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The Pro Football Writers of America announced today that Rams' defensive tackle Aaron Donald was selected as their Defensive Player of the Year. The Penn Hills and Pitt product beat out T.J. Watt for the honor, who many consider the odds-on favorite to win the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year award, which will be announced at the NFL Honors show on the night before Super Bowl LV.
The NFL and NFLPA treats PFWA, AP, Sporting News and Sports Illustrated equally in CBA for awards. The NFL has a marketing agreement with the AP to present its major awards at NFL Honors. So, the official DPOY announcement won't be made until Feb. 6.
In 15 games, Watt led the league in sacks (15), tackles for loss (23) and quarterback hits (41). Donald finished the season tied for second with 13.5 sacks in 16 games and was tied for sixth in tackles for loss (14) and tied for fifth in quarterback hits (27).
Watt joined his brother J.J. and Donald as the only players with 15-plus sacks and 40-plus QB hits in a season since QB hits were first tracked in 2006. In every year that J.J. put up those numbers with the Texans, he was named DPOY (2012, 2014 and 2015). Likewise for Donald when he won the award for the second straight year in 2018.
With Donald being the only defensive player voted unanimously as All-Pro by the AP and now being selected as DPOY by PFWA, it looks like Watt could get snubbed from winning DPOY again for the second year in a row, despite having better numbers than Donald. Five out of the last seven years PFWA and the AP nominated the same player for DPOY.