Expert Picks To Win 2016 NFL Defensive Player Of The Year
Surprise, surprise… Guess who is the 2016 NFL betting favorite to win the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award? That’s right… Even with J.J. Watt on the Houston PUP list after undergoing a recent back surgery, the Oddsmakers are giving him the benefit of doubt to recover in time for another havoc-wrecking season in the league. Actually, this isn’t much of a surprise if you’ve been a keen follower of the league and how Watt has dominated this award in recent years.
Will we have a new player snatching the honors from Watt in 2016 or will the players, coaches and executives acknowledging the Houston star defenseman as the best defender in the nation for a third straight year? Read on below for our early thoughts and NFL picks.
Here’s a Closer Look At The Expert Picks To Win 2016 NFL Defensive Player Of The Year
Favorite Pick to win NFL DPOY 2016: J.J. Watt
Having J.J. Watt as the heavy favorite in the 2016 NFL DPOY odds is very spot-on, as no player has dominated the game on the defensive side like he’s done in his time in the league. Watt is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and is just the second player in the league’s history (the other being Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor) to win the award in two straight seasons after bagging the honors in 2014 and 2015. Mind you, last year he bagged the award after collecting an NFL-high 17 1/2 sacks, and that was in spite of him the last four games of the regular season with a broken hand. Therefore, even with the injury concerns about him ahead of the new season, you should know better than to discredit him from bagging a third straight DPOY title, particularly now that he is supported by Houston’s top-5 defense from 2015.
Smart Pick to Win NFL DPOY 2016: Luke Kuechly
In 2015, Carolina’s defensive star Luke Kuechly had another season for the books, finishing a close second in the DPOY voting, getting 113 votes—three votes shy of Watt’s 116. The No.7 player in NFL Network’s list of top-100 Players of 2016 has easily been the best linebacker in the league since he set foot in Carolina and there is very little reason to believe that 2016 will be different. The 25-year-old all-in-one defensive anomaly had 14 pass deflections, four interceptions and 118 tackles in the 2015 regular season (12th-best in the league) despite missing 3.5 games. And his big season didn’t stop there, as he went on to have a solid postseason, recording multiple interception return touchdowns in back-to-back games against Seattle and Arizona—making him the first linebacker to do so in the Super Bowl era. With his speed, mental strength and love of the game; the ceiling couldn’t be higher in 2016 for this defensive force that is just seemingly getting started and is yet to hit his prime.
Longshot Pick to Win NFL DPOY 2016: Tyrann Mathieu
Denver Broncos’ Von Miller could have made a solid pick here, but the Broncos have too many good defenders that are likely to take away the spotlight away from the $114.5 million man in Denver, so we prefer Mathieu as our longshot pick. The versatile Mathieu, who can play CB, S and DB, could be in for a big 2016 season if his stellar campaign is anything to go by. Before suffering a season-ending ACL tear in Week 15, the Honey Badger had collected posted a stellar stat-line of 89 total tackles, 5 interceptions and 1 sack (in 32 pass rushes). With his ability to guard just about anyone, the third-year defense could easily beat everyone to the award, especially if he can stay healthy throughout the season in Arizona’s above-average defense and solid offense that is sure to put his name high on the map.
2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Predictions
While names like Kansas City’s Justin Houston, New York’s Darrelle Revis, Carolina’s Thomas Davis, Washington’s Josh Norman, Oakland’s Khalil Mack, Seattle’s Richard Sherman and Miami’s Ndamukong Suh deserve to be considered and honorably mentioned here; we feel that Kuechly’s many upsides (including Carolina’s solid defense and the Panthers’ very-good chances of succeeding in 2016) makes him the best 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award betting pick, particularly with Watt entering the season banged up.
My 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Winning Pick: Luke Kuechly