Defensive Player of the Year picks: Khalil Mack, Landon Collins lead pack

The night before Super Bowl LI, the NFL will salute its best players and plays from the 2016 season with "NFL Honors," a star-studded football and entertainment event hosted by Keegan-Michael Key from the Wortham Theater Center in Houston. Here's the broadcasting information for Saturday night's festivities:

» 7 p.m. ET on NFL Network: Super Bowl Saturday Night, featuring all the red-carpet coverage.
» 8 p.m. ET on FOX: 6th Annual NFL Honors

One of the awards that will be presented on Saturday: Defensive Player of the Year for the 2016 season. Who gets your vote?

I watched this guy a lot this season, and I don't think any defensive player had a better overall year than Mack. OK, my brother, Derek, was slightly off on his prediction of Mack's sack count, but I'd take this guy on my team any day of the week. The Raiders had problems on defense all season, but Khalil Mack wasn't one of them. He finished the year with 11 sacks, five forced fumbles, a pick-six and enough big plays to help Oakland reach the postseason for the first time since 2002. Imagine where this defense would be without him. After an average rookie year, Landon Collins streamlined his body and improved in every meaningful category. He made so many plays for this Giants defense it looked like there were two of him on the field. Khalil Mack wins this one for me this year. He was a force and the leader of the Raiders' defense. He attracted a ton of attention and still had 11 sacks and multiple turnovers. He's due for a big payday this offseason. From Week 1 to Week 17, against the run or the pass, Von Miller was the best overall defensive player in football on a snap-to-snap basis. Don't penalize him because his teammates struggled. I went with Khalil Mack because of his versatility as a pass rusher, run defender and cover man. You can move him around and impact the quarterback from multiple positions. He racked up 73 tackles, 11 sacks, five forced fumbles, three pass breakups and even returned an interception for a touchdown. No other pass rusher compiled that kind of stat sheet. The Giants were the most improved defense in the NFL -- the unit played a huge role in the midseason turnaround that saw the team win six games in a row. And at one point, Landon Collins led the Giants in most defensive categories. It seemed like he was making game-changing (or game- sealing) plays every week. Nobody played better than this guy, in my opinion. I was behind some Bears fan at the draft in Chicago a couple years ago and this homer screamed for his squad (our squad?) to take Vic Beasley instead of Kevin White. Why isn't that guy the Bears GM? I know, analysis. No defender had a classic year, but Mack was clutch and dominant, collecting 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and a pick-six. He gets the nod -- as I predicted he would in the preseason -- over Atlanta's Vic Beasley, Seattle's Bobby Wagner and Tampa Bay's Gerald McCoy. Even though the Broncos didn't make the postseason, Von Miller single-handedly won them a few games and was a terror all year. At various points this season, the Seahawks were without some key defensive players -- Michael Bennett, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas -- so Bobby Wagner had to make up for a lot. And he led the league in tackles (167) while also logging 4.5 sacks and a pick. The Giants' defensive front understandably received a lot of attention in 2016, but Landon Collins was literally all over the field, leading a Big Blue defense tasked with making up for its offense's deficiencies. The Chiefs had a lot of good defensive players, but that unit doesn't go without Eric Berry. He was the quarterback of the defense and made countless game-changing plays for Kansas City. There's not one player who has really separated from the pack for Defensive Player of the Year -- like J.J. Watt did in three of the last four seasons. So I'm going to give this one to the league's sack leader, Vic Beasley. He came into his own in just his second pro season and had a breakout campaign with 15.5 sacks and six forced fumbles. It was a great year for this young pass rusher. For me, the Defensive Player of the Year race comes down to Khalil Mack and Vic Beasley. I'm giving this one to Mack because he made impact plays for the Raiders on a regular basis. He forced quarterbacks to turn the ball over countless times and was very disruptive in the run game. Mack set the tone all season for the Raiders' defense. Not to mention, he racked up 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and a pick.

If I had to choose one, I would take Khalil Mack -- though Landon Collins is deserving, as well. Mack racked up impressive stats, but what stood out to me was the fact that he was involved in over 1,000 plays. That is a very high number for a pass rusher. Throw in that he is stout against the run, and you have a player who can affect a game on every down.

So many defensive players had fantastic seasons. Thisisgonnabeclose.

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