Xavien Howard is deserving of the 2020 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Is there any other playing more deserving than him? That question was rhetorical because there isn’t. There are arguments for some others, but there is only one right answer.
Howard has been a defensive staple for the Miami Dolphins this season and is balling out. So far, Howard has 40 total tackles and nine interceptions. Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. Howard has picked off nine passes from opposing quarterbacks. Stephon Gilmore, also a cornerback, won the award last season. Know how many interceptions he had? Six. It may not seem like much, but in football, that many interceptions means the difference in wins and losses.
Howard’s presence has been felt on this team. After a win against the New England Patriots, where Howard had a forced fumble, the Dolphins sit at a 9-5 record and in the playoff hunt. Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has played decent, but didn’t have a great start to his career, and struggles from time to time. What has carried this Miami team has been its defense.
Head Coach Brian Flores has coached this team well. I will still defend my statement that Flores deserves Coach of the Year. There may be some recognizable names on that Dolphins defense, but not many outside of the Miami fandom. But Howard is quickly starting to become a household name. Howard is the one guy on defense you can rely on to help get a stop or make a big play. There is a great chance Howard ends the season with double-digit interceptions. The last person to do that was Antonio Cromartie in 2007 (yes I had to look that up).
The obvious other arguments for Defensive Player of the Year are T.J. Watt and Aaron Donald. Both keep going back and forth for leading the league in sacks, but I will again point towards Gilmore wining the award last season with lesser stats than Howard. Both are great players, but nine interceptions, and the potential of more, along with how well the Dolphins are playing, go a long way in deciding who wins the award.
Go ahead and give Xavien Howard the 2020 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He keeps balling out, and the Dolphins are in a position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Do the right thing, give this man the award.