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Marcus Peters caps off highly productive season with Defensive Rookie of Year award

The Chiefs' cornerback tied for the league lead in both interceptions and passes defended.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters has been named the Defensive Rookie of the Year after posting one of the most productive debut seasons by any defensive back in recent memory.

Peters made an impact from the moment he stepped on the field in Week 1, intercepting Houston Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer on the first snap of his career. He put on quite an encore performance the following week with a pick-six of Denver Broncos signal caller Peyton Manning in his debut at Arrowhead Stadium.

The 18th overall pick in last year's draft finished the season tied for the league lead in interceptions (eight) and passes defended (26), while ranking first in interception yards (280). His eight picks were the most by any rookie since Jairus Byrd in 2009, and the last rookie to top his interception return yardage was Richard "Night Train" Lane in 1952.

Peters capped off his season with a strong finish, recording four interceptions in his final five regular season games and was selected as the NFL's defensive rookie of the month in December. He was named to the 2015 Pro Bowl and received second-team All-Pro honors from the Associated Press. Peters added another interception in the playoffs, picking off Hoyer again in the Chiefs' 30-0 rout of the Texans in the Wild Card round.

He was an integral part of a dominant Chiefs pass defense that helped Kansas City put together its incredible run from 1-5 to arguably most improbable playoff berth in league history. During their 10-game win streak from Week 7 to the end of the regular season, the Chiefs led the league in interceptions, opponent passer rating, completion percentage and yards per attempt allowed.

The 23-year-old is the fourth Chiefs player to earn the Defensive ROY award and the first since Dale Carter (1992). Peters' selection also snapped a long drought for defensive back winners, one that reached back to Charles Woodson in 1998.

He topped a formidable group of challengers for this honor, including Buffalo Bills cornerback Ronald Darby, New York Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams and Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks.