Donny Football Hot Takes #6: A Bosa or Watt Will Win Defensive Player of the Year
By Donny Chedrick
113 quarterback hits. 52 tackles for loss. 39 sacks. 11 forced fumbles. Four players. Two families. One will win Defensive Player of the Year.
Last year, JJ Watt played in just eight games, yet these guys combined put up ridiculous numbers and terrorized every quarterback they faced. JJ has the hardware already, winning DPOY three times (2012, 2014, 2015) before the age of 30. His brother had an outstanding season in 2019, but lost out to Patriots’ corner, Stephon Gilmore. TJ had 14.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles (led NFL), four fumble recoveries, two interceptions, 36 QB hits, 14 tackles for loss and 55 total tackles. An outstanding season that earned him his second Pro Bowl nod and his first first-team All-Pro selection. One that almost helped a QB-less Pittsburgh team make it to the playoffs. If TJ replicates what he did in 2019, he could find himself in the running for the award once again, but he will have to do something above-and-beyond to claim it.
The Bosa brothers have had themselves quite a time as well breaking into the NFL. Both Joey and Nick claimed Defensive Rookie of the Year honors — Joey in 2016 and Nick in 2019. Joey signed a fresh five-year, $135 million ($78 million guaranteed) extension during the off-season as he gets set for his fifth season in the league. In his first four, Joey has collected 40 sacks (11.5 in 2019), but only five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. With the pay day and the absence of Derwin James, Joey could be forced into a great season for the Chargers to have any chance of survival in the AFC West. His younger brother was the catalyst behind an eventual NFC champion defense. Nick Bosa made an immediate impact in the league and made a lot of the haters who said he would regret leaving college early look like idiots. Bosa turned in nine sacks in 14 starts to go with an interception, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and 47 total tackles. After multiple years of addressing the defensive line in San Francisco, the 49ers found an elite edge rusher for years to come.
If you want my thoughts on which one out of these four will win Defensive Player of the Year, I’m siding with the younger brother in both cases. JJ Watt is still a high-level defensive linemen, but injuries may be starting to catch up to him and I’m not convinced he can return to that ‘best player in the game’ level after the age of 30. At this point, it appears TJ is starting to pass JJ by in terms of what he can do on the field. With the Bosa’s, I like Nick’s versatility in the San Fran scheme more so than what Joey can do in Los Angeles.
What’s tomorrow’s take? A newly-named starter calls it quits after 2020.