Around the NFL  

 

NFL Honors: Our picks for MVP, DPOY, Rookies of Year

Print

Last week's announcement of the the All-Pro team kickstarted the NFL's postseason awards, with the biggest ones coming at the NFL Honors show on Jan. 31.

Here's a look at my picks for the biggest awards. These aren't predictions, but my selections. I've ranked the top five contenders at each spot, but that's not how each ballot looks. Each voter only has one pick for each award, and all 50 voters submitted their choices before Wild Card Weekend.

MVP


1. J.J. Watt
2. Aaron Rodgers
3. Tom Brady
4. Le'Veon Bell
5. Cowboys offensive line

Watt is a longshot to win the award, and there's no debating that Rodgers is a great choice. He was the best quarterback in the league, and enjoyed the best season of any quarterback since Rodgers' 2011 campaign. It's a worthy MVP year for him.

With all that said, Watt gets my vote because he's the best player relative to his position in the league by far. He did as much as humanly possible to make his team. The gap between him and the second best defensive player is enormous. I don't get too fixated on the meaning of "valuable" word or else it has to be a quarterback every year. Watt's the best player in the league. His achievement this year is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen in football, and so he gets the nod.

Defensive Player of the Year


1. J.J. Watt
2. Justin Houston
3. Richard Sherman
4. Darrelle Revis
5. Gerald McCoy

Justin Houston had the quietest 22-sack season possible, but it was his terrific play against the run that reminded us of Michael Strahan at his peak. Sherman and Revis make it possible for the rest of their teammates to do more. McCoy's consistently disruptive season got lost on a miserable team.

Coach of the Year


1. Bruce Arians
2. Bill Belichick
3. Pete Carroll
4. Bill O'Brien
5. Jason Garrett

Arians wins this in a landslide. His ability to stay aggressive on offense and make the smart game management decisions led to a lot of close wins. The defense survived a ridiculous amount of injuries. Belichick and Carroll deserve credit for maxmimizing their team strengths. For some reason, voters of this award always want to give credit to a team that jumped from five to nine wins instead of awarding the best coaches. The postseason doesn't count for this award, but Garrett's fourth down calls against Detroit were a reminder that he has played to this Cowboys' team's strengths.

Coordinator of the Year


1. Teryl Austin
2. Todd Bowles
3. Gary Kubiak
4. Scott Linehan
5. Rod Marinelli

Don't be surprised if Bowles and Arians comprise an Arizona sweep for coaching awards. I picked Austin for the inaugural edition of this award because he dramatically improved what had been a mediocre, inconsistent Lions defense under Jim Schwartz (who did a great job in Buffalo this year). Bowles is an excellent choice, as is Gary Kubiak. The Ravens offensive coordinator immediately transformed the Ravens' running attack and helped Joe Flacco to his best regular season.

Offensive Rookie of the Year


1. Odell Beckham
2. Zack Martin
3. Mike Evans
4. Jeremy Hill
5. Teddy Bridgewater

Anyone not voting for Beckham is just being a contrarian. He enjoyed one of the most dominant rookie seasons in NFL history. I'm not really smart enough to evalute guard play well, but enough smarter people I trust believe Martin is one of the very best players at his position and helped transform the Cowboys' offensive line. Hill would be higher if he got the ball earlier in the season. Bridgewater gets the final spot over Sammy Watkins because he handled the quarterback position like a seasoned veteran.

Defensive Rookie of the Year


1. Aaron Donald
2. Khalil Mack
3. C.J. Mosley
4. Chris Borland
5. Anthony Barr

This is a tough one. Mosley was an above-average starter on a playoff team, but he wasn't as consistently dominant as Mack or Donald. In the end, Donald's splash plays were too hard to ignore. It would be a surprise if Mack didn't make multiple Pro Bowls in his career. Donald's ceiling just feels higher because he made plays with a quickness that is rarely seen.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews every Divisional Round game and breaks down the Manning-Luck matchup. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

Print