The Detroit Lions defense took a step in 2017. They weren’t great and they didn’t even finish in the top half of the league, but they did one thing the 2016 team failed to do: Make plays. After forcing just 14 turnovers (t-28th) in 2016, the Lions defenders combined to create 32 takeaways, the third most in the NFL.
Here are your nominees for 2017 Detroit Lions Defensive Player of the Year.
Stats: 16 games, 60 tackles, 8 INTs, 26 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery
Darius Slay set out in 2017 to get his hands on more passes, and he couldn’t have succeeded more in that goal. Slay ended up leading the league both in interceptions and passes defended in 2017. As a result, he went to his first Pro Bowl and was named first-team All Pro, as well.
Stats: 16 games, 84 tackles, 3 INTs, 6 passes defended, 4 forced fumbles, 1 TD
One of the most underappreciated players in the NFL, Quin added to his impressive career resume in 2017. Not only did he force seven turnovers, but he also made some of the most outstanding defensive plays you’ll see in an entire season. His pick-six of Matt Ryan in Week 3 gets a lot of attention, but this fourth down stop against the Packers deserves more recognition:
Quin may not have received All Pro or Pro Bowl honors, but he was a snub. Statistically speaking, he was a stud, and according to Pro Football Focus, he was the fourth-best safety in the league.
Stats: 55 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 3 INTs, 9 passes defended, 1 forced fumble
Diggs’ stats don’t match up to Quin’s or Slay’s, but he managed to do something that both of those players failed to do: switch positions midseason. And he did so with wild success.
After Tavon Wilson was lost for the season due to injury, Diggs shifted to strong safety and looked like a natural. He was laying the hammer on receivers and regularly breaking up passes. LOOK AT THIS PLAY:
Diggs’ 2017 season gives the Detroit Lions a lot of options with their secondary going forward, and Matt Patricia should be excited to use him in 2018.
Stats: 14 games, 44 tackles, 12.0 sacks, 1 forced fumble
If there’s such a thing as a disappointing 12-sack season, Ezekiel Ansah just had it. The Lions veteran defensive end doubled his entire sack total in the final two weeks of the season after totalling just 6.0 sacks in his first 11 games of 2017.
However, early on Ansah struggled with injury, and when his name was finally off the injury report, we saw what we all knew he was capable of.
Who was the Lions’ defensive player of the year in 2017?
This poll is closed