NFL Defensive Player of the Year List

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The NFL's "Defensive Player of the Year" award is one of the most prestigious honors in professional American football. Each year, it recognizes the player who has made the most significant impact on the defensive side of the ball throughout the season.

Related: The 16 Best Rookie Seasons in NFL History

The "Defensive Player of the Year" award shines a spotlight on the individuals who excel in either relentless pass rushing, shutdown coverage, impeccable tackling, or exceptional playmaking ability. These players are often the catalysts behind their team's defensive success, acting as the linchpins of the unit and leading by example.

Here is every "Defensive Player of the Year" winner in NFL history.

Most Defensive Player of the Year Awards Won

First Defensive Player of the Year

Every NFL Defensive Player of the Year Winner

1971: Alan Page

1972: Joe Greene

1973: Dick Anderson

1974: Joe Greene

1975: Mel Blount

1976: Jack Lambert

1977: Harvey Martin

1978: Randy Gradishar

1979: Lee Roy Selmon

1980: Lester Hayes

1981: Lawrence Taylor

1982: Lawrence Taylor

1983: Doug Betters

1984: Kenny Easley

1985: Mike Singletary

1986: Lawrence Taylor

1987: Reggie White

1988: Mike Singletary

1989: Keith Millard

1990: Bruce Smith

1991: Pat Swilling

1992: Cortez Kennedy

1993: Rod Woodson

1994: Deion Sanders

1995: Bryce Paup

1996: Bruce Smith

1997: Dana Stubblefield

1998: Reggie White

1999: Warren Sapp

2000: Ray Lewis

2001: Michael Strahan

2002: Derrick Brooks

2003: Ray Lewis

2004: Ed Reed

2005: Brian Urlacher

2006: Jason Taylor

2007: Bob Sanders

2008: James Harrison

2009: Charles Woodson

2010: Troy Polamalu

2011: Terrell Suggs

2012: J.J. Watt

2013: Luke Kuechly

2014: J.J. Watt

2015: J.J. Watt

2016: Khalil Mack

2017: Aaron Donald

2018: Aaron Donald

2019: Stephon Gilmore

2020: Aaron Donald

2021: T.J. Watt

2022: Nick Bosa

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