NFL Defensive Player of the Year: Charles Tillman Is Serious Contender

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIIFebruary 1, 2013

Charles Tillman (33) deserves to be a contender for the Defensive Player of the Year Award after his fantastic season.
Charles Tillman (33) deserves to be a contender for the Defensive Player of the Year Award after his fantastic season.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The NFL Defensive Player of the Year will be named Saturday and while he may not win, Charles Tillman deserves consideration. 

J.J. Watt is the consensus choice to win the award. The writers of all selected him to win the award. It's well-deserved, as he was great this year. 

But Charles Tillman had an amazing season and—at the very least—deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Watt.

Tillman had 86 tackles and a remarkable 10 forced fumbles. He had three interceptions and returned them all for touchdowns. The stud cornerback also deflected 16 passes.

In addition, Tillman has not allowed an opponent to have a reception of 30 yards or more, according to Pro Football Focus

Against top competition, Tillman was tremendous. In two games against the Lions, Tillman held Calvin Johnson to only eight catches for 106 yards and zero touchdowns.

Against the Houston Texans, Tillman held Andre Johnson to just four catches for 35 yards and zero touchdowns.

Tillman was by far the best cornerback in football. Whether it was his ability to make plays or shut down big name wide receivers, Tillman was fantastic.

Unfortunately for Tillman, Watt has the award locked down. He had 81 tackles and 20.5 sacks.

But without Tillman, the Bears would've collapsed. They didn't make the playoffs as it is. And without the shutdown ability of Tillman, opponents would torch their secondary.

The Bears did not have the best pass rush, recording only 41 sacks, and thus Tillman was often left to his own devices. Many cornerbacks struggle without a solid pass rush in front of them. Tillman thrived.

He probably won't win, but Tillman's outstanding season deserves recognition. A second-place finish should be in order.

And in fact, it would not be surprising to see him get a few first place votes. Not enough to win, but enough to put his season on the map.

As it deserves to be.