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Jaguars Midseason Superlatives: Tyson Campbell Leads the Way for the Defense

In a look at the defensive side of the ball for the Jaguars, we debate who deserves the most praise for how the team has played to this point.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are finally hitting the bye week. It couldn't have come at a better time for the 3-7 squad, especially considering the second-half of their schedule features games against the Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, and Tennessee Titans twice.

So with the Jaguars now at the halfway point of their break, we will look at which players have stood out the most on offense and defense, earning superlatives for best player, best assistant and much more.

Related: Jaguars Midseason Superlatives: Etienne Dominates Halfway Point for Offense

Next up: the defense.

Defensive Player of the Year: Tyson Campbell

Other considerations: Rayshawn Jenkins, DaVon Hamilton

It isn't hard to find the answer for this one. There hasn't been a single player on the defense who has flashed elite play as often as Campbell has, with Campbell officially stepping into a No. 1 cornerback role in Year 2. Campbell has begun to shadow for the Jaguars and has held his own against the likes of Courtland Sutton, Davante Adams, A.J. Brown, and others throughout the year, allowing just a 71.5 passer rating in coverage -- far and away the best among the Jaguars' defensive backs. He has forced 10 incompletions/turnovers with eight pass breakups and two picks and his 51.9% completion rate and 5.5 yards allowed per target are each tops among all Jaguars defenders. He has been the real deal this year.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Travon Walker

Other considerations: Devin Lloyd

There isn't a runaway winner here, but we give the nod to Travon Walker. Walker has been a work-in-progress as a pass-rusher, recording just 2.5 sacks, three tackles for loss and six quarterback hits in 10 games. But he is fourth among all rookies in pressures and has seen an uptick in his pressure production in recent weeks, all while still being a strong run-defender. Devin Lloyd certainly started off on a faster note, but his two interceptions and two fumble recoveries don't make up for the rookie wall he has hit in recent weeks.

Defensive Comeback Player of the Year: Rayshawn Jenkins

Other considerations: Tre Herndon

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There aren't many players to choose from when it comes to this award. Either defensive players this year have disappointed or are not coming off seasons that would justify a comeback nod. Rayshawn Jenkins gets it, though, for a few reasons. One, he did sustain a season-ending injury last year that saw him take a little bit to get back to full-speed in camp. Then there is the fact that Jenkins looks like a different player in 2022 compared to 2021, significantly improving and recording an interception, a forced fumble and nine pass-breakups in 2022. For comparison, he recorded no picks, no forced fumbles and just three pass breakups in 14 starts last year.

Defensive Assistant Coach of the Year: Safeties Coach Cody Grimm

Other considerations: Inside linebackers coach Tony Gilbert

Rayshawn Jenkins has played inspired football this year, arguably playing like one of the two best defenders on the team. Add in Andre Cisco improving each week and already recording three interceptions, and it is easy to say Cody Grimm has gotten plenty of production out of his unit this year. Tony Gilbert has had to deal with two rookies taking snaps at linebacker this year but has helped each flash at times, while Foyesade Oluokun is having a solid season.

Defensive 12th Man of the Year: Dawuane Smoot

Other considerations: Arden Key

This one could truly go to both players, but we give it to Dawuane Smoot thanks to his team-leading 5.0 sacks and a forced fumble. Smoot and Key have each been solid players as rotational pass-rushers and even backup EDGE defenders, with both providing more pass-rush than even starting pass-rushers Josh Allen and Travon Walker at times.

DL of the Year: DaVon Hamilton

Other considerations: Josh Allen

Josh Allen started the year off as one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL, but the last month has seen his season simmer down a good bit. As a result, we give the nod this year to Jacksonville's most consistent and reliable defensive lineman in DaVon Hamilton. Hamilton has played multiple roles for the Jaguars' front due to injuries this year and has been both strong against the run and the pass, leading the defensive line in run stops while adding on 14 pressures.

Defensive Play of the year: Andre Cisco's Pick-Six of Jalen Hurts in Week 4

Other considerations: Dawuane Smoot sack of Derek Carr in Week 9

Yes, this play came in a loss, but it was the single most impactful and exciting play the Jaguars defense has produced this year. Dawuane Smoot sacking Derek Carr to clinch a win and snap a losing streak in Week 9 is close, though.