You can’t fault Stephon Gilmore for making such a bold claim.
The New England Patriots cornerback did his weekly interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak and Bertrand Show on Wednesday and not only said he should be the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year, he said there’s “no question” that he should win the award.
“I mean, my play speaks for itself,” Gilmore said. “If you really watch the tape each and every game, it’s no question.”
The 29-year-old cornerback was named to his second Pro Bowl earlier in the week, becoming one of three Patriots players named to the annual game.
Gilmore recently made headlines in Week 15 for shutting down Cincinnati Bengals wide Tyler Boyd. Boyd — the Bengals’ No. 1 wideout — had one of his worst games of the season as he was limited to just three catches for 26 yards. He went the entire first half without catching a ball.
The veteran cornerback has easily established himself as the star of the Patriots’ No. 1 defensive unit. Gilmore intercepted two passes versus the Bengals and returned one for a touchdown.
Follow the Heavy on Patriots Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!
Gilmore Has Dominated Opposing Receivers
To demonstrate just how dominant Gilmore has been, I’ll allow the advanced statistics that The Athletic’s Jeff Howe posted to validate Gilmore’s point that he deserves the Defensive Player of the Year award.
“This season, Gilmore has allowed 24 catches on 66 targets (36.4 completion percentage) for 280 yards, no touchdowns and six interceptions for a 12.2 passer rating. He has returned two of those interceptions for touchdowns and has also broken up 14 passes, by and large taking the opponent’s best receiver in one-on-one coverage. Gilmore has allowed two or fewer receptions in 11 of 15 games, including three shutouts. By comparison, he entered the season with two shutouts in his first two years with the Patriots.”
The veteran corner hasn’t just been great — he has literally shut down opposing receivers.
NFL Executives Agree That Gilmore is the D.P.O.Y.
Gilmore isn’t the only one who believes he should win the award. NFL executives are also in universal agreement that the eighth-year corner deserves to become the first defensive back to win the award in nine years.
In an article by NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero, 24 executives around the NFL — including 13 general managers — were surveyed on who should win the award. Gilmore received 15 of the votes.
An NFC executive explained that Gilmore’s ability to take half of the field away is what makes him so special.
“He allows them to do so much on defense,” the NFC executive said, according to Pelissero. “He can take half the field away. He can take their second-best [receiver] and let them double everyone that’s more dangerous. He really is a weapon for them on defense. Every week, it seems like he’s making a big play, too, which, for a DB, that’s rare.”
There’s simply no question about it — the 29-year-old cornerback should win the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year award.