3. The Competition
Jalen Carter’s top competition for the award is Houston Texans edge rusher Will Anderson. It’s not quite a two-man race yet, but there’s a clear gap between those two and everyone else.
And really, I’m not all that concerned about Anderson.
Anderson did have a sack in Week 1 and put up a solid 6 tackles, but there was still a lot to be desired. He was inconsistent as a pass-rusher, and his most impressive work came against the run. Like it or not, stopping the run is not the kind of thing that wins awards.
Anderson also doesn’t have the help that Carter does. If he starts to look like an elite pass rusher, teams will be able to really commit to slowing him down with double teams and chips. Jonathan Greenard and Jerry Hughes don’t command nearly enough respect to keep the protection honest.
This means that even if Anderson plays as well as Carter does (already a big “if”), he is still going to have a significantly harder time putting up the stats needed to get the award.
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