Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins knows New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore was deserving of NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Hopkins gave Gilmore a standing ovation after the Patriots corner took home the award Saturday, per NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
Since Gilmore came to the Patriots in 2017, he’s limited Hopkins to 11 catches on 14 targets for 146 yards with an interception in three games. Hopkins has been a first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection all three of those seasons.
Gilmore scored more touchdowns (two) than he let up (one) during the 2019 season. He intercepted two passes with two pick-sixes all while covering the opposing team’s best wide receiver, including players like Odell Beckham Jr., Amari Cooper, Juju Smith-Schuster, Tyler Boyd, DeVante Parker, John Brown, Sammy Watkins, Terry McLaurin, A.J. Brown and Robby Anderson. The only one who really gave him trouble was Parker in Week 17 against the Miami Dolphins.
Gilmore’s performance against Cooper was perhaps his best of the season. He held Cooper catch-less in the Patriots’ win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Gilmore was the best player on the NFL’s top-ranked defense, and he significantly changed the way opposing teams threw the ball. He’s the first Patriots player to win the award and the first cornerback since 2009.