The New England Patriots bought in Stephon Gilmore during free agency before the 2017 season and he has been nothing short of amazing since joining the team.
Last season, New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore elevated his status from solid No.1 corner on to the best in the entire league. He was the highest-graded cornerback in the league by Pro Football Focus with a 90.7 (The only cornerback in the NFL to be named “elite” by PFF), had the highest coverage grade with 90.8, was named First-Team All-Pro, had a 25.3 percent forced incompletion rate (second in the league that season), and led the league in pass breakups, among other things.
Gilmore, also known as “The Gilly Lock,” has somehow managed to maintain his amazing play, arguably getting better.
Through 14 games this season, he has been targeted 67 times. He has allowed 25 catches for 283 yards (37 percent completion), has 6 interceptions (tied for 1st in the league), 14 pass breakups, and has allowed a passer rating of 12.2 (!).
The craziest statistic of them all may be that he has more touchdowns himself than he has allowed. He has two pick-sixes while allowing ZERO touchdowns.
Stephon Gilmore has routinely been able to hold opposing teams’ top receivers in check. Guys like DeAndre Hopkins, Amari Cooper (no catches), Odell Beckham Jr., JuJu Smith-Schuster, etc. The Patriots play more man-to-man coverage than any team in the NFL, and Gilmore has been up to the task week after week.
His ability to read routes, his ball skills, & his overall defensive instincts are immaculate.
In a defensive unit that ranks 1st in total defense, 2nd against the pass, and 7th against the rush, Gilmore is undoubtedly the best player on this defense, and could arguably be cited as the best player on the team this season.
On Monday morning during an appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show,” Patriots QB Tom Brady said, “He’s one of the great corners that will go down to ever play this game.”
This is high praise from who many people see as the greatest quarterback to ever do it, a guy who has seen many great corners over 20 years of playing at a high level.
Stephon Gilmore shows no signs of stopping and will have to keep it up the rest of this season & for the Patriots’ next playoff run. Potentially having to go against teams like the Ravens, Chiefs, Texans, Steelers, etc., the Pats are going to need all of his efforts in order to have continued success.
Five cornerbacks have won the Defensive Player of the Year award in the history of the NFL, the most recent being Charles Woodson of the Packers in 2009.
Stephon Gilmore is the best in the business. The stats show it. The tape shows it. Fans know it. Players know it. He deserves the award.