Who do you think should win the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year?
Clay Matthews has thus far given the Packers a fine season, with his 12.5 sacks, 45 tackles and an interception returned for a touchdown while anchoring a team that's currently ranked ninth defensively.
Julius Peppers is another prime candidate, as he's helped revive the Monsters of the Midway, in fact Brian Urlacher even campaigned for Peppers to win the award.
James Harrison would be a solid choice, and has been the last three years, winning it in 2008, and whatever bonus he gets from winning the award should hopefully be enough to help pay the fines that the NFL has slapped him with this season for "dirty" hits.
His teammate Troy Polamalu is someone who, when healthy, should also be considered for the award every year.
However I feel that the Defensive Player of the Year should be someone whom I have yet to see mentioned for the award: Miami Dolphins linebacker/defensive end Cameron Wake.
And this isn't based off of blind homerism either; the statistics back this up.
Wake has been the anchor of a Dolphins defense that is currently ranked fifth in the NFL in total defense allowing only 299.2 yards per game, and eighth in scoring defense, as they've only allowed 18.8 points per game. Many of those points are due to either offensive turnovers or special teams miscues that give the opposing team great field position.
Wake currently can boast having 49 tackles, with 41 of them being solo tackles, to go along with three forced fumbles. However those numbers pale in comparison to the number of sacks he currently has.
He leads the NFL in sacks at 14.0. Second to him? Popular Defensive Player of the Year nominee Clay Matthews, who only has two more tackles than Wake, two fewer forced fumbles and 1.5 fewer sacks.
So why hasn't Wake been mentioned as a candidate? Could it be the Dolphins' pedestrian 7-6 record? Quite possibly, however, based on the stats, you see that the 7-6 record is not the fault of Wake or the defense.
Quick, tell me how many "Fire Mike Nolan" articles have you read on here?
Now how many "Fire Dan Henning" articles do you see on a daily basis?
Besides, history has shown that records and team success do not factor into the voting for DPOY.
Remember when Jason Taylor was DPOY? The Dolphins were only 6-10 that year as Saban was packing up to move to Alabama. Yet Taylor still turned in 62 tackles, 13.5 sacks and nine forced fumbles. Just for fun he even added two interceptions that he returned for touchdowns.
The 1992 Seattle Seahawks finished 2-14. However their defense ranked 10th and was led by Cortez Kennedy, who wound up winning Defensive Player of the Year that season, recording 14 sacks as well as four forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and 92 tackles.
Wake won't get to 92 tackles of course, however he already has 14 sacks and three forced fumbles with three games left to play. It's easy to think that barring injury in these next three games he could very well add on to the sacks and forced fumbles.
And we already know that this year's Dolphins team will have more victories than the '06 Dolphins or the '92 Seahawks.
When the voters are thinking of Defensive Player of the Year, everyone I mentioned at the beginning of this article is definitely a strong candidate.
However in the end, I hope they "Wake" up and see that the best candidate is in Miami.