While offensive players, particularly offensive skill position players, get the most attention generally speaking, defense is just as important as offense in the NFL. As such, a great defensive player can still have a huge impact on a game. They could be a defensive end who racks up sacks, a linebacker who is a tackling machine, a shutdown cornerback, or somebody else. So, who is the best defensive player in the NFL?
There are many competitors for that title to be sure. Players like Julius Peppers and DeMarcus Ware are as good as anybody at getting after the quarterback. Plus, as an outside linebacker Ware also drops back into coverage on occasion, making him even more valuable. Patrick Willis is probably the best middle linebacker in the NFL, consistently ending up as one of the top tacklers since he entered the league. At safety, guys like Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed are huge difference makers, though Reed is getting on in years and will start this season on the PUP list, thus missing six games, at least.
However, Sportsbook.com believes the best defensive player in the NFL right now is probably a cornerback. It isn't Charles Woodson, the reigning defensive player of the year. It isn't Nnamdi Asomugha either, though he is one of the few true shutdown corners in the league. No, the title should go to Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets. The numbers bear it out; if you are a wide receiver lining up against Revis, prepare for a long day. For being one of the few players who can lock down an elite wide receiver without help, and doing it better than anybody else, Revis has earned the title of top defensive player in the NFL.