New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore was named The Associated Press’ (AP) Defensive Player of the Year for 2019 during Saturday’s NFL Honors awards ceremony in Miami, Florida.
The 29-year-old Gilmore is the first Patriots player to win AP Defensive Player of the Year.
Gilmore enjoyed his most consistent and dominant season in 2019. He ranked first in passes defended (20) and recorded six interceptions, including two which were returned for touchdowns. He primarily drew the task of covering each opponent’s most effective receiver. In doing so, Gilmore scarcely disappointed. He allowed just one touchdown in 17 games — including New England’s wild-card round loss to the Tennessee Titans — and surrendered more than 55 receiving yards only twice. Gilmore also finished third in passer rating allowed (47.4, per Pro Football Focus).
This award, however, is not the first accolade which Gilmore has earned for his standout performance in 2019. In January, he was selected as the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA.) He also earned a 2020 Pro Bowl selection and spots on the Associated Press’ All-Pro (to which he was unanimously selected) and the PWFA’s All-NFL teams. Gilmore was also chosen by the Patriots media contingent to receive the fourth annual Ron Hobson Good Guy Media Award, which is awarded for being the “most helpful, available and accommodating” Patriots player this season.
With this award, Gilmore joins elite company. Only five cornerbacks have won the award in its history. The last to take home the honor was then Green Bay Packers’ DB Charles Woodson.The remaining four were Deion Sanders (1994), Rod Woodson (1993), Lester Hayes (1980) and Mel Blount (1975). Troy Polamalu of the Pittsbirgh Steelers was the last defensive back to win Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2010.
-Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and Columnist for Full Press Coverage. He covers the New England Patriots and provides NFL editorial content. He is also the host of the Locked On Patriots podcast. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC