The defensive player of the year is a huge award. Defensive players don’t get recognized enough in the NFL. This year there are 4 outstanding candidates to win the award in 2016. Vonn Miller, Vic Beasley, Khalil Mack, and Landon Collins are the 4 players who have a chance to win the award. Let’s break down each one’s chance to win defensive player of the year.
- Vic Beasley (Falcons)
Beasley is the NFL leader in sacks with 15.5 which might win him the award on that stat alone. Beasley is also tied for the NFL lead with 6 forced fumbles. When you are talking about disruptive forces on defense it is hard not to give the award to Beasley. It’s also hard to argue that any player is more important to his defense than Beasley who’s vast improvement is the only reason Atlanta’s defense is respectable.
2. Khalil Mack (Raiders)
Mack was the most productive pass rusher in 2016 according to pro football focus that grades every play of every game. Mack wins in terms of efficiency, those numbers prove it. Mack’s 11 sacks, however, does fall short of Beasley and Miller which might take him out of the race. He does have one thing going for him, though. He is by far the best of the trio in terms of run defense. Sadly the voters only care about sacks. He did lead the NFL with 96 total quarterback pressures which are first by a mile.
3. Vonn Miller (Broncos)
Miller seemed like a lock to win the award midway through the season. Miller had 13.5 sacks in 12 games and didn’t record one in his final four games. Part of the reason for that is the Broncos fell apart offensively and didn’t have a lead to protect. The Super Bowl MVP in 2015 has as good of a shot at any to win the award.
4. Landon Collins (Giants)
Outside of the edge rusher, Collins really stood out this season. You could make the case that Collins should win the award for the most improved player too. Collins had a grade of 92.1 capping off an outstanding season. Collins led the safety position with 46 defensive stops. He also added 5 interceptions to go along with his impressive stat line.