I think there are three clear candidates to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award in the 2023 NFL season. Who are these DPoY candidates? Well, two of them are the last two winners of this award. Shocking, I know.
What’s become obvious is that pass rushers are becoming more and more important in today’s NFL. They’re becoming the quarterbacks of the defense. In 2022, San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa won the DPoY award.
The year before that, TJ Watt won the award. To the surprise of no one, these two players are on my list for three of the most likely DPoY candidates for the 2023 season.
Three most likely DPoY candidates for the 2023 NFL season?
In his second year removed from a torn ACL that ended his 2020 campaign, Nick Bosa ran away with the 2023 Defensive Player of the Year. He had a whopping 18.5 sacks, which led the league. He added 51 total tackles, 19 tackles for loss and 48 QB hits.
It was only a matter of time before the 2019 second overall pick won the award. Surely he is the favorite to win it in 2023.
TJ Watt played in just 10 games in 2022 and finished with 5.5 sacks and 12 QB hits. His pectoral injury kept him out of the lineup. However, his 2021 season was one of the best we’ve ever seen from an EDGE rusher. He tied the all-time single season record with 22.5 sacks. He added 21 tackles for loss and 39 QB hits during that campaign.
If Watt stays healthy in 2023, which he had done every other year of his career, he’ll be a legitimate candidate to win a second DPoY award.
Micah Parsons is a do it all type of player. He can play on the inside as a linebacker and also can come off the defensive edge. He’s got 26.5 total sacks in his first two years in the NFL and added 13 tackles for loss and 26 QB hits in 2022.
Parsons is going to win a DPoY award at some point. Maybe it’s this year as he’ll likely be given a huge contract extension at the end of the 2023 campaign. He’s also moving to the defensive end full-time, so he’ll have that much more opportunity to hit the quarterback.