite for winning Defensive Player of the Year. On the other hand, he’s essentially the quarterback of the NFL’s best defense. Warners, three interceptions, three forced fumbles, and 2.5 sacks also help his resume. It’s tough to see his path to winning Defensive Player of the Year. However, Warner is having another great year and needs to be mentioned among the elite defensive players in the league.
Hunter is just one off the NFL lead in sacks and playing for a team that has made an incredible turnaround this season, helping to put him on the radar for Defensive Player of the Year. He’s far from the flashiest player or the best-known pass rusher. However, collecting at least one sack in nine of Minnesota’s 11 games speaks for itself. Unfortunately, his lack of notoriety could hurt his DPOTY chances. Hunter needs to keep racking up the sacks because his path to Defensive Player of the Year includes leading the league in sacks and the Vikings making the playoffs. It’s possible for that scenario to play out, but the odds are still against him.
The value for Garrett winning Defensive Player of the Year is as low as it’s been all year. However, now that he has the inside track, it’s hard to envision him giving it up. Garrett has been building toward becoming the league’s best defensive player for a few years and he finally seems to be there. Leading the league in sacks is just part of the equation for him. He’s making a profound impact for a great defense on a team that’s 7-3 and will need to win with defense the rest of the way. That amounts to a perfect storm that makes Garrett a safe choice to be Defensive Player of the Year in 2023.
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa won the 2022 DPOY with 51 tackles, 18.5 sacks (the most in the league), and two forced fumbles. The Niners also gave up the fewest points and second-fewest yards per game, which made it a fairly straightforward process giving him the award.
The AP Defensive Player of the Year History was introduced in 1971 and has been handed out at the end of every NFL season since. It is voted upon by a panel of 50 sportswriters and is presented by the Associated Press.
|1971||Alan Page||DT||Minnesota Vikings|
|1972||Joe Greene||DT||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|1973||Dick Anderson||S||Miami Dolphins|
|1974||Joe Greene||DT||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|1975||Mel Blount||CB||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|1976||Jack Lambert||LB||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|1977||Harvey Martin||DE||Dallas Cowboys|
|1978||Randy Gardishar||LB||Denver Broncos|
|1979||Lee Roy Selmon||DE||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|1980||Lester Hayes||CB||Oakland Raiders|
|1981||Lawrence Taylor||OLB||New York Giants|
|1982||Lawrence Taylor||OLB||New York Giants|
|1983||Doug Better||DE||Miami Dolphins|
|1984||Kenny Easley||S||Seattle Seahawks|
|1985||Mike Singletary||LB||Chicago Bears|
|1986||Lawrence Taylor||OLB||New York Giants|
|1987||Reggie White||DE||Philadelphia Eagles|
|1988||Mike Singletary||LB||Chicago Bears|
|1989||Keith Millard||DE||Minnesota Vikings|
|1990||Bruce Smith||DE||Buffalo Bills|
|1991||Pat Swilling||LB||New Orleans Saints|
|1992||Cortez Kennedy||DT||Seattle Seahawks|
|1993||Rod Woodson||CB||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|1994||Deion Sanders||CB||San Francisco 49ers|
|1995||Bryce Paup||LB||Buffalo Bills|
|1996||Bruce Smith||DE||Buffalo Bills|
|1997||Dana Stubblefield||DT||San Francisco 49ers|
|1998||Reggie White||DE||Green Bay Packers|
|1999||Warren Sapp||DT||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|2000||Ray Lewis||ILB||Baltimore Ravens|
|2001||Michael Strahan||DE||New York Giants|
|2002||Derrick Brooks||LB||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|2003||Ray Lewis||ILB||Baltimore Ravens|
|2004||Ed Reed||S||Baltimore Ravens|
|2005||Brian Urlacher||ILB||Chicago Bears|
|2006||Jason Taylor||DE||Miami Dolphins|
|2007||Bob Sanders||S||Indianapolis Colts|
|2008||James Harrison||OLB||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|2009||Charles Woodson||CB||Green Bay Packers|
|2010||Troy Polamalu||S||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|2011||Terrell Suggs||OLB||Baltimore Ravens|
|2012||J.J. Watt||DE||Houston Texans|
|2013||Luke Kuechly||ILB||Carolina Panthers|
|2014||J.J. Watt||DE||Houston Texans|
|2015||J.J. Watt||DE||Houston Texans|
|2016||Khalil Mack||DE||Oakland Raiders|
|2017||Aaron Donald||DT||Los Angeles Rams|
|2018||Aaron Donald||DT||Los Angeles Rams|
|2019||Stephon Gilmore||CB||New England Patriots|
|2020||Aaron Donald||DT||Los Angeles Rams|
|2021||T.J. Watt||OLB||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|2022||Nick Bosa||DE||San Francisco 49ers|
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The AP Defensive Player of the Year is a yearly award handed to the most dominant defensive player in the NFL. It is voted upon by a collection of 50 media members.
Nick Bosa won the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year after an excellent season at defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers. He racked up a league-high 18.5 sacks to go with 51 tackles and two forced fumbles while anchoring a defense that ranked first in points and second in yards surrendered.
The Defensive Player of the Year can play any position on the field. Eight of the last nine winners have either been on the defensive line or primary pass-rushers, including the incumbent, Nick Bosa.
Lawrence Taylor, J.J. Watt, and Aaron Donald are the only players that have won the Defensive Player of the Year three times. Nobody has won the award more than that, and five players have won it twice.
Traditionally, MVP voting has heavily favored offensive players over those on defense. However, two defensive players won the MVP the same year they won the DPOY: Alan Page in 1971 (the year the award was introduced) and Lawrence Taylor in 1986.
Bryan Zarpentine is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University and has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 2010. During that time, he has contributed to countless sites while covering baseball, soccer, the NFL, college football, and college basketball.More info on Bryan Zarpentine
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