Curious about who will win the major awards in the NFL for the 2017 season? Trying to make your own predictions? This is always a fun little exercise for any sport you enjoy watching. Read below to find out my picks for the upcoming football season. Compare them to your own picks, comment what you picked differently.
Most Valuable Player
Even without Julian Edelman, I have Tom Brady winning the MVP. The loss of his most trusted receiver will hurt. The Patriots third-down percentage might drop off some. But I still see Brady throwing for 4,500 yards and 40 touchdowns this season. He has a large array of weapons at his disposal, and his play hasn’t dropped off one bit. With Brandin Cooks added to the fold and a variety of running backs who can catch the ball out of the backfield, defenses have their hands full. With a 15-1 record and the above stats, Brady will be the easy choice for MVP at seasons end.
Offensive Player of the Year
Two years in a row and four of the last five this award has been given to the same player who won the MVP Award. It makes sense, if he’s the best player in football why wouldn’t he win the OPOY? Occasionally a guy puts up monster numbers on a team that was average so he isn’t considered the “most valuable.” If you took Tom Brady off the Patriots, they will lose a few more games. But his 4,500 yards and 40 touchdowns predicted would certainly be worthy of winning this award.
I want to go with someone different though, and that direction would be to Arizona. Running back David Johnson seems to be on a level of his own right now as a dual threat. After putting up 581 rush yards and 457 receiving yards in a part-time role as a rookie, Johnson took off last year. He scored 20 touchdowns and more than 2,100 total yard of offense. I think he will even add to his receiving totals from a year ago. By racking up catches and yardage the Cardinals will try to help him become the third back ever to reach both 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season. He might even catch 100 balls. The Cardinals want the ball in the hands of their best player. With Bruce Arians reportedly growing tired of his receiving corps, he’ll call on Johnson extensively as a receiver. 1,300 yards rushing, 1,050 yards receiving, 21 touchdowns.
Defensive Player of the Year
Von Miller has not yet won this award. I’m picking him based on the fact it seems he should win at some point, so it must be his time. Denver again goes into a season with a good looking defense, but questions remain on the offensive side. They will need their defense to win games and stay in the playoff hunt, and that all starts with Von Miller. Miller has never played a full season in which he got fewer than 11 sacks. He set a new career high last year with 78 tackles. Look for Miller to again anchor the Denver defense, a huge reason why the Broncos win several games. I predict 15 sacks, which would be the second highest total of his career. With his relentless pressure on quarterbacks the voters will give him his due this season.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Christian McCaffrey gets the nod due to his versatility. He can return kicks, run the ball effectively, and catch the ball with the best of them. His returning kicks makes him a cinch to lead all rookies in all-purpose yardage. He might lead them all in yards from scrimmage, too. Jonathan Stewart might get more carries, but McCaffrey will split out wide some while also catching the ball out of the backfield. He should act as a security blanket for Cam Newton this year. His ability to find space down low should help limit Newton’s need to take off running this year, something the Panthers want to reduce to keep Cam healthy. Stewart is also one of the more fragile backs in the league. McCaffrey will probably be the main back for a few games. I’m putting him down for 60 receptions and 1,300 total yards.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Reuben Foster was a player I wanted on the Patriots. A beast at linebacker, how could teams let him slip to the 31st pick? Foster is a hard hitting, tackle machine. Playing at Alabama, Foster played in the toughest conference and was a unanimous pick for first team All-American and All-SEC. Foster also won the Butkus Award for the nations best linebacker. He had 115 tackles last season, 13 of which netted the offensive team negative yards. He should be on the field a lot playing for a poor 49ers team. This will lead to more tackle opportunities. Not only will the defense be on the field more, but the opposing team should run the ball a lot with a lead. I think Foster will end up in the top 10 for tackles in the NFL this season, and maybe threaten the top five. He could make a Luke Kuechly-type impact.
Comeback Player of the Year
Keenan Allen has barely played since November of 2015. Allen pulled in more than 70 receptions in each of his first two seasons. In 2015 he lacerated a kidney during the Chargers eighth game, done for the season. At that midway point, Allen already had 67 catches, putting him on pace for a whopping 134 for the season along with eight touchdowns. Last year his season almost ended before it began. In week one, he had already racked up six catches when he went down with a torn ACL in just the second quarter. This guy knows how to play, and he can pile up the catches. With Philip Rivers chucking the ball around, volume should not be an issue. Allen just needs to stay on the field. I don’t believe he will be quite what he was before the injuries, but then again that would be an easy 100 catch receiver if he were. 90 catches, 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns should net him this award after essentially missing a year and a half.
Coach of the Year
The NFL doesn’t like giving this award to Bill Belichick. He hasn’t won the award since 2010, despite winning 12 or more games in each season since. He has had his run-ins with the league, but I think he’s also just too easy of a pick. Everyone knows he is great, they expect the Patriots to be great and want to pick someone else. Is a 15-1 record good enough to win it? I believe so. He hasn’t won the last six years, with a 15-1 record it will be hard to pass him over. I do like the Titans to step up this year and win 11 games and the AFC South, which makes Mike Mularkey a good candidate. However, that’s only a two-win improvement on last year, not enough to overtake a 15-win Bill Belichick for the award.