MVP: QB Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay)
Rodgers was my highest ranked quarterback in my top-200 and in my fantasy projections and the top quarterback usually wins this award as long as his team makes the playoffs. In his last 45 games, including the playoffs, Rodgers has thrown for 114 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, and 12738 yards. Over 16 games, that’s 41 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and 4529 yards. He’s also rushed for 1395 yards and 18 touchdowns in 5 years. There’s some concern with his offensive line, but he was sacked 51 times last season and still produced.
Defensive Player of the Year: DE JJ Watt (Houston)
I hate picking someone to win the Defensive Player of the Year to back-to-back years since the only one who has ever done it is Lawrence Taylor, and that was in a strike shortened season. However, Watt is coming off arguably the greatest season by a defensive lineman in NFL history, given how many sacks he had from his position, the number of swats he had, and how well he played the run to boot, and he’s only 24 years old. He could be 80% of what he was last year and win the award 9 times out of 10. His strongest competition, Von Miller, has been knocked for with a 6 game suspension. Geno Atkins could give him a run if he repeats what he did last season, but I don’t think it’s any more likely that Atkins repeats what he did last year than Watt doing so. Luke Kuechly could have the numbers for this award so he’s a darkhorse.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: RB Eddie Lacy (Green Bay)
I don’t believe in any of the rookie quarterbacks. Rookie wide receivers never do anything. Tight ends and offensive linemen never win this award. That leaves running back and Lacy is in the best opportunity to produce of any of the rookie running backs. He’s the only one who is a clear lead back and he’ll have plenty of running room and scoring opportunities on Green Bay’s offense.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: DT Star Lotulelei (Carolina)
This is shaping up to be a weak class for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Linebackers win this more often than not, but the only linebacker drafted in the first round who will be a week 1 starter is Alec Ogletree, who I have consideration to. Of the top-12 picks, only 5 were defensive players. 3 are raw defensive ends, while 2 are cornerbacks, who usually take a year to adjust to the NFL. Lotulelei was 14th, taken one spot behind Sheldon Richardson, but I think Lotulelei will be the better pro. He’ll be a key cog on an upstart Carolina front 7. His strong pre-season only supports my case.
Coach of the Year: HC Andy Reid (Kansas City)
He might not deserve it, but if the Chiefs make the kind of turnaround I’m expecting from them, Reid will probably win this award. He and Alex Smith aren’t great, but they’re light years better than the Romeo Crennel/Brady Quinn combination the Chiefs had last season.
Comeback Player of the Year: CB Darrelle Revis (Tampa Bay)
I gave consideration to Lardarius Webb, another shutdown cornerback coming off a torn ACL, and he certainly had a great performance week 1 against the Broncos, but when Revis is healthy, he’s the better cornerback.