The Case For Myles Garrett To Win NFL Defensive Player of the Year

The Case For Myles Garrett To Win NFL Defensive Player of the Year

Ayden Fahlstrom
2 years ago
3 min read

With a Deshaun Watson suspension looming, there is considerable mystery cloaked over the Cleveland Browns. But if there’s one certainty for Cleveland, it’s that Myles Garrett will continue to terrorize opposing quarterbacks.

Following a controversy-filled 2019 and a 2020 campaign affected by COVID-19, Garrett had a career year in 2021. If the 26-year-old builds off that success, there’s a chance he’ll become the first Brown to win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in franchise history.

Garrett faces some stiff competition for DPOY, but he possesses a strong case for winning the coveted award.

Garrett is the Betting Favorite for Defensive Player of the Year

In 2021, Garrett proved why the Browns made him the first-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The former Texas A&M star registered a career-high 16.0 sacks after struggling for parts of the previous two seasons. However, his stellar year wasn’t enough to earn a spot in the top three of DPOY voting.

That said, the books like Garrett’s chances of capturing the award this year.

With around six weeks until football season, Garrett is the favorite at +650. Aaron Donald, the Los Angeles Rams star who’s won the award three times, is +700. Donald is tied with Watt, the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker who won his first DPOY in 2021.

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons is next up at +900 as he looks to build off of his Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign. Following Parsons, Nick and Joey Bosa are +1200 and +2000, respectively.

Keep track of our Defensive Player of the Year betting odds for free on betJACK Training Camp.

Healthy Year Equals More Production

For all the positives of Garrett’s game, his biggest weakness is his durability, or lack thereof. The 26-year-old has played in every game in two of his first five seasons, which includes last season.

However, the talented edge rusher has proven that if he’s fully healthy, he’s a lock to put up massive numbers.

In 2018 and 2021, Garrett’s two healthy seasons, the star rusher earned 13.5 and 16.0 sacks. He was a Pro Bowler in both seasons and was First Team All-NFL last year when he also set career highs in total tackles (51) and QB hits (33).

With his injury issues seemingly behind him, look for Garrett to match or even eclipse his 2021 production in his sixth season in Cleveland.

Cleveland’s Strength of Schedule

While football is a team sport, any individual player can benefit from an easy schedule. In other words, Garrett can capitalize on the Browns’ forgiving schedule.

Cleveland has the eighth-easiest schedule in the NFL, as well as the easiest in the division and second-easiest in the AFC. The Browns open the year against pedestrian teams like the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets and get to feast on the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons.

Garrett is the type of talent who can produce against any team. But there’s certainly some benefit to the three-time All-Pro going up against weaker competition than many of his greatest competitors.

Edge Rushers Have DPOY Advantage

In the 2000s, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year was awarded to players at various positions, ranging from safeties like Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed to middle linebackers like Ray Lewis. Today, the defensive players collecting the hardware are doing so with impressive sack numbers.

Since 2012, the only DPOY recipients who didn’t make a living attacking the quarterback were inside linebacker Luke Kuechly in 2013 and cornerback Stephon Gilmore in 2019. Every other winner (J.J. Watt, Khalil Mack, Aaron Donald, T.J. Watt) was a revered pass rusher.

Garrett faces stiff competition from Donald and the youngest Watt in particular, but it’s helpful knowing that a 20-sack campaign will give him an edge over a ball-hawking safety or playmaking linebacker.

Final Verdict

At 26 years old, there’s a good chance Garrett hasn’t reached his peak yet. The hope is that last year’s 16.5-sack campaign was the beginning of a long run as one of the NFL’s best defenders. But even if he puts up very similar numbers this fall, he’ll almost certainly have a legitimate claim to the top defensive award available.

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