Why T.J. Watt should win DPOY despite not playing in final game

T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99). Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

Aaron Donald has been dominant, but modest production

As I mentioned, you could make a case for Aaron Donald winning the Defensive Player of the Year award in just about every season. He has been one of the most utterly dominant players in the history of the NFL, and his name will be near the top of the list of players who ever played the game when it’s all said and done. However, from a statistical standpoint, he hasn’t been as dominant as in years past.

While Donald has recorded an impressive 13.5 sacks, his 12 tackles for a loss currently sits at his personal career-low over his since joining the league in 2014. In addition, his 26 quarterback hits are a far cry from the 41 he saw the last time he won the award following the 2018 season. However, the biggest difference this year has been his pressures. While 42 is still good for 3rd in the league as of now, he saw a whopping 70 pressures when he won DPOY in 2018.

There are other reasons for this decline in production. As one of the most dominant players in football, Donald is constantly double-teamed, yet he still has the highest pass-rush win-rate among interior defensive linemen. Still, Watt’s statistical production heads and shoulders above Donald this year – who is the only other realistic option to come away with the award at this point.