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.

Two members of the Green Bay Packers have been honored with the award. In 1998, defensive end Reggie White won the award for a second time in his final season with the team. The most recent winner is cornerback Charles Woodson, who had nine interceptions and three touchdown runbacks for the Packers to take the 2009 honor.

Multiple-award winners include Lawrence Taylor, J.J. Watt, and Aaron Donald who won it three times each, 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).

Winners

NFL Defensive Player of the Year winners
Presented by the Associated Press
Year No. Player of the Year Pos Team G Tkl Sck Int Yds TD FF FR Yds
1971 APage1.png Alan Page DT Vikings helmet.png Minnesota Vikings 14 -- -- 0 0 0 -- 3 8
1972 JGreene1.png Joe Greene DT Steelers helmet.png Pittsburgh Steelers 14 -- -- 0 0 0 -- 1 0
1973 Eckel1.png Dick Anderson S Dolphins helmet.png Miami Dolphins 14 -- -- 8 163 2 -- 0 0
1974 JGreene1.png Joe Greene DT Steelers helmet.png Pittsburgh Steelers 14 -- -- 1 26 0 -- 4 7
1975 Blount1.png Mel Blount CB Steelers helmet.png Pittsburgh Steelers 14 -- -- 11 121 0 -- 0 0
1976 Lambert1.png Jack Lambert MLB Steelers helmet.png Pittsburgh Steelers 14 -- -- 2 32 0 -- 8 36
1977 HMartin2.png Harvey Martin DE Cowboys helmet.png Dallas Cowboys 14 -- -- 0 0 0 -- 2 7
1978 Romanowski1.png Randy Gradishar OLB Broncos helmet.png Denver Broncos 14 -- -- 4 19 0 -- 2 30
1979 Selmon1.png Lee Roy Selmon DE Buccaneers helmet.png Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16 -- -- 0 0 0 -- 2 29
1980 LHayes1.png Lester Hayes CB Raiders helmet.png Oakland Raiders 16 -- -- 13 273 1 -- 2 0
1981 LTaylor1.png Lawrence Taylor OLB Giants helmet.png New York Giants 16 -- -- 1 1 0 -- 1 4
1982 LTaylor1.png Lawrence Taylor OLB Giants helmet.png New York Giants 9 -- 7.5 1 97 1 -- 0 0
1983 Garner1.png Doug Betters DE Dolphins helmet.png Miami Dolphins 16 -- 16.0 0 0 0 -- 4 0
1984 Easley1.png Kenny Easley S Seahawks helmet.png Seattle Seahawks 16 -- 0.0 10 126 2 -- 1 0
1985 Singletary1.png Mike Singletary MLB Bears helmet.png Chicago Bears 16 -- 3.0 1 23 0 -- 3 11
1986 LTaylor1.png Lawrence Taylor OLB Giants helmet.png New York Giants 16 -- 20.5 0 0 0 -- 0 0
1987 White1PHI.png Reggie White DE Eagles helmet.png Philadelphia Eagles 12 76 21.0 0 0 0 4 1 70
1988 Singletary1.png Mike Singletary MLB Bears helmet.png Chicago Bears 16 -- 1.0 1 13 0 -- 1 4
1989 Millard1.png Keith Millard DT Vikings helmet.png Minnesota Vikings 16 -- 18.0 1 48 0 0 1 31
1990 Bruce Smith1.png Bruce Smith DE Bills helmet2.png Buffalo Bills 16 101 19.0 0 0 0 4 0 0
1991 Swilling1.png Pat Swilling OLB Saints helmet.png New Orleans Saints 16 60 17.0 1 39 1 6 1 5
1992 CKennedy1.png Cortez Kennedy DT Seahawks helmet.png Seattle Seahawks 16 92 14.0 0 0 0 4 1 19
1993 RWoodson1.png Rod Woodson CB Steelers helmet.png Pittsburgh Steelers 16 95 2.0 8 138 1 2 1 0
1994 DSanders1SF.png Deion Sanders CB 49ers helmet.png San Francisco 49ers 14 34 0.0 6 303 3 0 1 0
1995 Kyle Williams1.png Bryce Paup OLB Bills helmet2.png Buffalo Bills 15 70 17.5 2 0 0 3 1 0
1996 Bruce Smith1.png Bruce Smith DE Bills helmet2.png Buffalo Bills 16 69 13.5 0 0 0 5 1 0
1997 Justin Smith1.png Dana Stubblefield DT 49ers helmet.png San Francisco 49ers 16 48 15.0 0 0 0 3 0 0
1998 White1.png Reggie White DE Packers helmet.png Green Bay Packers 16 33 16.0 0 0 0 4 0 0
1999 Sapp1.png Warren Sapp DT Buccaneers helmet.png Tampa Bay Buccaneers 15 27 12.5 0 0 0 4 2 0
2000 RLewis1.png Ray Lewis MLB Ravens helmet.png Baltimore Ravens 16 107 3.0 2 1 0 0 3 0
2001 Strahan99.png Michael Strahan DE Giants helmet.png New York Giants 16 62 22.5 0 0 0 6 1 13
2002 DBrooks1.png Derrick Brooks OLB Buccaneers helmet.png Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16 88 1.0 5 218 3 1 1 11
2003 RLewis1.png Ray Lewis MLB Ravens helmet.png Baltimore Ravens 16 121 1.5 6 99 1 2 2 1
2004 Ed Reed1.png Ed Reed S Ravens helmet.png Baltimore Ravens 16 64 2.0 9 358 1 3 2 44
2005 Urlacher1.png Brian Urlacher MLB Bears helmet.png Chicago Bears 16 98 6.0 0 0 0 1 1 0
2006 Jason Taylor1.png Jason Taylor DE Dolphins helmet.png Miami Dolphins 16 41 13.5 2 71 2 9 2 33
2007 Bob Sanders1.png Bob Sanders S Colts helmet.png Indianapolis Colts 15 71 3.5 2 32 0 0 1 25
2008 JHarrison1.png James Harrison OLB Steelers helmet.png Pittsburgh Steelers 15 59 16.0 1 33 0 7 0 0
2009 Woodson1.png Charles Woodson CB Packers helmet.png Green Bay Packers 16 65 2.0 9 179 3 4 0 0
2010 Polamalu1.png Troy Polamalu S Steelers helmet.png Pittsburgh Steelers 14 49 1.0 7 101 1 1 1 0
2011 Suggs1.png Terrell Suggs OLB Ravens helmet.png Baltimore Ravens 16 70 14.0 2 9 0 7 0 0
2012 Texans99.png J.J. Watt DE Texans helmet.png Houston Texans 16 81 20.5 0 0 0 4 2 7
2013 Kuechly1.PNG Luke Kuechly MLB Panthers helmet.png Carolina Panthers 16 156 2.0 4 33 0 0 0 0
2014 Texans99.png J.J. Watt DE Texans helmet.png Houston Texans 16 78 20.5 1 80 1 4 5 59
2015 Texans99.png J.J. Watt DE Texans helmet.png Houston Texans 16 76 17.5 0 0 0 3 1 0
2016 Raiders52.png Khalil Mack DE Raiders helmet.png Oakland Raiders 16 73 11.0 1 6 1 5 3 1
2017 Donald.PNG Aaron Donald DT Rams helmet.png Los Angeles Rams 14 41 11.0 0 0 0 5 1 0
2018 Donald.PNG Aaron Donald DT Rams helmet.png Los Angeles Rams 16 59 20.5 0 0 0 4 2 0

Comparison

By player

Multiple-award winners include Lawrence Taylor, J.J. Watt, and Aaron Donald who won it three times each, 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).

National Football League Defensive Player of the Year Award winners
• Multiple winners by player •
Tier No. Player of the Year Pos Team Seasons Awards
1st LTaylor1.png Lawrence Taylor OLB Giants helmet.png New York Giants 1981 • 1982 • 1986 3
Texans99.png J.J. Watt DE Texans helmet.png Houston Texans 2012 • 2014 • 2015
Donald.PNG Aaron Donald DT Rams helmet.png Los Angeles Rams 2017 • 2018 • 2020
2nd JGreene1.png Joe Greene DT Steelers helmet.pngPittsburgh Steelers 1972 • 1974 2
Singletary1.png Mike Singletary MLB Bears helmet.png Chicago Bears 1985 • 1988
Bruce Smith1.png Bruce Smith DE Bills helmet2.png Buffalo Bills 1990 • 1995
White1PHI.png
White1.png
Reggie White DE Eagles helmet.pngPhiladelphia Eagles
Packers helmet.pngGreen Bay Packers
1987 • 1998
RLewis1.png Ray Lewis MLB Ravens helmet.png Baltimore Ravens 2000 • 2003

See also

References

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.