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Maxx Crosby’s biggest competition for Defensive Player of the Year

Crosby has been on a mission this season, but can he take home the DPOY at the end of the year?

Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders
Maxx Crosby
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby has been on a mission this season. A year after setting career highs in sacks (12.5) and tackles for loss (22), Crosby is on his way toward setting new standards for himself again with 11.5 sacks and 15 TFL through the Raiders' first 12 games. Also, according to Pro Football Focus, he’s on pace to record over 90 pressures with 64 at this point in the year and has earned a 91.8 grade.

Yet despite all of that, Crosby (+3500) is still tied for just the sixth-best odds to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award on DraftKings Sportsbook. So, let’s take a look at the résumé for his biggest threats to bringing home the hardware.

All odds are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook and as of Dec. 5.

Micah Parsons

Odds: +125

Stats: 42 total tackles, 11.5 sacks, 13 TFL, 78 pressures

PFF Grade: 92.7

In his two NFL seasons, Micah Parsons has managed to be the DPOY runner-up twice and he’s the favorite to win the award heading into the final stretch of the season. Statistically, Crosby has Parsons beat when it comes to total tackles and TFL, but they’re dead even in sacks and the latter has the advantage when it comes to pressures. Also, team success seems to be a big factor here as the Dallas Cowboys are a legitimate Super Bowl contender and have the fourth-best defense in the league by giving up 18.3 points per game.

Myles Garrett

Odds: +225

Stats: 32 total tackles, 13 sacks, 12 TFL, 51 pressures

PFF Grade: 92.4

Despite being a four-time All-Pro—two first-team and two second-team selections—Myles Garrett has never finished higher than fifth in DPOY voting. However, he’s making a pretty strong case this season, ranking fifth in sacks across the league for a team that’s tied for 10th with 20.4 ppg allowed. But, statistically, Crosby is besting Garrett in every category except for sacks, and the two players are only separated by 1.5 takedowns. So, a good case could be made that Crosby should overtake Garrett as far as favorites go.

T.J. Watt

Pittsburgh Steelers v Las Vegas Raiders
T.J. Watt vs. Raiders
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Odds: +310

Stats: 47 total tackles, 14 sacks, 13 TFL, 61 pressures

PFF Grade: 91.2

T.J. Watt is the only former DPOY to rank ahead of Crosby as Watt has been a finalist for the award in three out of his six NFL seasons. He’s continued to be a sack-master this season, currently ranking second in the metric, and is toward the top of the list when it comes to pressures. The Steeler’s numbers are comparable to the Raider’s, but the kicker could be that Pittsburgh’s defense allows the sixth-fewest points per game (19.1) and the team is in playoff contention.

DaRon Bland

Odds: +1500

Stats: 54 total tackles, 8 INTs (5 returned for TD), 14 PD

PFF Grade: 90.5

Since they play different positions, it’s hard to compare DaRon Bland’s stats to Crosby’s. But an NFL record with five pick-sixes is hard to argue against and Bland has two more interceptions than anyone else in the league. The one debate that could be made in Crosby’s favor is that Parson’s presence helps lead to the defensive back’s impact plays.

Josh Allen

Odds: +2000

Stats: 45 total tackles, 13.5 sacks, 11 TFL, 65 pressures

PFF Grade: 85.7

As if drafting Clelin Ferrell fourth overall in 2019 couldn’t get any worse for Raiders fans. Josh Allen, the seventh pick in that draft class, is having a phenomenal season as one of the league’s best pass-rushers. He’s tied for third in sacks and ranks fourth in pressures, surpassing Crosby in both categories. Crosby has been better against the run and Las Vegas’ defense has outperformed Jacksonville’s—barely, by 0.3 ppg—but team performance as a whole certainly swings in Allen’s favor.

Danielle Hunter

Odds: +3500

Stats: 60 total tackles, 13.5 sacks, 18 TFL, 51 pressures

PFF Grade: 76.6

Crosby will have a little extra motivation for Sunday’s matchup with the Minnesota Vikings as he and Danielle Hunter currently have the same DPOY odds. Statistically, Hunter rivals Madd Maxx more than anyone else on this list with fewer total tackles (by just six) and pressures but more sacks and TFL. In fact, the Viking leads the league in the latter category. So, this weekend provides an opportunity for either player to distance himself from the other.