2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year

The odds and predictions of the 2019 AP Defensive Player of the Year have been set, so we take a closer look at the Top-Ten Candidates who are the most likely NFL athletes to earn that esteemed honor.

At the end of every season, the Associated Press names their NFL defensive player of the year, so every prior offseason the odds makers set the odds and predictions on which player will earn that career-changing honor.

In 2019, the overall favorite will surprise zero football fans, especially given that this incredible athlete has won the prestigious award for the last two seasons in a row.

Below we count down the top ten defensive NFL players who are most likely to be named the 2019 AP Defensive Player of the Year according to the current odds and predictions that are available, along with their 2018 stats line and a brief analysis of each one’s upcoming season.

Here are the current odds listed for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2019:

If you live in New Jersey and want to bet on futures in NFL you can do so on 888sport. Check out the latest odds here.

Good luck!

 Chandler Jones, Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker

Sportsbook Defensive Player of the Year Link
888Sport NJ +3300

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Age: 29 

NFL Seasons: 7

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 265-pounds

2018 Stats Line: 13.0 sacks, 49 tackles (13 for loss), 18 quarterback hits, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery and 4 passes defended.

Analysis: Former Super Bowl Champion and 2x Pro Bowler and a First-team All-Pro linebacker Chandler Jones sacked 13 quarterbacks last season, tied for seventh most in the league.

The Cardinals 20th ranked defense will now be coordinated by Vance Joseph, a veteran of the job who was considered successful in Miami during the 2016 season but who lost much of his glitter during his 11-21 run in Denver over the last two seasons.

General manager Steve Keim has given Jones some excellent midfield help by signing successful veteran linebackers Jordan Hicks and Terrell Suggs during the offseason.

Danielle Hunter, Minnesota Vikings defensive end

Sportsbook Defensive Player of the Year Link
888Sport NJ +3300

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Age: 24

NFL Seasons: 4

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 252-pounds

2018 Stats Line: 14.5 sacks, 72 tackles (21 for loss), 19 quarterback hits and 1 fumble recovery returned for a 32-yard touchdown.

Analysis: Last season was Danielle Hunter’s best in the NFL, having been selected for the Pro-Bowl and as a Second-team All-Pro for the first time in his five-year career.

2018 was a season of proof for Hunter after signing a five-year extension with the team worth $72 million, with $40 million of that money guaranteed along with a $15 million signing bonus.

General manager Rick Spielman has given Hunter and his line some inside help by signing tackle Shamar Stephen in the offseason, so look for Hunter and his Vikings’ already stellar 3rd ranked passing defense to be equally effective in 2019.

Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers strong safety

Sportsbook Defensive Player of the Year Link
888Sport NJ +2800

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Age: 22

NFL Seasons: 1

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 215-pounds

2018 Stats Line: 3.5 sacks, 105 tackles (4 for loss), 6 quarterback hits, 3 interceptions and 13 passes defended.

Analysis: In 2018, Derwin James dominated and he was selected as a First-team All-Pro, played in the Pro Bowl and was named an All-Rookie.

Of course it doesn’t hurt to guard the Chargers’ secondary with the help of two other First-team All-Pros, free safety Adrian Phillips and cornerback Desmond King.

Last season, the Chargers’ pass defense ranked 9th in the league under then second-year coordinator Gus Bradley’s leadership, so all things being equal, James will have every chance to follow up his outstanding freshman performance in 2019.

Demarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys defensive end

Sportsbook Defensive Player of the Year Link
888Sport NJ +2000

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

Age: 27

NFL Seasons: 5

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 265-pounds

2018 Stats Line: 10.5 sacks, 64 tackles (15 for loss), 23 quarterback hits, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 pass defended and 1 interception.

Analysis: 2x Pro Bowler Demarcus “Tank” Lawrence now has a new sacking partner, end Robert Quinn, who had 6.5 sacks last season while playing for the Miami Dolphins.

Their goal will to be to improve on the Cowboys’ already solid seventh ranked defense that last season allowed opponents an average of just 329.2 total offensive yards per game but whose sack total of 39 was tied for sixteenth in the NFL.

Unable to come to terms on a long-term deal, in March the Cowboys placed the franchise tag on Lawrence for the second season in a row (making him the highest paid end in the league), then in April owner and general manager Jerry Jones did the right thing and signed Tank to a five-year deal worth a total of $105 million, with $65 million of that money guaranteed.

Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers defensive end

Sportsbook Defensive Player of the Year Link
888Sport NJ +1800

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

Age: 23

NFL Seasons: 3

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 280-pounds

2018 Stats Line (7 games): 5.5 sacks, 23 tackles (7 for loss), 9 quarterback hits and 1 fumble recovery.

Analysis: A serious foot injury sidelined Joey Bosa for much of the 2018 season, but despite his late arrival Bosa made an impact with 5.5 sacks in the regular season plus a sack, three tackles and a quarterback hit in the Chargers’ two playoff games.

The Chargers are so convinced that Bosa can stay healthy that they picked up the fifth-year option on his contract and allowed him to switch numbers, from 99 to the 97 he wore during his playing days at THE Ohio State.

Now pulling offensive double-team attention away from Bosa and his counterpart end Melvin Ingram will be first-rounder Jerry Tillery out of Notre Dame, the 300-pound tackle who can be an effective interior pass rusher assuming he can fully recover from last season’s shoulder surgery by training camp at the end of July.

Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns defensive end

Sportsbook Defensive Player of the Year Link
888Sport NJ +1200

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Age: 23

NFL Seasons: 2

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 272-pounds

2018 Stats Line: 13.5 sacks, 44 tackles (12 for loss), 29 quarterback hits, 3 forced fumbles and 3 passes defended.

Analysis: In his second NFL season (and on a 30th ranked defense), Myles Garrett was the league’s fifth most effective sacker and as a result he was selected to the Pro Bowl and was a Second-team All-Pro.

The former first overall pick in the 2017 draft saw limited play his rookie season due to a high ankle sprain at the beginning of the year, but Garrett stayed healthy in 2018 and started all sixteen games.

Garrett will now be led by new defensive coordinator (and recently fired Arizona Cardinals head coach) Steve Wilks, and since Myles will now be joined at the line by newly signed end Pro-Bowl end Olivier Vernon and tackle Sheldon Richardson, any double-teams on the former All-Rookie should now be a thing of the past.

Von Miller Denver Broncos outside linebacker

Sportsbook Defensive Player of the Year Link
888Sport NJ +1000

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Age: 30

NFL Seasons: 8

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 250-pounds

2018 Stats Line: 14.5 sacks, 48 tackles (14 for loss), 26 quarterback hits, 4 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 3 passes defended and 1 interception.

Analysis: Von Miller is healthy, as usual, so the Super Bowl MVP, 7x Pro Bowler, 3x First-team, 4x Second-team All-Pro and former NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year is definitely in the running for the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Especially given that his Broncos are now being head coached and defensively coordinated by Vic Fangio, the guru who devised the Chicago Bears’ 3rd ranked defensive scheme in 2018.

Fangio will improve the Broncos’ 22nd ranked defense by taking better advantage of the fact that All-Rookie linebacker Bradley Chubb is now crushing runners and rushing quarterbacks alongside Miller, so offensive lineman can’t double-team either without suffering the consequences.  

J.J. Watt, Houston Texans defensive end

Sportsbook Defensive Player of the Year Link
888Sport NJ +700

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Age: 30

NFL Seasons: 8

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 288-pounds

2018 Stats Line: 16.0 sacks, 61 tackles (18 for loss), 25 quarterback hits, 7 forced fumbles and 4 passes defended.

Analysis: In the past, the only thing that has ever seemed to slow the eternally revving motor of J.J. Watt is injury, which limited his snaps in 2016 and 2017, but 2018 was an entirely different story and Watt stayed healthy enough to start in all sixteen regular season games and in their postseason matchup.

Last season, for the fifth time in his career, Watt was selected to the Pro Bowl and First-team All-Pro, and his 16 sacks were the second most in the league behind Donald’s 20.5.

The Texans were ranked 28th against the pass last year, so second-year general manager Brian Gaine beefed up the secondary by signing strong safety Tashaun Gipson and cornerback Bradley Roby, whose tighter coverage could give Watt and company an extra second or so to get after opposing quarterbacks in 2019.

Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears outside linebacker

Sportsbook Defensive Player of the Year Link
888Sport NJ +350

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Age: 28

NFL Seasons: 2

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 252-pounds

2018 Stats Line: 12.5 sacks, 47 tackles (10 for loss), 18 quarterback hits, 6 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 4 passes defended and 1 interception.

Analysis: Nobody could figure out exactly why the Oakland Raiders were willing to trade away hold-out Khalil Mack before the 2018 season got started, but the Chicago Bears benefited from the surprising decision, absolutely.

Of course, it didn’t hurt Mack’s 2018 production to have All-Rookie linebacker Roquan Smith and linebacker Danny Trevathan (with his 100+ tackles) lining up next to him, and now add to that defensive mix free agent pick-up strong safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (WSH) and Mack’s 2019 looks just as promising.

The biggest question that Mack and the others on D will have to answer in 2019 is: can they be as effective without defensive coordinator Vic Fangio (now the Denver Broncos’ head coach) and with his replacement, the well-rested former Indianapolis Colts’ head coach, Chuck Pagano?  

Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle

Sportsbook Defensive Player of the Year Link
888Sport NJ +200

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Age: 28

NFL Seasons: 5

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 285-pounds

2018 Stats Line: 20.5 sacks, 59 tackles (25 for loss), 41 quarterback hits, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 pass defended.

Analysis: Some experts might argue that Aaron Donald is the best overall player in the NFL right now, but on the defensive side of the ball, there is definitely nobody better.

Donald has been the NFL Defensive player of the year for the last two seasons, he has been selected to the Pro Bowl in every one of his five NFL seasons and has been a First-team All-Pro for the last four years.

His 20.5 sacks led the league last season, and with the addition of newly signed inside linebacker Clay Mathews and free safety Eric Weddle now helping to guard the Rams’ secondary, it’s likely Donald will be given even more time to chase down quarterbacks in 2019.

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