2018 NFL awards: Analysts pick MVP, Rookie of the Year, more

This Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Steve Harvey will host "NFL Honors." The eighth edition of this annual event, which will be nationally televised on CBS at 9 PM ET/PT, features the announcement of the Associated Press awards and the newest Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

Before the official hardware is handed out, our analysts provide their picks for the major individual awards:

Most Valuable Player

1) Patrick Mahomes(19 votes: Battista, Bergman, Blackmon, Brandt, Bush, Carr, Casserly, Chadiha, Frelund, Hanzus, Jones, Jones-Drew, McGinest, O'Hara, Rosenthal, Schein, Shook, Wayne, Woodson)
2) Drew Brees(1 vote: Teope)

Why Jeffri Chadiha chose Patrick Mahomes: What more can you say about a quarterback who threw for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns in his first season as a starter? The scariest thing about Mahomes is that he's only going to get better.

Offensive Player of the Year

1) Drew Brees(10 votes: Battista, Brandt, Bush, Casserly, Frelund, Hanzus, Jones, Jones-Drew, McGinest, Woodson)
2) Patrick Mahomes(5 votes: Blackmon, Carr, Chadiha, Schein, Teope)
3) Todd Gurley(4 votes: Bergman, O'Hara, Shook, Wayne)

Why Charley Casserly chose Drew Brees: Brees was outstanding, with 32 TD passes (against just five picks) and a 115.7 quarterback rating. He makes everyone around him better with his great vision, decision-making and accuracy -- especially on difficult throws like the back-shoulder and fade. His receivers can be covered, but he puts the ball in a spot where the receiver can catch it and the defender can't get to it.

Defensive Player of the Year

1) Aaron Donald*(UNANIMOUS PICK)*

Why Adam Schein chose Aaron Donald:Aaron Donald is, quite simply, the best player in football today. This was an all-time great season for a defensive tackle. Case closed.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

1) Saquon Barkley(11 votes: Brandt, Carr, Casserly, Frelund, Jones, Jones-Drew, McGinest, O'Hara, Teope, Wayne, Woodson)
2) Baker Mayfield(9 votes: Battista, Bergman, Blackmon, Bush, Chadiha, Hanzus, Rosenthal, Schein, Shook)

Why Maurice Jones-Drew chose Saquon Barkley: A lot of people questioned the Giants' decision to draft Barkley with the No. 2 overall pick (instead of taking a potential quarterback of the future). Barkley put those questions to rest right out of the gate and solidified himself as one of the best backs in the league while setting rookie records throughout the 2018 season.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

1) Darius Leonard(13 votes: Battista, Bergman, Blackmon, Brandt, Bush, Casserly, Chadiha, Jones-Drew, McGinest, O'Hara, Teope, Wayne, Woodson)
2) Derwin James(7 votes: Carr, Frelund, Hanzus, Jones, Rosenthal, Schein, Shook)

Why Judy Battista chose Darius Leonard: There were plenty of worthy contenders for this award, but Leonard led the league in tackles with 163 -- and also had seven sacks, 12 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and two picks. Leonard and fellow rookie Quenton Nelson transformed the attitude, the fortunes and the future of the Indianapolis Colts.

Comeback Player of the Year

1) Andrew Luck(17 votes: Battista, Bergman, Blackmon, Brandt, Bush, Carr, Casserly, Chadiha, Frelund, Hanzus, Jones, Jones-Drew, McGinest, Schein, Shook, Teope, Wayne)
2) Adrian Peterson(2 votes: Rosenthal, Woodson)
3) J.J. Watt(1 vote: O'Hara)

Why David Carr chose Andrew Luck: A year ago, the football world wondered if Luck would ever take another snap in the NFL. Luckily for the Colts, he returned in 2018 as one of the best versions of himself and finished with the second-most passing touchdowns (39) in the league. Luck played so well in his comeback campaign that he was considered an MVP candidate at one point.

Coach of the Year

1) Frank Reich(9 votes: Blackmon, Chadiha, Frelund, Hanzus, Jones, Jones-Drew, Rosenthal, Teope, Wayne)
2) Matt Nagy (4 votes: Battista, Brandt, Carr, McGinest)
3) Anthony Lynn(3 votes: Bergman, Schein, Woodson)
4) Andy Reid (2 votes: Bush, O'Hara)
T-5) Pete Carroll(1 vote: Casserly)
T-5) Sean McVay (1 vote: Shook)

Why Gregg Rosenthal chose Frank Reich: Reich won with his scheme more than any coach in the league. Journeyman receivers were wide open, the offensive line transformed with quick passes and a team without great talent kept believing it was destined for great things -- even after starting 1-5.

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