Thursday, January 31, 2013

NFL Award Predictions: Defensive Player of the Year

     Unfortunately, many defensive players are overlooked when it comes to Most Valuable Player; however, the Defensive Player of the Year Award honors those defensive players like J.J. Watt who made a difference on the other side of the football. The two players apart from Watt who we believe have a legitimate chance at winning this award are Aldon Smith and Geno Atkins.

J.J. Watt
DT Geno Atkins: Geno Atkins, a third year defensive tackle out of Georgia, has proven himself to be one of the best defenders in the league, even though he did not start off his pro career with a lot of buzz surrounding his future. Atkins sacked the quarterback 12.5 time in 2012, ranking first among all defensive tackles,  as well as earning him a spot on the NFL All-Pro team. Along with his incredible sack total, Atkins forced four fumbles, with 53 tackles. Double teams came often, but Atkins still managed to get the better of the offensive linemen. Unfortunately, it is not a common occurrence for defensive tackles to win this award, so it is unlikely for Atkins to take home Defensive Player of the Year.

LB Aldon Smith: With just two games left in the season, Aldon Smith had a legitimate shot at breaking Michael Strahan's sack record. All though Smith was unable to record a single sack in his final three games of the season, the San Francisco linebacker helped lead the 49ers defense into the Super Bowl. Smith and Watt are the two main contenders for this award, but unfortunately, Aldon Smith is not as well-rounded of a defender as J.J. Watt.

DE J.J. Watt: Not only did J.J. Watt challenge Michael Strahan's sack record in 2012, J.J. introduced the idea of swatting balls down if it  is clear the sack is not there. J.J. Watt blocked a mind boggling 16 passes, causing quarterbacks to second guess the direction of their passes. In both the running game and the passing game, offensive coordinators avoided Watt's side of the field, for not only could he stop the run, as well as apply heavy pressure on the quarterback, but Watt would block the majority of the passes thrown his way. J.J. Watt improved the Texans defense drastically, and his extroidanry abilities deserve him the Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Defensive Player of the Year Prediction: J.J. Watt

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