The Associated Press announced Saturday evening that Terrell Suggs of the Ravens is its 2011 winner of the Defensive Player of the Year award.
Suggs held off Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, receiving 21 votes compared to Allen’s 14. Also receiving votes were 49ers defenders Justin Smith, Navorro Bowman, and Patrick Willis, along with Packers cornerback Charles Woodson, and Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
Woodson’s inclusion was surprising. Perhaps more surprising was the fact that Pierre-Paul didn’t make a stronger run at Suggs. Suggs did have a beastly regular season, recording 70 tackles, 14 sacks, seven forced fumbles, and two interceptions. Allen led the NFL with 22 sacks, chipping in four fumbles forced.
Pierre-Paul was credited with more tackles (86) than both Suggs and Allen. He registered 16.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.