The Cleveland Browns have kicked off the 2021 NFL season with a 3-1 start, proving that last year’s success wasn’t a fluke. Part of the reason that they’ve played this well is because of their defense, which is led by two-time Pro-Bowl defensive end Myles Garrett. His play has been so impressive that he’s BetOnline’s current favorite to be named 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year at +225 odds.
Garrett has always been a force on the defensive side of the ball, however, he seems to really be putting it together this season. He already leads the league in tackles for loss (7) and sacks (6.0) — with the latter statistic being helped by a 4.5-sack performance in Week 3. He’s also tied with Las Vegas Raiders DE Maxx Crosby for the second-most pressures (16) after four weeks. That isn’t even to mention how Garrett’s 13 quarterback hits are just five fewer than what he had after 14 games in 2020.
Garrett playing like a Defensive Player of the Year has led to Cleveland giving up the fourth-fewest points per game (16.8) heading into Week 5. For comparison, the Browns surrendered an average of 26.5 PPG in 2020 (T-22nd). Obviously, Garrett isn’t singlehandedly responsible, but it’s impossible to ignore the impact he brings to the table.
Cleveland has given up the third-fewest passing yards per contest this year (183.8) because of the quality of pass-rushing he’s put on display. It remains to be seen if Garrett can continue this over the span of a 17-game season. As long as he can keep it up for a majority of it, there’s no reason why he can’t be named 2021 DPOY.
2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Odds
Odds via BetOnline as of Wednesday, October 6
- Myles Garrett (+225)
- Trevon Diggs (+450)
- Aaron Donald (+550)
- TJ Watt (+1000)
- Joey Bosa (+1400)
- Nick Bosa (+1600)
- Chandler Jones (+1600)
- Jalen Ramsey (+2000)
- Brian Burns (+2500)
- Devin White (+2800)
The complete odds list is available at BetOnline.ag.
Trevon Diggs 2021 NFL DPOY Odds
One player who has been quite the revelation this season is Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs. The 51st overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft has the second-best odds (+450) to be named Defensive Player of the Year after recording an interception in each of Dallas’ first four games of the season. He’s still a ways away from breaking the team record of 11 games in a row set by Everson Walls in 1981, however, the Cowboys won’t complain about the sophomore’s breakout performance for as long as it continues.
Overall, Diggs’ five interceptions (one Pick-6) on the year are the most in the NFL. He also leads the league with eight passes defended and has 13 total tackles to his name — all of them solo. Considering how the Cowboys’ defensive is giving up the second-most passing yards per game (315.2) this season, it’s even more impressive that Diggs has had the success that he’s seen so far.
Only two cornerbacks have been named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in the past 25 seasons, so it’s certainly a steep hill for Diggs to climb. Still, his name should remain in the conversation for the award as long as his current play doesn’t drop off.
Aaron Donald Defensive Player of the Year Odds
One player who’s no stranger to the Defensive Player of the Year award is none other than Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (+550). The 30-year-old has already taken home the honors in three of the past four seasons, joining J.J. Watt as the only other player in NFL history to accomplish that task. If he’s successful at winning it again this year, he’ll become the first player to be named DPOY four times, cementing his legacy in football history.
Donald has had somewhat of a slow start to the 2021 NFL season compared to his usual standards. While he’s on pace to break his career-high in total tackles (17 through four games), he has just a pair of sacks on the year. Fortunately, there’s still a lot of time to boost his numbers — especially with an extra game on the schedule.
The Rams also have one of the best defences in the league, so there are times when Donald hasn’t needed to dominate the stats columns. After all, he has a 91.3 overall Pro Football Focus grade for a reason, so it’s not like he’s dropped off. Expect his numbers to pile up shortly.