My picks for MVP, and the rest of this year’s NFL awards.
MVP – Russell Wilson
Wilson took his game to another level last seasons, and with Marshawn Lynch officially gone in Seattle, he’ll be asked to throw the ball even more. This is the year Wilson finally becomes the best player on his team, and like Cam Newton last year, his playmaking running and throwing the ball will give him a big edge.
Defensive Player of the Year – Khalil Mack
It’s probably stupid to go with anyone other than JJ Watt as long as he’s still in the league. However, I think if the Raiders are getting to the postseason, it’ll be in large part thanks to Mack. He had 15 sacks last season, and he’s only 25.
Offensive Rookie – Ezekiel Elliott
This one seems too easy. Elliot is going to a team that, at the moment, won’t be throwing the ball much, and that has an outstanding o-line. His competition is Derrick Henry, who is currently a backup, Treadwell, whose QB blew out a knee, and Sterling Shepard (who might actually be really good this season). Unless Carson Wentz has some crazy season in Phili, Elliot should be the guy.
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Myles Jack
He was picked in the second round, but was by no means a second round talent. I really like the fit here; he’ll have an opportunity to play a lot for a team that wants to win right away. If he creates two or three turnovers and leads the team in tackles, he’s in good shape.
Comeback Player of the Year – Kelvin Benjamin
Yes, a lot has to do with that Thursday night game, but Cam’s gotta throw the ball to someone, and Benjamin is unstoppable. As long as his legs hold us, I think he’s got this one in the bag. Other contenders are Le’veon Bell (already missing three games), Jamaal Charles (out week one) and Arian Foster (always gets hurt). Benjamin has the best path.
Coach of the Year – Bill Belichick
If Belichick can win 12 games and make the playoffs despite not having his starting quarterback in four the first four game of the season, he should win the award for the fourth time. Obviously he’s got some competition with Pete Carrol and Bruce Arians, but an outsider candidate might actually be Mike Zimmer, who could nab it with only nine or 10 wins.