Defensive Player of the Year: Jason Pierre-Paul, Defensive End
Throughout the first eight weeks, Jason Pierre-Paul has proved to be one of the best free agent decisions ever made by the Buccaneers. The ex-Giant and USF Bull quickly emerged as a leader in training camp, and his play on the field has been excellent to match.
He has eight sacks at the mid-way point of the season, which feels euphoric to type. Everyone reading this knows how long it’s been since Tampa fielded an elite defensive end.
With Gerald McCoy and Vinny Curry injured for the past few games, there’s been added responsibility for Pierre-Paul to carry the pass-rush. He has responded, to the tune of three sacks in the last two games. Pierre-Paul has a sack in every game but one this year and has already matched his total from last season.
He’s roughly on pace to match his career high of sixteen sacks in a season, though that’s a lofty goal to hit. Overall no Buccaneer defender has been more consistently disruptive than Pierre-Paul has this season, and I don’t expect that to change over the final eight games.