With the season coming in a couple of months, it is time to look at some potential candidates for the major NFL awards. In each section, there will be a cold take option and a hot take option. The takes will be ranked from one to 14 on the legitimacy of the contender.
MVP: Patrick Mahomes
(Hot Take Score: 1)
The easiest pick on the list, Mahomes was named MVP in 2018 after posting 50 touchdowns and 5,000 yards. In 2019, he battled through a knee injury but returned to take the Chiefs to the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years. In 2020, expect Mahomes to flirt with 5,000 yards and at least 40 touchdowns. Assuming the Chiefs win 13 games, he should be a shoo-in for a second MVP in three years.
Hot MVP: Josh Allen
(Hot Take Score: 11)
Allen has a shiny new weapon in Stefon Diggs, who was acquired in a trade with the Vikings. While the Bills may lean on the run a little bit more than the average team, with Diggs entering town, Allen has the opportunity to pad his passing stats while also adding value on the ground. He could be your fantasy MVP, but if the Bills’ defense plays well and the Bills end up on top in the AFC, Allen could win MVP by default.
OROY: Joe Burrow
(Hot Take Score: 2)
Bet the house on Burrow winning Offensive Rookie of the Year. Burrow has a variety of weapons that should help them out in the passing game including fellow rookie Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, A.J. Green, and Joe Mixon. The Bengals’ defense is bad enough that Burrow should pass the ball more than the average quarterback, and he could be in play to set the record for passing yards and passing touchdowns by a rookie.
Hot OROY: Zack Moss
(Hot Take Score: 10)
The former Ute is currently second on the depth chart in Buffalo behind 2019 draft pick Devin Singletary, but if Moss has an explosive week early in the season, the Bills could switch to Moss over Singletary. As mentioned in the Josh Allen blurb, the Bills will likely have a slightly rush-heavy game script that could enable Moss to be productive for most of the season. If he totals around 1,300 rushing yards and six to eight touchdowns, he could place as one of the best running backs in the league and a pick for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
OPOY: Saquon Barkley
(Hot Take Score: 7)
After a stellar rookie season, Barkley was derailed with injuries and inept play-calling last year. In 2020, the Giants will likely use Barkley to help young quarterback Daniel Jones and move the football. Barkley could be in play for 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards, a combination that would give him a leg up on the Offensive Player of the Year race. While the Giants will likely be forced to throw the ball more than Barkley might want, he is the best pass-catching option on the team, so either way, his stats should be among the best in the league.
Hot OPOY: Nick Chubb
(Hot Take Score: 9)
Chubb finished second in the rushing race last season, only being passed by Derrick Henry in Week 17. The Browns, in theory, should be better in 2020 which means more opportunities for Chubb to tote the rock. In a perfect world for Chubb, the Browns win 10 to 12 games and Chubb has 350 carries to surpass 1,700 or 1,800 yards. While that is unlikely, Chubb would be the beneficiary of extra carries rather than extra backfield touches as he shares the space with a better receiver in Kareem Hunt.
DROY: Chase Young
(Hot Take Score: 4)
As mentioned previously, Young has a very high ceiling as a pass rusher. However, his floor helps him out in the Defensive Rookie of the Year race. He is a Day 1 starter on a talented Washington defense, and he should begin to accrue sacks immediately. Similar to Nick Bosa last season, Young will likely get the benefit of the doubt if it comes down to his stats versus another player in the first round of the 2020 draft. For better or for worse, Young would get the nod just as Bosa did over Josh Allen.
Hot DROY: Javon Kinlaw
(Hot Take Score: 8)
Kinlaw, who joins the same defensive line as Bosa, is a fascinating pick for Defensive Rookie of the Year. He is in a spot where a former All-Pro in the DeForest Buckner was taking snaps, so the production should be there as the 49ers have a plethora of stars on the defensive line. Even if Kinlaw is not a game-wrecker from Week 1, the statistical production should be there immediately based on the talent around him. If Chase Young underwhelms, Kinlaw could swoop in and win Defensive Rookie of the Year.
DPOY: T.J. Watt
(Hot Take Score: 3)
Watt is one of the most versatile defensive players in the NFL. Statistically, he could put up 20 sacks and a handful of interceptions next season. With a statistical repertoire as productive as Watt’s might be, he could be the second Watt brother to win Defensive Player of the Year. He also has the benefit of playing in one of the best defenses in the NFL, so there is certainly a path for Watt to be the best defensive player on the best defensive team and win Defensive Player of the Year.
Hot DPOY: Chase Young
(Hot Take Score: 12)
Young may be a rookie, but his ceiling appears to be as high as anyone that is currently in the NFL. When he was drafted, there was an argument he was the best defensive prospect in the draft in the last 10 years. If he is that good, he could put up 14 or 15 sacks for a Redskins defense that should be one of the best in the league. Even if Young isn’t a 15-sack machine out of the gate, he could get enough tackles for loss and highlight plays to warrant consideration.
CPOTY: Ben Roethlisberger
(Hot Take Score: 5)
Perception is everything, and the perception of the 2019 Steelers is that they were trash. Under the new playoff format, the 2019 Steelers would have made the playoffs, so their mess of a season would have been considered a success rather than a colossal failure. With Ben Roethlisberger returning, the Steelers should make the playoffs, and voters may be swayed by the difference between not making the playoffs and making the playoffs in 2020. Assuming Roethlisberger plays all 16 games, he is the most reasonable selection for Comeback Player of the Year.
Hot CPOTY: Preston Williams
(Hot Take Score: 14)
Williams missed half of 2019 with a torn ACL. Before tearing his ACL, he was one of the most productive rookies in a stellar rookie class. In 2020, he should be the No. 2 receiver in Miami and could have a massive production alongside Devante Parker. While he’s not a household name like almost everyone else on the list, he could pop off and post 1,200 or 1,300 yards, similar to what Michael Gallup did in Dallas last season. Coming off of an ACL injury, Williams would have the comeback player vibes needed while also potentially having the production needed.
COTY: Andy Reid
(Hot Take Score: 6)
If the Chiefs win 14, 15, or 16 games, Reid will be the shoo-in winner for Coach of the Year. While the Chiefs might not gun for an undefeated season out of the gate, they do have enough talent on the team to start with seven wins in the first seven games and then punch it into overdrive to win 15 or 16. It would be a nice feather in the cap of Andy Reid if he could deliver a tremendous repeat season off of his first Super Bowl win as a head coach. He might not have anything to prove anymore but he can add to his resume with another great season.
Hot COTY: Matt Rhule
(Hot Take Score: 13)
Rhule may be a rookie head coach in the NFL, but his team does have the offensive talent to put some wins on the board. There’s a situation where the Carolina offense is effective enough to compensate for an average to below-average defense. While the defense needs significant re-tooling, weapons such as Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, and Curtis Samuel could keep the Panthers in a lot of games. If the Panthers get lucky and squeeze out nine or 10 wins and slip into the playoffs, Rhule would be a great option for Coach of the Year.