Off Day Debate: Who is the Patriots’ most valuable defender?

WEEI
October 16, 2019 - 12:41 pm
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The Patriots have not only arguably the best defense in football through the first six weeks of 2019, but one of the top units Bill Belichick has coached in his two decades in New England.

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New England’s 2019 defense has both high-end talent and unique, versatile personnel that allows the Patriots to regularly play up to 20 different players.

There is no question the group’s overall consistent success is due to its depth, experience and cohesive communication.

But there are also a few key playmakers on the unit that have stood out through the first month-plus of action, guys who have made everyone else’s job a little bit easier.

So, we ask our readers and the Off Day Podcast guys this simple question: Who is the Patriots’ most valuable defender through the first six weeks of 2019?

(After you read the arguments, vote for yourself in the @OffDayPod Twitter poll below!)

Stephon Gilmore!

Not only is Gilmore by far New England’s best defensive back, he’s arguably the top cornerback in football. Having a true No. 1 cornerback like Gilmore makes the job of everyone else on the defense that much easier. But Gilmore does more than just take the toughest assignment each week, he also makes plays. Through six games he not only has a pair of interceptions (one returned for a TD!) – while assisting teammates on a pair of others – but also ranks tied for fourth in the NFL with eight passes defensed. Gilmore is the glue that keeps the entire impressive Patriots secondary intact and the foundation upon which the dominant defense is built. Gilmore is the Patriots highest-paid defender because he’s indeed the team’s most valuable defender. –Andy Hart

Jamie Collins!

Collins has been an absolute beast this season. The linebacker is the only player in the NFL with at least four sacks (he has 4.5) and three interceptions. He also has four passes defensed, as he's been all over the field playing a variety of roles. The Patriots defense is pretty much the same as it was last year and it can be argued one of the biggest reasons why it is now the best in the NFL is because of the addition of Collins. – Ryan Hannable

Related: It’s the ‘Who’s actually good?’ time of the NFL schedule