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Pats Pulpit 2017 Patriots midseason awards: The best defensive player through 8 games

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Who is the best defender through 8 games?

Divisional Round - Houston Texans v New England Patriots Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The New England Patriots have eight games in the books and the Pats Pulpit staff voted on various midseason awards, including the Defensive Player of the Halfyear. After a weak start to the season, the defense has picked it up in recent weeks, and there are a few players that deserve credit for that turnaround.

For the first (and only) time, I had to serve as the tiebreaking vote to determine the award.

Defensive Player of the Halfyear: TIEBREAKER REQUIRED

McDermott: (tough decision) Trey Flowers

Thomas: Devin McCourty

Moore: Trey Flowers

Rewinski: Kyle Van Noy. The talent was always there, and this year, Van Noy is Bill Belichick's latest case study in "Being a freak athlete is less important than hitting the film room and knowing your plays backwards, forwards, and upside down".

Keiran: Malcom Brown deserves a lot of love. For the most part been a quiet, steady force in the trenches.

Bernd: Malcom Brown. The Patriots' defensive approach always starts with being stout against the run. And the stoutest player up front through the first eight weeks of the season has been Malcom Brown. Doing his best Vince Wilfork impression, the 23-year old has amassed 24 tackles and a sack while routinely playing more than half of the team's defensive snaps. While he is flying under the radar a bit, courtesy of his role, Brown has played superbly this year.

Rich’s thoughts: I’m actually surprised that Malcolm Butler didn’t receive any consideration because he’s arguably been the best defender on the team through eight games, but if I have to cast a tie-breaking vote between Trey Flowers and Malcom Brown, I will go with...

Defensive Player of the Halfyear: EDGE Trey Flowers

Brown has been the Patriots best defensive interior player and a continued force against the run, but Flowers has outsnapped Brown 91.3% to 53.7%. Flowers adds incredible value to the defense against both the run and the pass, and his 37 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3 tackles for loss, 13 quarterback hits, 2 passes defended, and 1 forced fumble just show how productive he’s been in his leading role.