This is a tough one to decide, with many strong candidates to consider, including
Chandler Jones and
Demarcus Lawrence. But I thought
Calais Campbell played a huge role in bringing Jacksonville's defense together. He notched 14.5 sacks in 2017, easily a career high, and he's a strong run-stopper -- it's surely no coincidence that the
Jaguars reached the AFC title game after bringing Campbell into the fold.
Calais Campbell (14.5 sacks) took an entire defense -- and team -- to a new level. He set the tone for a defensive line, which set the tone for the entire defense, which carried the Jags to the playoffs.
Cam Jordan caused problems all season long on an improved
Saints defense. He was one of the reasons the unit went from
31st in points allowed in 2016 to
10th this season. Plus, 13 sacks is pretty dang good.
I almost wanted to be a hipster and
pick him for MVP, but DPOY works just fine. It's funny: A lot of folks thought Campbell pulled a cash grab when he spurned the
Broncos for the
Jaguars. Turns out, Campbell is a pretty good talent evaluator, as well.
I really thought he was going to be the Charles Haley to this young team as it won the
Super Bowl a year ahead of schedule. If only.
Harrison Smith played lights-out this season and was
Pro Football Focus' highest-graded player on Minnesota's stellar defense.
It's not often that you see a player putting together career numbers in his 10th season, but that's what
Calais Campbell just did. In addition to blowing past his previous career-high in sacks, Campbell added plenty of menace to the league's best defense. Jacksonville's secondary was surely outstanding this season, but it's always nice to have a pass rush that can make quarterbacks uncomfortable.
Jalen Ramsey changed opposing game plans simply by being on the field. And when teams tested the second-year stud, he made them regret that decision. Over and over and over again.
No free-agent acquisition had a bigger impact on his team than
Calais Campbell. People literally questioned why he would sign with Jacksonville this past offseason. He responded by producing 14.5 sacks and becoming one of the key elements in the league's second-ranked defense.
Calais Campbell had the best performance of his career in his first season with Jacksonville. He set the tone with 14.5 sacks and others followed his high-level play.
Everyone's sleeping on
Chandler Jones, but
he led the NFL with 17 sacks. It's unfortunate when a player puts up a banner season ... only to get overlooked because his team performed poorly.
Calais Campbell was exactly the interior threat the
Jaguars needed. He is a veteran guy who came in and dominated, totaling 14.5 sacks.
Jaguars' defense took the next step with players like Campbell leading the charge up front. He had 14.5 sacks in his first year in Jacksonville.