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Broncos' Von Miller Eyes NFL Sack Title, Defensive Player of the Year Award

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIApril 7, 2020

Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller reacts as he takes the field before an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller is aiming to reach a new level in 2020. Already an eight-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro and a Super Bowl champion, Miller believes he can win the top individual award on defense this year and become one of the most feared players on the field.

"I really feel like some of my best ball is coming up," Miller told ESPN's Jeff Legwold. "Winning the Defensive Player of the Year and leading the league in sacks is attainable with the team I have, the people I have around me. I've just got to take advantage of the opportunities, I have go get it."

Miller is correct in that he'll have the opportunities available to him this year. Especially after the Broncos lost Derek Wolfe to free agency and added cornerback A.J. Bouye and defensive lineman Jurrell Casey.

Until last season, Miller had recorded at least 10 sacks for five consecutive years, with his career-high 18.5 coming as a 23-year-old in 2012. That was Miller's second year in the league. The closest he's been to that mark since came in 2018 when he racked up 14.5.

Now entering his age 31 season, Miller believes he can step up his game again and deliver a career season—starting by torturing opposing quarterbacks.

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"I feel like sacks and Defensive Player of the Year Award go together," Miller said. "I believe lead the league in sacks, they go hand-in-hand. It was about sacks before and it's about sacks now, about sacks, winning games, coaching some of these young guys now."

The last linebacker to win DPOY was Khalil Mack in 2016 with the then-Oakland Raiders. Except he didn't lead the league in sacks that year. Vic Beasley paced the NFL with 15.5 sacks that season, while Miller finished second with 13.5.

Instead, Mack tallied 73 total tackles, 11 sacks, one interception, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and a defensive touchdown.

However, Miller attempting to win the award shouldn't bother Denver. As long as he's setting a high goal and staying within himself on the field, the Broncos will benefit. Adding some extra hardware at the end of the season would only make that type of season sweeter.

Reported deals via NFL.com's free-agency tracker. Reported statistics via ProFootballReference.com 

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