The NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award is given by the Associated Press to the league's most outstanding defensive player at the end of every NFL season since 1971. Multiple-award winners include Lawrence Taylor, who won it three times, and Joe Greene, Mike Singletary, Bruce Smith, Reggie White, and Ray Lewis, who each won it twice. Lawrence Taylor is the only player to win the award as a rookie (1981), and James Harrison is the only one to win it as an undrafted free agent (2008).

During the respective seasons, a Defensive Player of the Week and Defensive Player of the Month are also announced.

NFL Defensive Players Of The YearEdit

YearPlayer Name NFL TeamPositionTeam Defense RankTeam Performance
1971Page, AlanAlan PageMinnesota VikingsDefensive tackle2NFC Division champ
1972Greene, JoeJoe GreenePittsburgh SteelersDefensive tackle8AFC Championship
1973Anderson, DickDick AndersonMiami DolphinsSafety3Won Super Bowl VIII
1974Greene, JoeJoe Greene (2) Pittsburgh Steelers (2)Defensive tackle4Won Super Bowl IX
1975Blount, MelMel BlountPittsburgh Steelers (3)Cornerback4Won Super Bowl X
1976Lambert, JackJack LambertPittsburgh Steelers (4)Linebacker1AFC Championship
1977Martin, HarveyHarvey MartinDallas CowboysDefensive end1Won Super Bowl XII
1978Gradishar, RandyRandy GradisharDenver BroncosLinebacker6AFC Divisional
1979Selmon, Lee RoyLee Roy SelmonTampa Bay BuccaneersDefensive end1NFC Championship
1980Hayes, LesterLester HayesOakland RaidersCornerback11Won Super Bowl XV
1981Taylor, LawrenceLawrence Taylor-RNew York GiantsLinebacker3NFC Divisional
1982Taylor, LawrenceLawrence Taylor (2) New York Giants (2)Linebacker74–5 no playoffs (strike season)
1983Betters, DougDoug BettersMiami Dolphins (2)Defensive end7AFC Divisional
1984Easley, KennyKenny EasleySeattle SeahawksSafety6AFC Divisional
1985Singletary, MikeMike SingletaryChicago BearsLinebacker1Won Super Bowl XX
1986Taylor, LawrenceLawrence Taylor (3) New York Giants (3)Linebacker2Won Super Bowl XXI
1987White, ReggieReggie WhitePhiladelphia EaglesDefensive end237–8 no playoffs (strike season)
1988Singletary, MikeMike Singletary (2)Chicago Bears (2)Linebacker2NFC Championship
1989Millard, KeithKeith MillardMinnesota Vikings (2)Defensive tackle1NFC Divisional
1990Smith, BruceBruce SmithBuffalo BillsDefensive end8Lost Super Bowl XXV
1991Swilling, PatPat SwillingNew Orleans SaintsLinebacker2NFC Wildcard
1992Kennedy, CortezCortez KennedySeattle Seahawks (2)Defensive tackle10t2–14 no playoffs
1993Woodson, RodRod WoodsonPittsburgh Steelers (5)Cornerback3AFC Wildcard
1994Sanders, DeionDeion SandersSan Francisco 49ersCornerback8Won Super Bowl XXIX
1995Paup, BryceBryce PaupBuffalo Bills (2)Linebacker13AFC Divisional
1996Smith, BruceBruce Smith (2) Buffalo Bills (3)Defensive end9AFC Wildcard
1997Stubblefield, DanaDana StubblefieldSan Francisco 49ers (2)Defensive tackle1NFC Championship
1998White, ReggieReggie White (2) Green Bay PackersDefensive end4NFC Wildcard
1999Sapp, WarrenWarren SappTampa Bay Buccaneers (2)Defensive tackle3NFC Championship
2000Lewis, RayRay LewisBaltimore RavensLinebacker2Won Super Bowl XXXV
2001Strahan, MichaelMichael StrahanNew York Giants (4)Defensive end147–9 no playoffs
2002Brooks, DerrickDerrick BrooksTampa Bay Buccaneers (3)Linebacker1Won Super Bowl XXXVII
2003Lewis, RayRay Lewis[1] (2) Baltimore Ravens (2)Linebacker3AFC Wildcard
2004Reed, EdEd Reed[2]Baltimore Ravens (3)Safety69–7 no playoffs
2005Urlacher, BrianBrian Urlacher[3]Chicago Bears (3)Linebacker2NFC Divisional
2006Taylor, JasonJason Taylor[4]Miami Dolphins (3) Defensive end46–10, no playoffs
2007Sanders, BobBob Sanders[5]Indianapolis ColtsSafety3AFC Divisional
2008Harrison, JamesJames Harrison[6]Pittsburgh Steelers (6)Linebacker1Won Super Bowl XLIII
2009Woodson, CharlesCharles Woodson[7]Green Bay Packers (2)Cornerback2NFC Wildcard
2010Polamalu, TroyTroy Polamalu Pittsburgh Steelers (7) Safety 2Lost Super Bowl XLV
2011Suggs, TerrellTerrell Suggs Baltimore Ravens (4) Linebacker 3AFC Championship

See also Edit


  1. "Ray Lewis goes from murder suspect to NFL's Defensive Player of Year". Batesville Daily Guard website. Associated Press. January 3, 2001. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  2. "First safety in 20 years to win defensive award". Associated Press. January 7, 2005. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  3. "Urlacher named AP Defensive Player of the Year". Associated Press. January 6, 2006. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  4. Wilner, Barry (January 5, 2007). "Taylor takes home AP Defensive Player of the Year honor". Associated Press. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  5. "AP picks Colts' Sanders as top defensive player". Associated Press. January 7, 2008. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  6. Wilner, Barry (January 5, 2009). "Steelers' Harrison is AP Defensive Player of Year". Associated Press. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  7. "Packers CB Woodson voted AP's top defensive player". Associated Press. January 12, 2010. Retrieved October 27, 2010.[dead link]

External linksEdit

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