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Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Mike Sando's MVP Watch

By Mike Sando

Aldon Smith and Von Miller
Aldon Smith, left, and Von Miller have moved into the MVP discussion with dominant play.
No defensive player has won MVP honors in the NFL since Lawrence Taylor following the 1986 season.

The 2011 draft is doing its part to change the trend. That draft has produced the top three sack leaders in the NFL through Week 11.

J.J. Watt, who has been on our MVP Watch list nine times in 12 weeks, trails only Aldon Smith and Von Miller among NFL sack leaders to this point in the season. Denver made Miller the second overall choice in 2011. San Francisco made Smith the seventh pick. Houston took Watt 11th.

That is a great pass-rushing draft.

Smith has a league-leading 15 sacks after setting a "Monday Night Football" record with 5.5 against Chicago. Miller ranks second with 13 sacks after collecting three for Denver against San Diego.

I've added Smith and Miller to the MVP Watch list heading into Week 12. They have combined with Watt for 39.5 sacks this season. It's still unlikely any of them will taken down the top quarterbacks in the MVP race, but they are doing their best on the field.