Los Angeles Rams DT Aaron Donald won the 2020-21 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, making it his third DPOY victory. But there's a convincing argument to be made that Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt was deserved DPOY for the just-concluded NFL season.
The NFL recently concluded its honors award show and many fans and media personalities alike feel that Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt was snubbed for the annual Defensive Player of The Year.
The award was won by the ever dominant Aaron Donald. While not to criticize a player who commands doubles and triple teams every snap, it is clear that T.J. Watt was the superior defensive lineman this year.
T.J. Watt led Aaron Donald in the majority of defensive stats, with the only argument going Donald's way is how the Rams are more reliant on Donald's excellent play than the Steelers are on the younger Watt brother's excellent play.
That point is valid but it's completely out of each player's control. It's not Watt's fault the Steelers assembled a terrific pass rush unit, while it's also not Donald's fault that the Rams are unable to do the same.
The Steelers have Bud Dupree to help take the pressure off Watt, which shouldn't be used against him. To be honest, it's also unfair to T.J. Watt's career resume to give Aaron Donald his 3rd DPOY in a year where he did not outperform the Steelers man.
As the new face of the Steelers defense, Watt needed this to cement his status as the next in a long line of Steelers Hall of Fame linebackers, but it seems that honor will have to wait another year.
T.J. Watt Snubbed By The NFL Once Again
This is a repeat of last year except this time it's not justified. Last season (2020), T.J. Watt lost to Stephon Gilmore who erased receivers off the field for the Patriots.
The context of having someone take your best receiver (and best weapon) completely out of the game caused me to accept Gilmore's win over Watt but with Donald I can't accept it as they both attempt to do the exact same thing (stop the run and rush the passer).
The question is, how can Donald win DPOY over someone doing these two things at a higher level than him and on a team that produced a better overall record?
No disrespect to Aaron Donald, he is probably the best defender of the last decade and a certified first ballot Hall of Famer but this just wasn't the year to give him Defensive Player of the Year.
This is frustrating as health is not promised in the NFL. T.J. Watt plays one of the physical positions on the field. His brother began to breakdown after his 5th season in the NFL and it must be noted that T.J. Watt is entering his 5th season.
In totality, it was just an unnecessary snub for a lineman who has waited his turn and put up a tremendous level of play on the field.