Defensive ROY: CB Marcus Peters, KC
Season Stats: 60 tkl, 26 pd, 8 ints, 2 tds, 1 ff
There aren’t many other defensive rookies in the NFL who are worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence as Marcus Peters for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
That’s because in his first year, despite being targeted more than any other defensive back in the league, Peters has already established himself as a playmaker in the KC secondary. The former Washington Husky finished his rookie campaign with a league-leading 26 passes defensed and eight interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.
As Pro Football Focus notes, Peters’ play vastly improved in the second half of the season as Kansas City made its run for an AFC Wild Card spot. Before the Chiefs’ Week 9 bye, Peters was being targeted roughly nine times per game and was allowing an average of 5.4 receptions and 72.1 yards. Afterwards, he was still being targeted roughly nine times per game, but was only allowing an average of 3.6 receptions for 49.4 yards.
It’s also noteworthy that five of Peters’ eight interceptions came after the Week 9 Bye.
Peters’ play in the second half of the season, as his team was in the thick of the playoff race, says a lot about his abilities and his development moving forward. He’s a gamer and he showed that in his rookie season.
Runner Up: DT Leonard Williams, NYJ