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Casey Hayward belongs in DPOY conversion if Stephon Gilmore does

CARSON, CA - DECEMBER 22: Casey Hayward #26 of the Los Angeles Chargers breaks up a pass play intended for John Brown #13 of the Baltimore Ravens during the second half of a game at StubHub Center on December 22, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - DECEMBER 22: Casey Hayward #26 of the Los Angeles Chargers breaks up a pass play intended for John Brown #13 of the Baltimore Ravens during the second half of a game at StubHub Center on December 22, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Casey Hayward has had the best four-game stretch of any Chargers player this season. Why isn’t he in the conversion for Defensive Player of the Year?

Much has been said (mostly by Chargers fans) about how Joey Bosa should be considered for Defensive Player of the Year, as his numbers, efficiency, and name recognition are all enough to make a push for that awards. As of right now, one player stands above him on odds to win the award: Corner Stephon Gilmore of the New England Patriots. Rightfully so, as he is playing elite football on a surging defense on one of the most high-profile organizations in any sport. But if he is to be considered a front-runner, one other Chargers player should be considered along with him: Casey Hayward. And he’s got a case to make.

According to Pro Football Focus, here is how each matches up:

  • Hayward (11 games): 36 targets, 17 reception (47.2 percent completion rate), 217 yards, 12.8 yards per reception, one touchdown allowed, two interceptions, 52.7 rating.
  • Gilmore (10 games): 61 targets, 28 receptions (45.9 percent completion rate), 347 yards, 12.4 yards per reception, zero touchdowns allowed, three interceptions, 43.5 rating.

Both are having spectacular years, but as of right now, Hayward isn’t in consideration for the prestigious award.

In his last four games, No. 26 has allowed one reception for six yards, with zero yards after the catch. Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes did not complete a pass to a receiver covered by Hayward; in fact, Mahomes didn’t even target him.

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Though it’s unlikely Hayward wins the award, he at the very least deserves both Pro-Bowl and All-Pro recognition for his efforts. He remains one of the best bargain free agent signings of all time, and his play this year is further reason fans can relax knowing he’s under contract through the 2021 season.

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