The Houston Texans have an underrated star on defense who isn't getting the love he deserves. No, it's not the pair of rookies in Will Anderson Jr. or Henry To'oTo'o. Nor is it defensive end Jonathan Greenard. No, it's the strongside outside linebacker, Blake Cashman. Cashman, who's in his fifth year in the NFL and second with the Houston Texans had a massive game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
He racked up his third 10+ tackle game and second 15+ tackle game of the season. Against the Cardinals, he had 19 tackles, 13 of which were recorded solo tackles. Not only did he have a massive game stomping out the Arizona offense, but he also recorded a sack against Kyler Murray, one of the hardest quarterbacks in the NFL to corral.
He was also one of the better players against the Cardinals passing game as well, tipping away a pass and getting in an additional two shots on the quarterback. All in all, Cashman had a big day and that, plus his stellar play all season according to PFF, should have him in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year.
He has an overall PFF score of 87.3, a 85.1 grade against the run, a 83.4 grade for his pass rushing and a 78.5 grade against the pass. He's currently listed as the 7th highest-rated linebacker according to PFF, and is in the top 25 highest rated defenders across all positions. Clearly making him a name that the leauge voters should keep in mind for the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
And while we think he should be considered, it's also important to note that we don't think he will be. The DPOY has become more about who gets the most sacks than about who inflicts the most positive influence on a defense. Over the last 12 years or so only two non-pass rushers have won the award, Stephon Gilmore and Luke Kuechly. Meaning that it's unlikely the trend of defensive ends who specialize in pass rushing, and usually only pass rushing, will likely win the award again this year.
Showing just how far these awards have fallen, going to the guys who have the most glamor stats, but not always the biggest impact on each and every play possible.