The NFL will announce the winner of the 2011 AP Defensive Player of the Year award tonight on NFL Network at 7 pm ET. The league is announcing its major awards one by one over the course of the week, with Offensive Player of the Year on Tuesday, followed by Wednesday's Coach of the Year, Thursday's Rookie of the Year, Friday's Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year, and Saturday's Comeback Player of the Year.
The 2011 NFL MVP will be announced Sunday on GameDay Morning.
Defensive front-runners include Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and LB James Harrison, Chicago Bears DE Julius Peppers, and Miami Dolphins DE Cameron Wake. Voting for the award concluded before the postseason began, so the strong postseason play of the three Super Bowl participants won't be factored in.
Still, an NFL.com poll has Matthews winning by a wide margin, followed by a distant Polamalu.