Patriots Jamie Collins Should be NFL Defensive Player of the Year


The New England Patriots are off and running to an impressive 7-0 start to the season, and are clearly among the favorites to take home the Lombardi Trophy once again this season.

Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense gets most of the credit for the team’s success, and rightfully so. Brady has led the Patriots to a league-high 35.6 points per game this season, and they are not showing any signs of slowing down. As great as the Patriots’ offense has been, the success in New England has been a team affair, and the defense deserves some credit as well.

In fact, the Patriots’ defense has allowed only 19 points per game this season, which is good for the eighth best total in the entire league. Sure, the high-powered offense deserves all of the credit they are getting, but let’s not forget about the guys on the defensive side of the ball as well.

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Defensive end Chandler Jones is leading the Patriots up front, as is tied with the league lead in sacks with 8.5. Devin McCourty is being his usual play-making self at the safety position, Dont’a Hightower is the vocal leader with a well-rounded skill-set at linebacker and Malcolm Butler is holding his own as the Patriots’ chosen shut-down corner option.

There are many players who are responsible for the Patriots’ defensive success this season, but none are more important than linebacker Jamie Collins, who has really come into his own this season.

Collins is a 6-foot-4, 250-pound athletic freak. He has great size, length, speed, quickness, strength and athleticism for the position. Physically, Collins has arguably the most well-rounded skill-set for any player at any position in the entire NFL. This guy truly is a physical specimen, and he has learned how to use his skills at an extremely high level.

Collins has always been an elite coverage linebacker, and that has not changed this season. Collins’ incredible combination of skills allows him to match-up with nearly any player in the league in pass coverage. He is one of the few linebackers in the league who can single-handily defend the new age athleticism at the tight end position with consistency.

In fact, Collins has received rave reviews from the best player in the league at the position. Back in training camp, teammate and the league’s biggest match-up nightmare Rob Gronkowski had some great things to say about Collins’ ability, according to Phil Perry of

"“He’s a freak,” Gronnkowski said of Collins. “He’s fast, he’s long and he’s strong. He plays the game of football how it should be. He knows how to hit, he knows how to cover. He’s an overall great player so it’s great going against guys like him. It makes you compete and gets you better.”"

There does not appear to be anyone in the league who can consistently handle Gronkowski in man-to-man coverage. However, his battles with Collins in practice is probably as close as it gets. How frustrating must it be for other teams to know that they have little chance of even containing Gronkowski, and the best player in the NFL to match-up with him plays on the Patriots’ defense?

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Collins is fantastic in coverage, but there is much more to his game than that. For starters, he has also become a premier run defender from the linebacker position. His great size and athleticism obviously continues to help his case against the run, but he also shows incredible natural instincts to predict what the back is going to do next. Collins also uses his length incredibly well to shed blockers on his pursuit to the ball carrier.

He is fantastic in coverage and stout against the run, but that is not all for Collins, as he has grown into a great pass rusher as well this season. The Patriots are not afraid to let Collins roam free on the blitz at times, and he is almost always able to get some pressure on the passer. Collins already has an impressive 4.5 sacks on the season, but even on plays where he does not reach the quarterback, he makes an impact by making the passer uncomfortable.

Simply put, Collins is an elite player at the linebacker position, and he does not have any limitations on what he can do on the field. Collins truly excels in everything that he does, and I think he needs to be strongly considered for NFL Defensive Player of the Year this season.

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Obviously, we are only halfway through the season, and a lot can change, but barring injury, I cannot envision a scenario where Collins does not continue to dominate for New England. He has such a well-rounded skill-set that allows him to impact the game in many different ways. This season, Collins has added truly elite awareness on the field, and it has taken his game to the next level.

With no obvious options out there, Collins needs to be under strong consideration to be the NFL Defensive Player of the Year this season.