Way Too Early NFL Award Predictions

Way Too Early NFL Award Predictions

by May 9, 2021 6 comments

With the 2021 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, teams are beginning to prepare for the first 17-game season in league history. Let’s make some early predictions of the players who will take home awards next season. 

Comeback Player of the Year

After tearing his ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 season, Saquon Barkley is back and ready for a monster campaign this season. In his first two seasons combined, the Penn State product ran for over 2,300 yards and 23 total touchdowns while also adding 143 receptions for 1,159 receiving yards.

Barkley may need several weeks to get back into football shape, but there’s no question he can put together a dominant season, especially with a revamped New York Giants offense. If he can stay healthy, Barkley should record his third 1,000-plus yard season and take home the Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Winner: Saquon Barkley (Running Back, New York Giants)

Defensive Rookie of the Year

The 2021 NFL Draft was full of talented rookies. However, few stand out more than cornerback Jaycee Horn. Horn, who was drafted eighth overall by the Carolina Panthers, was the first defender taken in the draft. His father, Joe Horn, played 11 seasons in the NFL as a wide receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, and Atlanta Falcons. 

Horn played three seasons at the University of South Carolina, where he dominated three straight seasons at cornerback. At 6’1” and 213 lbs, Horn drew comparisons to Los Angeles Rams star cornerback Jalen Ramsey throughout the draft. He’s been around the NFL all his life, and now it’s time for Horn to prove himself. 

Winner: Jaycee Horn (Cornerback, Carolina Panthers)

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Very few receivers have accomplished what DeVonta Smith did in college. Smith, who played four seasons of college football at the University of Alabama, caught 114 passes for 1,864 yards and 24 touchdowns in his senior year. Plus, he became the first wide receiver to win the Heisman trophy in 29 years after beating out three quarterbacks for the award. 

Smith was selected tenth overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in the draft. He will reunite with former college quarterback Jalen Hurts and should play a lot for the Eagles, a team thin at the receiver position. Smith could make history again by winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award this season.

Winner: DeVonta Smith (Wide Receiver, Philadelphia Eagles)

Defensive Player of the Year

Myles Garrett was one of the favorites to win Defensive Player of the Year last season before missing two weeks due to COVID-19. Over 14 games, Garrett had 12 sacks and four forced fumbles. 

Now stronger than ever, and with his stamina back, Garrett should jump right back into the conversation of top defenders in the league. The Browns’ defense isn’t great, but Garrett should be in for a big season.

Winner: Myles Garrett (Defensive End, Cleveland Browns)

Offensive Player of the Year

Dalvin Cook was the runner-up to Derrick Henry for Offensive Player of the Year last season. Through 14 games, Cook totaled 1,557 rushing yards, 361 receiving yards, and 17 total touchdowns on 356 touches. 

The Vikings relied heavily on the running game and should continue to do so this season. They also drafted an offensive lineman in the first round, which should only help bolster the blocking for Cook. If there’s a running back to win the award, it’s Cook.

Winner: Dalvin Cook (Running Back, Minnesota Vikings)

Most Valuable Player

Kyler Murray broke out last season after the Cardinals acquired DeAndre Hopkins via trade. Murray threw for over 3,900 passing yards and 26 touchdowns while also running for 819 yards and 11 touchdowns. Now, with receiver A.J. Green and running back James Conner coming to Arizona, the offense will be even better.

If Murray can get his completion percentage higher and continue to dominate teams on the ground and through the air, the third-year quarterback can win his first career MVP award. 

Winner: Kyler Murray (Quarterback, Arizona Cardinals)

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