This week, Acme Packing Company will look back at the first half of the Green Bay Packers' 2015 season to identify the most outstanding players in a variety of categories. In the second of four posts, we will break down our choices for Defensive Most Valuable Player.
Four APC writers contributed to our rankings by listing our top three options for each award. We assigned points as follows: 3 points for first-place vote, 2 points for second-place vote, 1 point for third-place vote. You'll see the number of points next to each player's name.
Clay Matthews (12 points)
Matthews was the unanimous choice for defensive MVP, and it's not tough to see why. He is second on the team with 4.5 sacks, has added an interception and a fumble recovery, and has been the only player on defense that opposing teams truly need to game-plan around. His ability to fly around the field from all four linebacker positions has given Dom Capers a weapon he has not had since Charles Woodson, and he was critical to the team's hot start on that side of the ball.
Mike Daniels (8)
Daniels was a unanimous pick at #2 on the defense, largely based on his performance early on in the season. Daniels has three sacks and numerous stops against the run, and has once again been the Packers' best and most consistent defensive lineman (not that its necessarily saying much). With the secondary struggling in recent weeks, Daniels' start earned him this spot in our voting.
Damarious Randall (2)
The rookie has been impressive so far this season and has shown more than enough to justify his selection as the Packers' first-round pick this fall. He has had a few growing pains, like the big plays he allowed against the Panthers, but his ability to put those behind him and focus on the next play shows that he has the mental makeup to be a great corner someday. Beyond that, his 10 pass breakups lead the team and he is tied with our next player for the team lead with two interceptions.
Sam Shields (1)
Shields is here in part because it is clear how much the secondary missed him in the past two games while he was out. With him absent, the Packers don't have a reliable option on the boundary opposite Randall, and have had to settle for mediocre (at best) play from Casey Hayward and Demetri Goodson on the outside. Shields has also made a pair of interceptions and has added eight pass breakups.
Morgan Burnett (1)
This pick may be signified by the defense's play against the run in his absence as much as by Burnett's actual play on the field. He was the only player in the secondary who had a consistently good game against the Panthers, and while he was out Micah Hyde was often exposed in space.
With Matthews locked in as the #1 option for Defensive MVP, which one of these players would be your pick for second place? Let us know in the poll below and in the comments.