Pro Bowl Football

New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) stands on the field during the first half of the NFL Pro Bowl football game, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, in Orlando, Fla. (David Grunfeld/ The Times-Picayune via AP)

David Grunfeld

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — By just about every count and measure, Cameron Jordan turned in the best season of his career in 2017. 

A season that has earned him a little dark-horse consideration for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, a coveted honor for any defender.

Jordan has stiff competition in Jacksonville's Calais Campbell, Arizona's Chandler Jones, Los Angeles's Aaron Donald and a host of other qualified candidates, but the big defensive end admitted Thursday at Super Bowl LII that the trophy would look good on his mantle. 

"It would be nice, it would be nice," Jordan admitted. "But as much as I'd love that push, I would have loved to be playing in the Super Bowl. I'd take a consolation prize."

Jordan racked up 62 tackles, 13 sacks, 17 tackles-for-loss and 11 batted passes as the leader of a defense that improved greatly in 2017.

Only a year ago, Jordan told reporters at the Super Bowl that his defense needed some help at cornerback to take the next step. Enter rookie Marshon Lattimore, and the Saints fielded a far different defense. 

This time the choice of need was a lot harder.

"I'd have to mull that one over, unless there's another Reuben Foster in this world, but even then, the way Manti (Te'o) and Craig (Robertson) were playing, I wouldn't want to lose either one of them," Jordan said. "Alex (Okafor) and Trey (Hendrickson), Alex was playing at a high level, so if he's coming back the way he was, I'm taking him, unless we find another Alex Okafor and he's not healthy for some reason."

If Jordan had to pick, he'd go for a big body in the middle to beef up the run defense. 

"The only thing I can say, if we get a true nose, it allows David Onyemata and (Sheldon Rankins) to be these three-techniques," Jordan said. "I'd say, an elite nose tackle to allow my guys to (wreak havoc), but you know, Tyeler Davison is probably elite now."

Follow Joel A. Erickson on Twitter, @JoelAErickson.