Only five cornerbacks ever have won the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, with Charles Woodson in 2009 the most recent. Stephon Gilmore hopes to join the exclusive club.
“It’s pretty cool. That’s a big award,” Gilmore told Jeff Howe of TheAthletic.com. “The award speaks for itself, a lot of hard work, a lot of good teammates that put me in that position, a lot of preparation from myself. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates to even be in this position. I feel like I had a good year. Hopefully, I’ll win it.”
Defensive linemen dominate the award. Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald has won the last two years, but he isn’t likely to win this year despite earning All-Pro honors again.
But Gilmore was the best player on the best defense, leading the league with six interceptions and 20 pass breakups. He was a unanimous selection to the All-Pro team, which is a good sign for him since the same 50 voters select the award winners.
“Toward the end [of the season], people started saying it,” Gilmore said. “I didn’t really think about it because it’d be a big award to win. I think it’d be the first Patriot to win Defensive Player of the Year. I mean, that’s insane. Hopefully, I’ll win it.”