Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt is the favorite to win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award and finish 2023 as the NFL sacks leader.
Watt is currently second in the league with eight sacks, one behind Danielle Hunter of the Minnesota Vikings, but Watt has played one fewer game. According to odds posted this week by BetOnline, Watt has 3/1 odds of taking home his third sack title in four years.
Watt also had the most sacks in the league in 2020, when he had 15, and in 2021, when he tied Michael Strahan’s single-season NFL record with 22.5. He had just 5.5 in an injury-plagued 2022 season.
Watt became the second NFL player, alongside Lawrence Taylor to record seven interceptions and 70 sacks over their first seven NFL seasons when he snagged his seventh career pick against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
Hunter isn’t even the second favorite, despite his stance as the current leader. That goes to Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who has 13/4 odds of coming home with the sack crown. Garrett is just a half-sack behind Watt with 7.5 and has also only played six games.
Three players are tied with seven sacks: Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Khalil Mack, Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson and Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen.
The odds have Hendrickson and Oakland Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby at 10/1, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons at 14/1 and Allen and Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones at 20/1.
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa was last year’s leader with 18.5 sacks. He currently has only 2.5 sacks, tied for 64th in the league, but has 25/1 odds to finish first.
No other Steelers player in on the favorites list. Markus Golden, Alex Highsmith and Larry Ogunjobi all have two sacks.
The current DPOY odds have Watt at 2/1, followed by Parsons at 9/4, Garrett at 12/5, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner at 18/1 and Detroit Lions defensive end Aiden Hutchinson at 20/1.
Bosa won the award in 2022 and Watt in 2021. Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald won it three times in four years before that. Eight of the last nine winners have been defensive linemen or edge rushers.