The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t fear anyone on the New England Patriots defense last season and apparently Las Vegas feels the same way heading into 2018. Oddsmaker Bovada provided their preseason odds for 2018 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and there isn’t a single member of the Patriots on the list.
Houston Texans DL J.J. Watt leads the list at 5/1, followed by Los Angeles Chargers EDGE Joey Bosa (11/2), Los Angeles Rams DL Aaron Donald (11/2), and Oakland Raiders EDGE Khalil Mack (11/2). Denver Broncos EDGE Von Miller (9/1) rounds out the top five.
Former Patriots pass rusher Chandler Jones ranks 10th with 30/1 odds, but that’s the closest the Patriots get to the list. In fact, there isn’t a single AFC East player in their list of 32 players.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have a whopping four candidates in CB Jalen Ramsey (14/1), DL Calais Campbell (33/1), LB Myles Jack (50/1), and LB Telvin Smith (75/1). The Houston Texans have three of their own in Watt, DB Tyrann Mathieu (40/1), and EDGE Jadaveon Clowney (50/1).
Eleven teams, including the Patriots, were not represented on the list, but I’m a little surprised by their exclusion.
I don’t think the Patriots have anyone that could compete with Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (75/1) or Los Angeles Rams CB Marcus Peters (75/1).
But to have no one ahead of Pittsburgh Steelers DL Stephon Tuitt (80/1), Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Kwon Alexander (85/1), Chicago Bears rookie LB Roquan Smith (85/1) or Atlanta Falcons S Keanu Neal (90/1)? I find that hard to believe.
So here’s a list of players on the teams excluded that I think would have a better chance of winning DPOY than those four I just listed.
New England Patriots: EDGE Trey Flowers, LB Dont’a Hightower, CB Stephon Gilmore. I’m not saying I expect it, but Flowers is far more likely to pop off with DPOY caliber numers than Tuitt, right? Would anyone be surprised if Flowers racked up 15 sacks and played stellar defense with Adrian Clayborn drawing away attention? Hightower is a former All Pro and should always be considered, while Gilmore was playing excellent football over the second half of last season and should be considered the top defender on the team.
Buffalo Bills: CB Tre’Davious White
Miami Dolphins: EDGE Robert Quinn, SS Reshad Jones
New York Jets: DL Leonard Williams, SS Jamal Adams
Cincinnati Bengals: DL Geno Atkins, CB William Jackson III, EDGE Carlos Dunlap
Tennessee Titans: CB Malcolm Butler, DL Jurrell Casey
New York Giants: SS Landon Collins, DL Damon Harrison, EDGE Olivier Vernon
Washington: CB Josh Norman
Detroit Lions: CB Darius Slay
Green Bay Packers: DL Mike Daniels...but, yeah, not a great defensive roster.
San Francisco 49ers: CB Richard Sherman, DL DeForest Buckner
I feel like any of these players has a better chance than Tuitt of winning DPOY. What do you think?