For the third time since its origination, Pro Football Writers of America’s Defensive Player of the Year goes to a cornerback.
And for 2019, it goes to Stephon Gilmore.
Gilmore joined the corner company of Deion Sanders in 1994 and Charles Woodson in 2009 with Wednesday’s announcement. He is the first New England Patriots player to receive the award, which dates back to 1992.
Also selected to the PFWA’s All-NFL and All-AFC teams, Gilmore recorded 53 tackles and one fumble recovery in 2019. Gilmore would lead the league with 20 passes defensed and tie for the league lead with six interceptions.
The back-to-back Pro Bowler and Associated Press first-team All-Pro returned a pair of picks for touchdowns. Those touchdowns marked the first of his eight-year NFL career.
Gilmore’s coverage during the 2019 regular season saw him concede one touchdown and a completion percentage of under 50 percent, according to Pro Football Focus. While starting all 16 games for the Patriots, his 952 snaps finished tops on the defense.
Gilmore, 29, arrived at pick No. 10 overall in the 2012 draft. He signed with New England as an unrestricted free agent after five campaigns with the Buffalo Bills. The South Carolina product’s Patriots contract runs through the 2021 campaign.