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Is Danielle Hunter a Threat to Win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2020?
Prowling at +2500 in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year odds for 2020, I guess Danielle Hunter is technically classified as a sleeper. Sure, the Vikings 25-year-old defensive end might not be a household name like J.J. Watt or Aaron Donald just yet, but it’s a different story if you ask coaches and players around the league.
In their circle, Hunter is known as an absolute beast and is firmly entrenched as one of the league’s top pass rushers.
After examining some of NFL’s best defenders, it’s time to show this cat the respect he has earned. With that in mind, here are three reasons why Danielle Hunter can win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2020.
Pass Rushing Phenom
One player in NFL history has accumulated 48 sacks prior to turning 25. It’s not Lawrence Taylor or Reggie White — it’s Minnesota’s Danielle Hunter. The third-round pick out of LSU is also the youngest player to crack 50 career sacks, he’s made back-to-back Pro Bowls, and he’s just now entering his prime.
If you’re just getting to know the Jamaican-born wrecker, these Danielle Hunter 2019 highlights give you a good idea of his motor and skill set.
They’re both off the charts, and I’d be surprised if he registered anything fewer than 15 sacks in 2020.
The Dude Doesn’t Miss Tackles
A guy who can rush the passer with potency is the type of player that all NFL GMs are seeking. With 14.5 sacks in each of the last two seasons, Danielle Hunter definitely checks off that box with flying colors.
However, it’s a massive bonus if that edge rusher is also a surehanded tackler who can be depended on for 16 games. Aside from playing in every game for the Vikings since 2016, check how Danielle stacks up with the other four players who racked up at least 14 sacks in 2019.
|Player||Total Tackles||Missed Tackle|
Let’s put these numbers in perspective.
Missing tackles just 2.8% of the time puts Hunter in rarefied air. And as I pointed out when I showcased the 2020 NFL DPOY odds, Danielle is the only individual last season who totaled more than 10 sacks and at least 70 tackles.
The Vikings Defense Should Be Stout
Minnesota might not have one of the upper-echelon defenses in 2020, but they’ll do more than hold their own. Mike Zimmer is a defensive guru who understands how to put his players in positions to be successful.
It’s true that the Vikings lost a wealth of talent on D during free agency, and replacing the likes of Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen up front won’t be easy. And yes, I am aware that Trae Waynes headed a collection of Minnesota DBs who walked out the door.
The good news is rookie corners Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler will be ready to contribute right away, and Minnesota returns their entire linebacking core. And let’s not forget that the Vikes ranked 5th in the NFL in opponent’s points per game (18.9) last year.
With Danielle Hunter leading the way and Mike Zimmer calling the shots, this unit won’t experience too much of a drop-off — if any at all.
Danielle Hunter’s Chances of Winning the 2020 NFL DPOY
All things considered, I would have suspected the best NFL bookies would have listed Danielle Hunter in the +1600 to +1800 range to win the NFL Defensive POY in 2020.
Discovering him at +2500 means the value is apparent. It also means I’ll be taking a stab thanks to the immense upside that’s available.
If you wait until September rolls around to start firing in NFL bets online, be my guest. Just know that you’re going to miss out on an insane amount of action.
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