Defensive Player of the Year: Preston Smith
The model of consistency during his time in Green Bay, Preston Smith concludes his third straight season with at least eight sacks for the club.
In his age-31 season, typically, you will start to see the decline on the field by a player his age. But Smith is still playing the best ball of his career, and his veteran leadership is paramount to the team.
Smith was once again stout against the run, remaining one of the tops in his position at stopping the run, and he had the lowest missed tackle rate of all Packers (2.1).
Rashan Gary led the Packers with nine sacks, but it's been Smith more consistently being the Packers most impactful defender down the stretch. He also finished third on the team in pressures and now holds the 13th-most sacks in the NFL since 2015.
What earned Smith the award were his contributions in the final three games, all being must-win for the Packers. Against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 17, Smith was causing havoc for one of the best tackles in football, Christian Darrisaw. He practically lived in the backfield and tallied a strip sack in the game.
In Week 16 against the Carolina Panthers, he posted 1.5 sacks and a tackle for a loss. In the regular season finale with the Bears, Smith registered two tackles, but like he's done all season, he remained the model of consistency and seemed to be anywhere the football was. He's now 12-0 against the Bears.
Smith proved any doubters at the beginning of the season wrong, finishing only one sack behind the team leader, and was a top PFF-graded player on defense all season (73.9). Smith registered the fifth most snaps on the Packers' defense and missed only one game, his fourth missed game since joining the team in 2019.