You can consider New England Patriots star linebacker Jamie Collins the early frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year.
If the season ended today, Jamie Collins would be the Defensive Player of the Year.
Three months ago this writer predicted Collins would earn Defensive Player of the Year honors, and he’s sticking with that projection. There were four stats predicted that would make Collins a shoo-in for the award:
- Seven forced fumbles
- Four interceptions
- 130 combined tackles
- 8.5 sacks
While Collins has yet to force a fumble in 2016, he has a jump on the three other stat predictions.
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Collins already has two picks, which is currently tied for the league lead and matches his career high set in the 2014 season. The lanky and powerful 6-foot-4 linebacker has demonstrated outstanding coverage ability and instincts defending the pass in the first three games, with his latest interception in Week 3 proof of Collins’ excellent ball skills.
Expect Collins to rack up at least four interceptions, maybe even five or six. If Collins ends up leading this team in picks, it will strengthen his Defensive Player of the Year candidacy that much more.
Moving on to the combined tackles prediction of 130, Collins currently leads the team with 23 of them. If you divide that number by the number of games played (three) and multiply that figure by the total number of regular season games (16), you will see that Collins is on pace for 123 combined tackles. So the prediction of 130 is very much within reach.
As for sacks, Collins is on pace to surpass five of them, but that number will almost certainly be higher. The way the Patriots have been blitzing, Collins ought to have plenty of opportunities to get to the quarterback and reach 8.5 on the season.
Zooming out, Collins is also the early frontrunner of Defensive Player of the Year because he has stepped up in the absence of Dont’a Hightower in the past two weeks. He has taken over control center duties and leading a defense that completely blanked the Texans this past Thursday night.
If you aren’t in on the Collins train for Defensive Player of the Year yet, it’s not too late. Go ahead, spark this conversation up at the water cooler and tell your buddies that barring injury, Collins will win Defensive Player of the Year this season.