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Stephon Gilmore named 2019 Defensive Player of Year

It's official: Gilmore Island's ports are closed.

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore was named AP Defensive Player of the Year during Saturday's NFL Honors in downtown Miami.

Gilmore took home the hardware with 21 votes, ahead of second-place Chandler Jones, as the Cardinals defensive end tallied 14 votes. Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt was third with 10 votes, followed by Buccaneers linebacker Shaq Barrett (two votes). Vikings edge Danielle Hunter, Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White and Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald had single votes.

The first-team All-Pro and 2020 Pro Bowl selection earned the honor as a result of tying for the league lead in interceptions with six. His 20 passes defended also led the NFL in 2019.

With Gilmore essentially eliminating one side of the field, New England finished first in total defense (yards per game allowed) at 275.9 and interceptions (25). Gilmore also finished tied for second in interceptions returned for touchdowns (two) and third in passer rating allowed (47.4, per Pro Football Focus).

Only teammate J.C. Jackson and Buffalo cornerback Tre'Davious White were better in passer rating allowed (minimum 60 targets).

Five cornerbacks have won the award in its history, and it's been 10 years since the last -- Packers DB Charles Woodson -- took home the honor. The other four came before the turn of the century: Deion Sanders (1994), Rod Woodson (1993), Lester Hayes (1980) and Mel Blount (1975). Troy Polamalu was the last defensive back to win DPOY honors (2010).

The 29-year-old Gilmore is the first Patriots player to win AP Defensive Player of the Year.

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