The Jaguars signed DE Calais Campbell in March to a four year deal worth $15 million per year. With such a lofty price tag, expectations were extremely high for the veteran from Arizona. Prior to joining the Jaguars Campbell spent his entire career with the Cardinals and had recorded at least five sacks in every season since 2009. 2016 was one of his better campaigns - he recorded 8 sacks, 6 passes defended and earned several offseason awards doled out by different media companies.
Even with Campbell's already impressive career and big time price tag no one, and I do mean no one, could have predicted the type of impact he has had for the Jaguars in 2017. Through just six weeks Campbell has recorded 8 sacks, several of which were half sacks. He's hit opposing QBs 14 times and amassed a remarkable 32 pressures, averaging 6 pressures per game. He's on pace to record more sacks in the first half of 2017 than he ever has in an entire season.
Beyond his remarkable statistical production Campbell's presence has freed up others along the defensive line to have some impressive statistical production. Dante Fowler and Yannick Ngakoue both have already recorded four sacks, while Abry Jones and Malik Jackson have both contributed in the sack column as well. With Campbell on the field every other player on the Jaguars defense, specifically the defensive line gets better.
He's also become an instant leader and face of the franchise. His trademark low and raspy voice can regularly be heard pumping up teammates and demanding the most out of the Jaguars defense.
It's still early on in the season and a lot can change, but through six weeks Campbell has been playing as good or better than any other defender in football. He's the unquestioned leader on a defensive line that leads the NFL in sacks. The Jaguars impressive pass rush has also allowed the Jaguars secondary and linebackers to make big plays in coverage - the Jaguars lead the league in interceptions and turnovers forced.
There's a long way to go, but to this point Campbell has been playing at a Defensive MVP level. He's not only on pace to shatter the Jaguars single season sack record, but he's also on pace to record 21 sacks - just 1.5 sacks behind the all time NFL record.
Calais Campbell was money well spent for the Jaguars and certainly has earned the right to be talked about as the early season NFL Defensive MVP.
Would you vote for Calais Campbell as NFL Defensive MVP? Let us know in the comments below!
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