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T.J. Watt finished third in voting for Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year last season and many felt he got snubbed by not winning the award. If Watt doesn't win DPOY this year then something is seriously wrong with the voting process.
With all due respect to Rams' defensive tackle and Pitt product, Aaron Donald -- Watt should without a doubt win DPOY. Just look at the stats. Watt leads the league in sacks (15), tackles for a loss (23) and quarterback hits (41). Watt also has 53 total tackles, 43 of those being solos, two forced fumbles, seven passes defended and one interception.
Here are Donald's numbers -- 41 total tackles, 24 of those being solos, 13.5 sacks, 12 tackles for a loss, 26 quarterback hits and four forced fumbles. Donald having 13.5 sacks as a defensive tackle is insane, but Watt leads him in pretty much every major defensive statistical category.
Dolphins' cornerback Xavien Howard leads the league in interceptions with nine and is also No. 1 in passes defended with 19. Howard could be in the running with Watt and Donald as well for DPOY, but I still think Watt is more deserving of the award.
Browns' defensive end Myles Garrett has been mentioned as well for DPOY, but he's missed two games due to being on the reserve/COVID-19 list and has just 10 tackles for a loss and 18 quarterback hits this year. Watt's numbers in key areas are a lot better.
According to Sportsbetting.com, when Watt added two more sacks this past Sunday against the Colts, which brought him to a league-high 15, he became the odds-on favorite to win DPOY over Donald and the rest of the field. Watt has the best odds at -180. The three players following Watt are Donald (+220), Howard (+600) and Garrett (+2000).
Watt has 10 more quarterback hits than the next closest pass rusher, who is Bengals' defensive end Carl Lawson, according to Next Gen Stats. Watt also leads the league in tackles for a loss or no gain against the run with 15, per Pro Football Focus.
In addition, Watt has 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. T.J. should be next, and it should be an obvious choice.
Mike Tomlin would concur.
"T.J. (Watt) is visiting from another planet, to be quite honest with you," Tomlin said on Tuesday during his weekly press conference when asked about what makes Watt elite. "He has freakishly unique talent coupled with freakishly unique work habits and mindset, and it produces what you guys witness every week, which in my opinion, is Defensive Player of the Year quality."