DeMarcus Lawrence is having one of the better seasons that any Dallas Cowboys defensive player has had over the last decade.
Many believe that such a season is worthy of the one of the highest honors achievable, Defensive Player of the Year.
In order to find the last time a star-wearing player was this close to that award, you’d have to go all the way back to 2008 when it was another DeMarcus who showed up greatly, ye of #94, Ware himself.
Pittsburgh’s James Harrison won the award that year, and it was heavily believed that it was due to the Cowboys not making the playoffs (the Steelers won the Super Bowl and Harrison had one of the most amazing plays ever). This was all in spite of Ware leading the league in sacks with 20, his career high.
The highest graded edge defenders in Week 14 pic.twitter.com/uhK2m5zzOA— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) December 13, 2017
Lawrence is sitting on 13.5 sacks through 13 games, and just like Ware in 2008, he has a legitimate chance to win DPOY. His competition could include guys like Chandler Jones, Everson Griffen, and you could throw in some linebackers who are tackling machines. But perhaps his main competition comes from Calais Campbell and Jalen Ramsey, who happen to play for the same team, the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The fact that Campbell and Ramsey play for the same team can be a problem for potential voters.
If you’re considering which of the Jaguars star defenders should be named the NFL’s best, how can you not factor in his teammate?
Campbell and Ramsey will likely present a chicken or the egg argument for voters. Is Ramsey allowed to be who he is because of the pressure generated by Campbell’s unit, or is Campbell allowed to rush as freely as he does due to the security Ramsey provides?
While things won’t obviously stay this general in the eyes of the voters, the double Jags will undoubtedly be a huge issue. Who is the best defensive player outside of them? That would be DeMarcus Lawrence.
Lawrence has a chance to be the benefactor of not just Ramsey and Campbell arguing against one another, but of splitting the vote so to speak. If voters are undecided which one is better, that could lead to a non-uniform number of votes.
Who would have ever thought that DeMarcus Lawrence could someday have the Jacksonville Jaguars to thank for anything?