3. Robert Quinn, DE, St. Louis Rams
Quinn led the NFL in sacks last season with 19, and there is a good chance he will reach that amount again since he will have loads of help on the defensive line with Chris Long returning at defensive end and Aaron Donald adding depth at defensive tackle. Quinn also had seven forced fumbles last season, and the Rams defense is set to possibly be a top-five unit. If this happens, Quinn will likely have been the main reason for it.
2. Earl Thomas, S, Seattle Seahawks
While nothing should be taken away from Sherman, Thomas is the best defensive player on the Seahawks. His game is better all-around, as demonstrated by posting 105 tackles along with five interceptions. The Seahawks also seem to value him most since he was first to receive a contract extension. It will be hard for Thomas to win Defensive Player of the Year since Sherman will probably eat away some of his votes, but his impact does not go unnoticed.