Matthew Judon: Colossal 22/23 Season Could Lead To A DPOY?

July 26, 2022

Where has Matt Judon been lately? There has been almost little to no buzz about him or the Patriots. We here would like to rectify that.

In the newly stacked AFC, talent runs rampant. The Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes, Justin Reid, and Travis Kelce; the Dolphins have Xavien Howard, Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle; the Bills have Xavien Howard, Stefon Diggs, and Josh Allen; and the Bengals have Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins.

Long story short: talent is not hard to come by in the American Football Conference. As fun as it may be to watch the Bills and Chiefs duke it out come Sunday Night, it’s a different story for rebuilding teams. The Patriots, entering their third year of an eventful rebuild, will undoubtedly be competitive this year for playoff seeding in the regular season. However, success past the regular season may be hard to come by. Why may you ask? Talent.

In a recent poll, ESPN surveyed over 50 scouts, coaches, and executives to compile a list of the top 10 players at 11 different positions. The Patriots featured one player on that list of 110 players: Hunter Henry.

As exciting as it may sound to have a top-10 Tight End on the roster, the Patriots were one of the only teams to feature a single player on the list. This disappointment comes a year after Belichick went on a massive spending spree, racking up a free-agency bill worth nearly $160 million that included the signing of Hunter Henry.

Aside from Hunter Henry, the most successful player produced from that 2021 off-season was undoubtedly Matt Judon. Despite being a Pro Bowler, a top ten sack leader, and a core part of the defense last year, Judon still has more left to give and improve on. So, is a Defensive Player of The Year season imminent?

Matt Judon 2021/2022 Overview

For every player and coach, a 17-game NFL season will have its ups and downs. Their lows will not solely determine the success of that individual, but how they bounce back from their lows and respond to conflict and struggle. Someone like Sean McDermott, the Buffalo Bills coach, is a perfect example of this. Following a heart-wrenching loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Bills suddenly found themselves at a mediocre record of a seven and six record. But, instead of cowering down and giving up, McDermott did the exact opposite, leading the Bills past the New England Patriots and clinching the AFC East.

Bills coach Sean McDermott (via Skin Cancer Foundation)

Matt Judon’s 2022 season was a little bit different from that. In the first eight games of the season, this is what some of Judon’s stats looked like:

  • Eight sacks
  • 20 solo tackles
  • 15 QB hits

If Judon kept his production at this whopping pace, he would be destined for one of the best defensive seasons in Patriots history. Unfortunately, Judon’s production dropped for the season’s second half. Here are his stats following Week Eight:

  • Four and a half sacks
  • 18 solo tackles
  • 10 QB hits

If it weren’t for his jaw-dropping numbers in the first half of the season, Judon probably wouldn’t have even made the Pro Bowl. I have no doubts about Judon’s ability to be a star, but that all begins with consistency. So what will Judon’s next season with the team look like if he can just stay consistent?

Matthew Judon is pictured with his infamous red sleeves (via NBC Sports)

Matt Judon 2022/2023 Prediction

Let me take you back to something I said a few paragraphs ago:

For every player and coach, a 17-game NFL season will have its ups-and-downs. The success of that individual will not solely be determined by their lows, but how they bounce back from their lows, and how they respond to conflict and struggle.

If Judon wants this next season to be memorable, he has to enter it with a chip on his shoulder. Bouncing back from his second-half struggles is necessary to the success of the defense and the team. If Judon can stay healthy, consistent, and optimistic, here is what I think his final stat line will look like:

  • 14.5 sacks
  • 43 solo tackles
  • 33 QB hits

If Judon can post these numbers, he will be placed in DPOY consideration and hear his name next to Micah Parsons, Joey Bosa, and even T.J. Watt. Recognition like this is absolutely transformative for a player, and there is nobody who deserves it more than Matt Judon.

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