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NFL Defensive Player of the Year 2023-’24: Micah Parsons and Myles Garrett in final DPOY rankings, latest NFL DPOY odds

NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidates

Who is the best defensive player in the NFL? While the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award doesn’t always go to the best NFL defender, you can always count on the best defenders in football being in the mix.

With NFL players becoming even better athletes on the defensive side, we’re seeing more All-Pro edge rushers break out each season. For content, the single-season NFL sack leaders include six players who have taken the field since 2010 and become part of NFL history with 20-plus sacks. So, who will win the NFL DPOY in 2023?

Related: NFL defense rankings

Let’s dive into the NFL Defensive Player of the Year race in 2024 and the history of the award.

NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidates 2024

NFL: New York Jets at Cleveland Browns
Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
RankPlayerSacksFFHurriesPressuresPRWRPFF grade
1Myles Garrett144578630%93.6
2Micah Parsons1616910237%92.6
3T.J. Watt194458226%91.5
4Nick Bosa10.52599418%92.8
5Maxx Crosby13.525986N/A92.2
PRWR = ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate. PFF grade, QB hits and pressures courtesy of Pro Football Focus
  1. Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys – Myles Garrett was the best defensive player in the NFL this season. Not only was Garrett one of the best pass rushers, posting the second-highest pass-rush win rate in the NFL, but he also recorded the sixth-best Run Stop Win Rate among edge defenders. Combine that with the forced fumbles, including a strip-sack in the end zone, paired with his block on special teams, Garrett becomes the choice for DPOY.
  2. Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns – Micah Parsons has now gone over 40 quarters without his opponent ever being called for holding. To put it simply, Parsons is far too dominant of a pass rusher to never be held. He has by far the highest pressure rate and pass-rush win rate in the NFL, but the sacks and hurries aren’t there because he’s being held by offensive linemen. It might ultimately be the thing that keeps him from leading the NFL in sacks, which he might need to win DPOY.
  3. T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers – After his strong performance in Week 18 before suffering an injury, T.J. Watt has now recorded three seasons with 15-plus sacks. Watt finished the regular season with an NFL-high 19 sacks and tied with Garrett in forced fumbles. While Watt is a tier below Garrett and Parsons on our ballot, it’s worth recognizing that Watt will join the 100-sack club next year (96.5) and he’ll likely accomplish it before turning 30 on Oct. 11.
  4. Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers – Nick Bosa only had 3 sacks in his first 8 games this season, a disappointment for the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. However, he was racking up pressure and just needed someone to balance the pass-rushing scales. Since Chase Young joined the 49ers’ defense, Bosa has 7.4 sacks, 10 TFLs and 16 QB hits in 8 games.
  5. Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas Raiders – Maxx Crosby is a one-man wrecking crew. He doesn’t have nearly the surrounding help that our other NFL DPOY candidates do, yet Crosby is right up there with them in terms of pressures, sacks and his PFF grade. Crosby isn’t taking home the award this season, but the Raiders’ star has earned his spot on ballots.

Related: 2023 NFL power rankings

Who is favored to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year?

Cleveland Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett is currently favored to win Defensive Player of the Year

NFL Defensive Player of the Year odds 2023

Here are the latest NFL DPOY odds entering Week 18, per BetMGM.

  • Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns – -200
  • T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers – +200
  • Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys – +300
  • Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas Raiders – +5000

NFL Defensive Player of the Year winners

NFL: New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the NFL Defensive Player of the Year winners over the last 20 seasons.

  • 2022: Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers
  • 2021: T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • 2020: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams (3)
  • 2019: Stephon Gilmore, New England Patriots
  • 2018: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams (2)
  • 2017: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
  • 2016: Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders
  • 2015: J.J. Watt, Houston Texans (3)
  • 2014: J.J. Watt, Houston Texans (2)
  • 2013: Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers
  • 2012: J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
  • 2011: Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens
  • 2010: Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • 2009: Charles Woodson, Green Bay Packers
  • 2008: James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • 2007: Bob Sanders, Indianapolis Colts
  • 2006: Jason Taylor, Miami Dolphins
  • 2005: Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears
  • 2004: Ed Reed, Baltimore Ravens
  • 2003: Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens (2)

Further below, we’ll take an expanded look at the history of the NFL DPOY award.

Related: Top NFL sack leaders in 2023

NFL Defensive Player of the Year winners by position

  • Linebacker: 17 times
  • Defensive End: 14 times
  • Defensive Tackle: 10 times
  • Cornerbacks: 6 times
  • Safety: 5 times

Who has the most NFL Defensive Player of the Year Awards?

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Rams
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Donald, J.J. Watt and Lawrence Taylor each won NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times in their careers. Donald (2017-18, ’20), Watt (2012, ’14-15) and Taylor (1981-’82, ’86) all won NFL DPOY in consecutive seasons. No player has won the award three years in a row.

Related: NFL TV ratings

NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting FAQ

Who votes for NFL Defensive Player of the Year?

A panel of 50 Associated Press sportswriters vote on NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Ballots are revealed at the end of each NFL season.

Related: Top 100 NFL players of 2023

When is NFL Defensive Player of the Year announced?

The NFL announces its Defensive Player of the Year the day before the Super Bowl at the NFL Honors ceremony.

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