Like Uncle. Like Nephew.
It’s 1st and 10 on the Vikings’ 7 yard line. Jeremy Chinn shoots up the gap and smashes Dalvin Cook with a hit reminiscent of the one his uncle, Denver Broncos’ legendary safety Steve Atwater, put on the Chiefs’ Christian Okoye 30 years ago.
As the lone and constant bright spot in a disappointing season for Carolina, Chinn proved in every game and every down that he should be the next NFL Defensive Rookie Of The Year – with a wide gap for second.
On the year, Chinn has 109 tackles, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries for a touchdown, a sack and an interception. Not to mention, he made NFL history with some of those numbers when he became the first player in league history to score defensive touchdowns on consecutive plays.
Chase Young, Chinn’s closest completion, has 42 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles. If we are going specifically by numbers, the argument for Young over Chinn is valid. The numbers and also Washington’s record might be the driving force of the results of the Charlotte Observer’s DROY Survey . The Observer reached out to the 50 voters of the award. Of the 50, 21 responded. Out of those 21 voters, only two voted for Chinn. Six thought that the race was two close to call, while seven voted for Young. Their reasoning? In Washington’s week 14 win over the Niners, Young finished with six tackles, one for a loss, a forced fumble and two sacks. While that performance and Young’s season as a whole was solid, the advantage goes to Chinn, not because of his numbers as they are, but how he racked up those numbers.
When Chinn was asked recently to state his case for DROY, he simply said this:
“I would just say watch the film. That’s my only argument.I’m not going to sit here and plead for myself on the microphone. I’d rather do that on the film.”
Chinn is right. When you look at the games and also understand the Panthers’ situation, the case is obvious. Chinn is thriving playing possessions at linebacker and safety. Despite being undersized for linebacker, Chinn plays the SAM, WILL, AND MIKE. He blitzes, and drops back in coverage.
As a safety, Chinn is physical enough to handle big receivers and also fast enough to deflect and intercept.
Sometimes, it’s not what you do, but how you do it. While Young’s numbers were impressive this season, it hard to argue against Chinn roaming all over the field as part of the front seven or in the secondary.