Bills Midway Awards: Defensive MVP

The Buffalo Bills have plenty of worthy candidates for defensive MVP but Mr. Big Stuff, Marcell Dareus, gets the award at the midway point of Buffalo's season.

This is an award that could go to quite a few different players. You could make a realistic case for any one of Buffalo’s starting defensive linemen. Preston Brown, Buffalo’s third round pick, has looked nothing like a rookie and leads the team in tackles. How about Leodis McKelvin? Buffalo’s veteran cornerback is second in the league in interceptions with four. Aaron Williams’ stats may not warrant him as a defensive MVP, but the Bills look a lot different without him on the field.

So who is Buffalo’s MVP? At the midway point of the season, Mr. Big Stuff, Marcell Dareus, gets my vote.

It was a busy offseason for Dareus. In April, the Buffalo Bills exercised their fifth year option on the defensive tackle. In May, he was arrested with synthetic marijuana in Alabama, and in June, Dareus was charged in a drag racing incident in Buffalo. Many worried about Dareus’ maturity and if his off the field woes would affect his play. Through eight games, there’s no doubt that Dareus has moved past this problems. No defensive tackle in the NFL is playing at a higher level.

Dareus is first in the NFL in sacks among all defensive tackles with seven. His 27 total tackles is eighth among all defensive tackles and nose tackles. No defensive tackle has played more snaps than Dareus’ 434 snaps

Over at Pro Football Focus, Dareus is ranked as the seventh best defensive tackle with a +15.3 rating (Subscription Required). His grade is broken down as follows: +3.7 pass rush, +2.0 coverage, +9.2 run, +0.4 penalty. Dareus ranks 20th in pass rush, 1st in coverage and is 5th against the run according to the analytics site. They credit Dareus with two quarterback hits, nine quarterback hurries, one batted pass and 19 stops.

Dareus is one of the biggest reasons why Jim Schwartz’s defense is playing at such a high level. Schwartz’s defense asks for defensive tackles to make plays in space. There’s no denying that Dareus has been up to the task this season alongside Kyle Williams. If the Bills want to continue their playoff push in the second half, Dareus will have to continue to disrupt opposing offenses. If anyone can do it, it’s Mr. Big Stuff.

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