The National Football League’s Defensive Player of the Year Award is given to the best defensive player in the league, as voted on by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. The award was first given out in 1971, and has been won by some of the greatest defensive players in NFL history. This year, there are a number of deserving candidates for the award, but who will ultimately take home the hardware?
Here are my top three candidates for Defensive Player of the Year: 1. Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams – There’s no doubt that Aaron Donald is one of the best defensive players in the league. He’s an absolute force on the defensive line, and has been since he entered the league in 2014.
In 2018, he had 20.5 sacks (a new career high), which led all interior linemen. He also forced four fumbles and had 59 tackles (also a career high). Simply put, Donald is a game-changer on defense, and deserves to be recognized as such with this award.
2. Khalil Mack, LB, Chicago Bears – Khalil Mack was traded to the Bears from Oakland just before the start of last season, and immediately made an impact on his new team’s defense. In 2018, he racked up 12.5 sacks (tied for second among all linebackers), six forced fumbles (tied for first), and 55 tackles (fifth among all linebackers). He was also named First-Team All-Pro for the fourth time in his career.
Mack is a dominant force on defense, and is certainly deserving of this award. 3 Von Miller ,LB ,Denver Broncos – Von Miller has been one of the best defenders in football ever since he entered the league back in 2011 .He was named Defensive Rookie Of The Year that year after posting 11 sacks ,2 FFs ,and 42 total tackles .
In 2012 he became a household name when he helped lead Denver to a Super Bowl victory over Carolina with 2 sacks and 6 total tackles .He has continued his stellar play throughout his career ,posting double digit sack totals every year except 2016 where he finished with 9 .This past season saw him post 14 sacks along with 4 FFs while adding 47 total tackles .
The answer to this question is fairly simple – J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans. Not only is he the best defensive player in the NFL, but he’s also coming off one of the best seasons ever by a defensive player. In fact, some have argued that he was so good this past season that he should have been named the NFL’s MVP.
Watt led the league in sacks (17.5), tackles for loss (29) and quarterback hits (50), while also chipping in with an interception and a forced fumble. He was simply dominant against both the run and the pass, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t be just as good in 2016. The only other player who could realistically challenge Watt for Defensive Player of the Year honors is Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams.
Donald had an outstanding 2015 season, recording 11 sacks and 21 tackles for loss from his defensive tackle position. He’s an extremely disruptive force in the middle of the line, and if he can put up similar numbers again in 2016, he’ll have a chance to dethrone Watt as Defensive Player of the Year.
Who Will Be Named the Nfl’S Defensive Player of the Year for the 2017 Season
As the 2017 NFL season comes to a close, there is much speculation about who will be named Defensive Player of the Year. There are many deserving candidates, but there are a few that stand out above the rest.
One candidate that has been getting a lot of attention is Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
Donald has had an incredible season, racking up 11 sacks and four forced fumbles. He has been a key part of the Rams’ defense that has been one of the best in the league this year. Another candidate that has been getting some buzz is New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower.
Hightower has been a force on defense for the Patriots, tallying 5.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. He has also been excellent against the run, something that is vital for a linebacker in today’s NFL. Finally, there is Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller.
Miller is always considered to be one of the top defensive players in the league and he has once again lived up to that billing this season. He has recorded 10 sacks and three forced fumbles while being a key cog in Denver’s top-ranked defense.
Who are the Favorites to Win Defensive Player of the Year Honors in the Nfl This Season
The favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year honors in the NFL this season is Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Donald has been one of the best defensive players in the league for several years now, and he seems to only be getting better with age. He is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line, and he has the ability to take over a game by himself.
The Rams defense as a whole is very good, but Donald is the star of that unit, and he should be in line for another big year in 2019.
How Has Los Angeles Rams Defensive Tackle Aaron Donald Performed So Far This Season
Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald has had a phenomenal season so far. In just eight games, he’s racked up nine sacks, four forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. He’s also been a key cog in the Rams’ stingy defense, which is currently ranked first in the NFL in points allowed per game.
Donald is undoubtedly one of the best players in the league, and his performance this season has only solidified that fact. He’s an absolute force on the defensive line, and opposing offenses have struggled to contain him all year long. It’s safe to say that Donald is having one of the best seasons of his career, and he looks poised to continue his dominant play for the rest of the year.
Who are Some Other Players That Have Been in Contention for Defensive Player of the Year Honors in Past Seasons
There have been many great players that have been in contention for the Defensive Player of the Year honors in past seasons. Some of these players include:
• Aaron Donald – Los Angeles Rams
Donald has been one of the best defensive players in the league for many years now. He is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line and has consistently put up big numbers. In 2018, he was named the AP Defensive Player of the Year after recording 59 tackles and 20.5 sacks.
• Luke Kuechly – Carolina Panthers Kuechly is one of the best linebackers in the NFL and has been a key player on the Panthers defense for many years. He is a tackling machine, as evidenced by his 101 tackles in 2017, which earned him his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl selection.
Kuechly also won Defensive Player of the Year honors back in 2013 after leading Carolina to a 12-4 record and a spot in the playoffs. • Von Miller – Denver Broncos Miller is another player who has been among the best defensive players in recent years.
He is an elite pass rusher, as evidenced by his 60 sacks over the past five seasons. Miller was also named Super Bowl MVP after leading Denver to victory over Carolina in Super Bowl 50 back in 2016.
This year’s race for Defensive Player of the Year is wide open, with several contenders in the mix. Among them are Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Chicago Bears edge rusher Khalil Mack and New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore. All three have had excellent seasons and are deserving of the award.
So who will ultimately take home the hardware? It’s tough to say, but our money is on Mack. He has been a one-man wrecking crew for the Bears, leading them to the top spot in the NFC North.
His presence has been felt all over the field, as he’s racked up 12.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and an interception returned for a touchdown. He’s also been a key cog in a defense that ranks first in points allowed per game (17.7). Donald has also been superb this season, anchoring a Rams defense that is among the best in the league.
He leads the NFL with 20.5 sacks and has added two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Gilmore, meanwhile, has been arguably the best cornerback in football, helping to lead a Patriots defense that allows just 18 points per game (second fewest in NFL). It’s going to be a close race, but we give Mack slight edge over Donald and Gilmore thanks to his all-around dominance.