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There are many prominent names in the National Football League that will not be included on this list. While you would expect DeMarcus Ware and Jared Allen to be in the top five, they have been replaced by several surprise players.
One of those players is inside linebacker Daryl Washington. He is enjoying a monster season with the Arizona Cardinals and has become one of the top defenders in all of football.
The 26-year-old had a great year in 2011, leading all middle linebackers with 5.5 sacks and over 100 tackles. Despite this, he did not get much recognition around the league.
Washington had improved in every game and was set for a big year in 2012. The Cardinals rewarded his fine play with a six-year contract worth $32.5 million.
Heading into the year with a new contract and very high expectations for the defense, he has certainly lived up to the hype.
Arizona’s defense has been taken over by Washington and he is one of the few Cardinals that should be in the Pro Bowl.
His 79 solo tackles are tops in the league and nine sacks is unheard of for an inside linebacker.
Playing in Arizona, Washington will not win this award. His name must at least be considered, however, with the type of season that he is having.