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Robert Mays thinks Jamie Collins is 2016’s dark horse Defensive Player of the Year

Robert Mays, formerly of Grantland and Sports Illustrated, and currently writing for The Ringer, has Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins as a sleeper Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

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So you’re SAYING there’s a chance!

Patriots fans don’t need any reminders on what a BAMF linebacker Jamie Collins is, but it’s nice to see him get some love from the national press after a lot of draft junkies got a double dose of "WTF?" when Bill Belichick passed on Cordarrelle Patterson, traded down, and took Jamie instead.

The Ringer’s Robert Mays, who was a cornerstone of Grantland’s football analysis, and then moved on to Sports Illustrated after Grantland’s unfortunate demise, and then reunited with Bill Simmons at The Ringer, took a look at this year’s odds for Defensive Player of the Year, and Jamie Collins is on quite a short list.

One of two, to be exact, according to Mays.

OK, so, to be fair, Mays picks his guy that he thinks is going to win DPOY (spoiler – it’s not JJ Watt!), and then picks a "Favorite Value" candidate, which is where he lists a guy you gambling types can bet on if you want to (maybe) turn a little bit of money into a lot of money.

The thing is, if Jamie Collins keeps on getting better and better at the rate he’s been going for the past couple years, this isn’t really a hot take at all.

If this assessment doesn’t get you fired up, well, I don’t know what to tell you.

"Favorite value: Jamie Collins, LB, Patriots (Odds: 100–1)

Imagine this scenario: It’s the AFC divisional round, and on a key third down in the first quarter, Collins tears through the A gap and proceeds to drop Roethlisberger in the backfield. After lingering on Collins for a second, the broadcast cuts to a graphic detailing his stats for the year. Collins was only the fourth player since the merger to record four forced fumbles, four interceptions, four sacks, and a touchdown in a single season, notes Al Michaels. And Cris, he’s been a big reason this Patriots defense has turned into one of the league’s best.

Totally reasonable, right? There’s just way too much working in Collins’s favor for him to be 100–1 to win DPOY the same odds as Jadeveon Clowney. Collins is 26 and entering a contract year, and he was the best defender on a unit that finished 12th in DVOA in 2015. I’ll take those odds on a guy who does everything he can."

Mmmmmm, Jamie sure does love those A-gap blitzes.

Also, think about how ridiculous it is (on paper, anyway) for a second-round pick out of Southern Mississippi, who played three different positions in college, to have the same DPOY odds as Jadeveon Clowney, who was the overwhelming favorite for the Houston Texans to take first overall in the 2014 draft.

Apparently, according to Mays, Jamie Collins and Jadeveon Clowney are both at 100-1 odds to take home the DPOY trophy.  Will he win?  Probably not.  Unless the Patriots blitz the heck out of everyone this year, Collins isn’t going to rack up the sacks, hurries, and hits (not to mention the gaudy celebrations) that normally rocket your name on to the short list in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation.

But the Patriots know exactly how valuable a Swiss Army Knife like Jamie Collins is, especially when it means the defense can go nickel darn near all the time and not have to sweat only playing two linebackers.