Aaron Donald, Myles Garrett and Others; Who Gets Your Vote for the Defensive Player of the Year?

Published 11/07/2021, 6:45 AM EST
Aug 22, 2020; Inglewood California, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald (99) celebrates during a scrimmage at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the ninth week currently underway, the NFL has released some names from their Defensive Player of the Year nominee list and it comprises some huge names. The players on this list have produced some very effective numbers and displays for their side that made them hard to ignore. From favorites like Aaron Donald to surprise names like Bobby Wagner, the list is quite controversial.


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The list shared by NFL is under scrutiny for not involving some star players that need the recognition that they deserve. Follow the list down below to see if your favorite player appears on it.

Oct 31, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) pressures Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills (10) during the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Donald (Los Angeles Rams DT)


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Unsurprisingly, the Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle holds the top spot in the list of DPOY nominees. The 6’1 280-pound beast has five sacks in his eight games into the season.

Aaron Donald has been one of the most favorite DPOY contenders in the NFL. Since he has won the title three times in his last four seasons, and judging his uptrend this season, he remains the strongest and the most dominant contender in the list.

Sep 26, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) celebrates his fourth quarter sack against the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Myles Garrett (Cleveland Browns DE)

This Cleveland Browns defensive end leads the NFL with his gigantic 10.5 sacks and enormous 31 tackles in just eight games into the season. Making him the second favorite among all the Defensive Player of the Year nominees. His seemingly successful 2021 campaign can pose a deep threat to Aaron Donald.

Myles Garrett has had a significant influence over the Browns’ defense, especially during his game against the Chicago Bears, wherein he tallied a total of 4.5 sacks.

Oct 31, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws a pass under pressure from Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (90) during the first half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

T.J. Watt (Pittsburgh Steelers LB)

The 27-year-old Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker follows Myles Garrett in the list of most sacks this season with a total of 8.5 sacks. Although TJ Watt shares the No. 2 spot with Harold Landry III, his influence over the defense is far superior to others awarding him the third spot in this list. The 2020 AFC DPOY eyes on a bigger title this year as he works his way up the NFL nominee list.

Oct 10, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; New York Giants wide receiver C.J. Board (18) carries the ball as Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs (7) defends in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Trevon Diggs (Dallas Cowboys CB)

The Dallas Cowboys rookie cornerback has made it big this year by starting on a high note. Trevon Diggs has made seven interceptions, returned for 142 yards and scored two touchdowns all in just seven games, making him a significant contender for the DPOY title.

Oct 17, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) stiff arms Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (54) as he runs the ball during the third quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Bobby Wagner (Seattle Seahawks LB )

The seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker of the Seattle Seahawks has made it up to the top five in the list of DPOY nominees due to his insane tackling abilities. The Seahawks have unleashed a beast this year as he is tallying a total of 52 solo tackles in eight games so far this season. However, he leads the NFL with his total of 93 tackles so far this season. The Super Bowl winner has been a two-time NFL tackles leader (2016-2019).

Oct 17, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) is sacked by Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby (98) in the second quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports



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The NFL failed to mention the Las Vegas Raiders defensive end, Maxx Crosby. The 24-year-old has registered seven sacks, six assists, and 11 solo tackles, making him a good potential DPOY contender.


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However, the list of quality defensive players can go on and on. What do you think about this list? Let us know in the comments below who your DPOY is going to be.


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Sauvik Banerjee

406 articles

Sauvik Banerjee is currently an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in English and Economics from Lucknow University, Sauvik combined his love for NFL and passion for writing to work for team ES. Sauvik has functioned as a content marketing intern at Kyari Innovations and had a brief stint with Knocksense Lucknow.