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Very Early NFL Award Predictions for the 2024 Season

NFL Awards - Texans QB C.J. Stroud
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The NFL regular season is still months away. Minicamps have just started; fans have just begun their fantasy football mocks; the draft is still in recent memory.

However, it is never too soon to look ahead at what the upcoming season has in store. Here are my very early predictions for the 2024 NFL awards.

Most Valuable Player: C.J. Stroud, QB, Houston Texans

After a rookie year that saw him win OROY and an AFC South division title, Stroud has plenty of momentum going into his sophomore season. While some may believe it will be tough for Stroud to avoid a second-year slump, I think the Texans have put him in the position to do the opposite. Now with Stefon Diggs in his receiving corps and Joe Mixon anchoring the run game, Stroud is surrounded by one of the best offenses in the NFL. The Texans are favored to repeat as AFC South champions and should top the list of teams in the AFC most threatening to the back-to-back Super Bowl-winning Kansas City Chiefs. If Stroud can build off his rookie campaign to certify himself amongst the league’s best quarterbacks, the MVP award may be his to lose.

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Offensive Player of the Year: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott, in a prove-it year, will want to sling it — there is no doubt about that. Plus, with a shaky running-back core, Dallas will need to lean on their passing game even more. Lamb will be Prescott’s main target on every dropback once again and has shown himself to be a dynamic, reliable receiver. While he did lead the league in targets last year, Lamb’s chances of repeating the numbers he had a year ago feel promising. He has improved every year he has been in the league; his targets, receptions, and receiving yards have all steadily increased while his drop percentage has decreased. Lamb looks destined to have another standout season, one that can propel him to winning this award.

Defensive Player of the Year: Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Detroit Lions

Hutchinson, who has become a cornerstone of the Lions’ defense, has shown progress and success in his first two seasons in the NFL, building a special reputation for himself off the edge. After putting together a great rookie year, when he finished runner-up in DROY voting, Hutchinson increased his sack total and more than doubled his quarterback hits in his sophomore season. He is now recognized amongst the top defensive talents the league has to offer, and this award could be what’s coming next for his career. With a different pass rusher winning it four years in a row now, I like Hutchinson’s odds.

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Offensive Rookie of the Year: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Arizona Cardinals

In a class that may produce five first-year starting quarterbacks, a non-quarterback needs a historical campaign — in his first year — to win this award. Harrison can do just that. It was no secret during the draft process that Harrison looked like an NFL-ready wide receiver. Now, he is in a Cardinals offense where he immediately becomes the No. 1 offensive weapon. Kyler Murray will rely on his rookie wideout to carry much of the receiving load for Arizona, and whether or not the Cardinals win a lot of games, Maserati Marv can tally the impressive stats to start his career by winning something his father did not. 

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Jared Verse, OLB, Los Angeles Rams

The top defensive players had to wait to hear their names called in the 2024 NFL Draft, as Laiatu Latu, who was drafted at No. 15 by the Colts, was the first defender off the board. In fact, pick No. 15 is the latest the first defender has been selected in NFL history. However, that does not mean there was a lack of talent amongst the group. Jared Verse, the back-to-back All-American from Florida State who heard his name called at No. 19, will join a Rams defensive unit that needs to compensate for the loss of Aaron Donald. Verse has the opportunity and skillset to start from Day 1 for coach Sean McVay, finding an immediate impact that projects him toward this first-year honor.

Comeback Player of the Year: Aaron Rodgers, QB, New York Jets

Recently, the NFL clarified that this award should focus on honoring “a player who has demonstrated resilience in the face of adversity by overcoming illness, physical injury or other circumstances that led him to miss playing time the previous season.” If Rodgers can return to a level of play close to that before his devastating Achilles injury in the 2023 regular season opener, there will be no comeback comparable to his this season. Rodgers’s recovery went faster than planned and his play style should mean little limitation from the injury. So, all signs point to the Jets’ leader being in the front seat of this race.

Coach of the Year: Jim Harbaugh, Los Angeles Chargers

What comes with having Harbaugh as your head coach? The spotlight and high expectations. But what does he usually deliver? Wins. Alongside new general manager Joe Hortiz, the former Michigan man has already worked to reconstruct the coaching staff and roster around star quarterback Justin Herbert. If Harbaugh turns the Chargers from being a 5-12 football team to one with a winning record in a single season, it will be difficult to deny him the Coach of the Year award. With Los Angeles having the fifth-easiest strength of schedule (and the easiest in the AFC) based on 2023 opponent record, this turnaround seems realistic. 

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