Landon Collins deserves to win defensive player of the year
Nov 20, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants safety Landon Collins (21) celebrates with teammates after making a game-ending interception against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

After his incredible 2016, it’s time to recognize Landon Collins greatness with the Defensive Player of the Year award.

With the NFL season coming to a close, the focus of the Giants has undoubtedly become the defense.

While the offense has struggled throughout the latter part of the season, the defense has gotten better and better, seemingly on a weekly basis. The Giants have an enormous amount of talent on the defensive side of the ball, and it has paid massive dividends over the course of the season.

However, no player has been more important to the defense than Landon Collins.

Collins currently leads the team in tackles with 125, is second on the team in sacks with seven, and second on the team in interceptions with five. No player across the NFL is top two in those categories on his respective team.

In essence, it reflects Collins’ incredible versatility as a defensive player. His ability to play all over the field has made him invaluable to the resurgent Giants defense.

Which is exactly why he should be considered for Defensive Player of the Year.

Consider the game against Washington where Collins played strong safety for the majority of his snaps. Not only did Collins manage a sack, but he also played the run extremely well, and served as a safety in pass coverage throughout the game. No other player in the NFL can claim that variety of roles, nor can they claim the prowess that Collins demonstrates on a weekly basis.

In fact, Collins’ play in 2016 has really silenced a lot of critics of his game last year. As a rookie, Collins was derided for not keeping his eye on the ball enough and always going for the big hit. Additionally, many critics claimed that the only reason Collins had so many tackles last season is because New York’s defensive line and linebackers were such poor tacklers in 2015.

However, after repeating his performance as the team’s leading tackler on a defense loaded with talent, especially along the defensive line, Collins has silenced those critics. Additionally, his five interceptions have quieted those who claimed he doesn’t look for the ball as a safety. Quite frankly, he has developed into one of the best safeties in the entire NFL.

Collins’ success comes become he is a master at creating chaos on the football field. For instance, his sack today came because rather than attempt to drive through or use a finesse move on his blocker, he chose to leap into the air, not allowing the blocker to set his feet. Thus, he was able to blow by the blocker, as he was never actually engaged.

Plays like that make him a unique challenge for opposing offenses, and nearly impossible to game plan for in practice.

While Collins stats may not jump off the page like sacks or interceptions do with other players, but his impact on the team remains extremely profound. He is capable of playing the newfound hybrid linebacker position better than anyone in the entire NFL, making him perhaps the most essential defensive player in the league.

Considering the uniqueness of Collins’ game, his importance to the elite Giants defense, and the amazing ability with which he plays the safety position, it’s time to recognize Landon’s greatness with the most prestigious defensive award in football. No other player around the league brings his talent to the football field week in and week out, making him the perfect candidate to take home Defensive Player of the Year.

Billy Nayden is an SMU Mustang from Connecticut born and raised on New York sports. Avid fan of nearly every sport from MMA to handball. His heart is in NYC, but Billy has seen games on multiple continents, and has frequented arenas ranging from high school gyms to world class meccas.