With the opening night of the NFL season in the rearview mirror, and the first full slate of Sunday games right around the corner, it seemed like a good time to predict who will receive the league’s most prestigious honors this year.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Ezekiel Elliot
No disrespect to Elliot, but the Dallas offensive line can make even declining running backs like Darren McFadden look good.
And with Tony Romo out for the first chunk of the season, expect Dallas to ground and pound, with their rookie running back seeing the vast majority of carries.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Dante Fowler Jr.
Fowler was drafted 3rd overall by the Jaguars in 2015, but due to a torn ACL in off-season minicamps that caused him to miss the entire season, still qualifies as a rookie.
The former Gator has the explosiveness to be an elite pass rusher in this league, and he’ll be an immediate difference-maker for the up-and-coming Jags.
Comeback Player of the Year: Andrew Luck
After a 2014 season to remember, Luck’s 2015 was one to forget, as multiple injuries, including a lacerated kidney, derailed his season.
But now healthy and with a revamped offensive line, expect a monster season from Luck in Indianapolis’ pass-happy system.
Offensive Player of the Year: Antonio Brown
Even with Ben Roethlisberger missing for a significant portion of the 2015 season, Brown still put up over 1,800 receiving yards.
The Steelers have their full arsenal of weapons back, and if Big Ben can stay healthy, a 2,000+ yard season is a real possibility for Brown.
Defensive Player of the Year: Khalil Mack
After his coming-out season in 2015 which included 15 sacks, Mack and the up-and-coming Raiders are ready to cement themselves as contenders in the AFC West.
And while sacks are usually the headliner in a DPOY’s campaign, Mack’s uncanny ability to defend the run will be the cherry on top.
Most Valuable Player: Aaron Rodgers
Coming off a down-year (for his standards), the return of his right-hand man, Jordy Nelson, will make a world of difference.
Now that Jordy is back, Randall Cobb can return as a second option from the slot, where he’s much more comfortable and effective.
If everybody stays healthy, the league’s best quarterback should take back his crown as the league’s MVP.