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Oakland Raiders: S&BP Raiders 2008 Player Achievement Awards - Part III: Defensive Player of the Year

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In a very competitive poll, the winner of the Silver and Black Pride Most Improved Player of the Year, goes to Johnnie Lee Higgins with 37% of the vote.

Now it's time for the S&BP community to turn its attention the part III in the series: Defensive Player of the Year.

Since the Raiders defense, with a few exceptions, was obviously not very good last season, the criterea that you shoud use for this award should be the players impact to the defense, rather than pure stats.

The candidates for Defensive Player of the Year are:

Nnamdi Asomugha

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The "Awesome One" as he is known around these parts, is the pure definition of a shut down corner. Nnamdi only totaled one interception during the 2008 season, but that is a deceiving stat which does not tell the whole picture of Nnamdi's defense. Asomugha defended 9 passes in 2008 and Football Outsiders only tracked 26 passes thrown at him in 2008, which is about a dozen fewer attempts as any other CB on their top 10 list. Nnamdi leads by example and he is truly the leader of this team.

Chris Johnson

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Chris Johnson replaced DeAngelo Hall midway through the season and he made the most of his opportunities. Whille Nnamdi was becoming bored with the lack of attention he was getting, CJ was the recipient of a lot of attention from opposing QB's. CJ ended 2008 with 35 tackles, 12 passes defended and 3 interceptions. Oakland's pass defense was clearly improved and CJ's elevated play had a lot to do with it.

Trevor Scott

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Rookie Trevor Scott, a converted tight end, did not see the field much early in the season. But when Trevor got his chances, he performed and became a factor on the field producing 19 solo tackles and 5 sacks.

Thomas Howard

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Though Howard's stats for 2008 were not as impressive as the previous year, his presence on the field was felt and he rarely left. Howard ended up with 97 tackles, 1 sack and one interception.

Next up: Offensive Player of the Year.