- Nick Wagoner, ESPN Staff Writer
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There was the Pro Bowl bid, the All-Pro honors; even the Pro Football Writers of America tabbed him as the Defensive Player of the Year. But the biggest award of all, the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year, managed to do what most quarterbacks couldn’t in 2013: avoid Quinn.
That Quinn didn’t win the award shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given his team’s relative lack of success and the fact that Quinn plays in one of the league’s smaller markets.
Past that, Quinn not taking home the prize also shouldn’t serve as impetus for outrage. While I believe Quinn was the best defensive player in the NFL in 2013, it wasn’t so clear cut that his not winning should be considered some sort of conspiracy.
For those of us fortunate enough to watch Quinn rack up 19 sacks, force seven fumbles, stuff the run consistently and generally wreak havoc on some of the game’s elite offenses, it’s easy to look at Quinn and believe he should have been the winner. I’m included in that group.
But there were plenty of other defenders, Kuechly included, who had outstanding seasons.
Had Quinn closed the deal and managed to get to 20 sacks and won the first Deacon Jones award as the league’s sack leader, I believe it would have been enough for him to get the nod.
As it is, Quinn will have to wait to reach the highest level of the defensive player podium. Considering that Quinn is only 23 and entering his fourth season in the league, it’s probably safe to assume his name will become a fixture in this race every year.
Quinn couldn’t quite take home the award this year, but make no mistake, his time will come.