Considering Marcus Peters was chosen as the NFL’s top defensive rookie for 2015 in early February, it certainly doesn’t come as a surprise that Peters is the Chiefs’ rookie of the year.
But on Saturday, it became official, as Peters was announced as the winner of the Mack Lee Hill Award during the 101 Awards at the Westin Crown Center.
The honor is the conclusion to what amount to a dream rookie season for Peters, the 18th overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft.
The Chiefs selected Peters after his dismissal from Washington during his redshirt junior year for repeating disagreements with the coaching staff, and he rewarded them with a monster rookie campaign in which he tied for the league lead in interceptions with eight and led the league in passes defended with 26.
“I would like to thank the Hunt family for taking a risk on me,” Peters said. “I know it’s kind of hard, when you’re going through that process of making a draft pick, and the first day — when I got the call that night and reported back — it felt like home, and that’s real big to me ... I could just be myself and be humbled.”
Peters also recorded 60 tackles and returned two interceptions for touchdowns. Before his arrival, the Chiefs tied for last in the league in interceptions with six in 2014.
He was the first Chiefs rookie to go to the Pro Bowl since safety Eric Berry in 2010, and Peters was the first Chief to win the league’s defensive rookie of the year award since cornerback Dale Carter in 1992.
Peters credited his teammates for providing a welcoming vibe, and though he’s a proud Oakland native, he also noted that he really likes Kansas City, too.
“The atmosphere of Kansas City, just the whole city vibe, I love it, man,” Peters said. “I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.”