The NFL season is halfway through and there have been some surprises (the Rams!) and others conducting business as usual (the 49ers!). Here are our nominees for our midseason awards.
MVP – Carson Wentz (Philadelphia Ealges) (Unanimous decision)
The Eagles are 8-1 and Wentz is a big reason why. Last year, he ranked 28th in QER, this year, he ranks sixth and leads the NFL in touchdown passes. His latest victim? A stout Broncos defense, who dropped 51 points against.
Offensive Player of the Year – Todd Gurley (Los Angeles Rams) (Unanimous decision)
Out of Jeff Fisher’s middle school offense, Gurley is back to devastating opposing defenses. In fact, his return to form has been a key factor in the rise of Jared Goff.
Defensive Player of the Year – Calais Campbell (Jacksonville Jaguars) (Unanimous decision)
Campbell has been an absolute terror for the Jaguars and a key piece of the Sacksonville defense. Routinely ranked in the top of our pass rush grades, Campbell was one of the best free agency signings this offseason.
Offensive Rookie of the Year – Deshaun Watson (Houston Texans) (Unanimous decision)
It’s amazing how different the Texans offense has been without Watson at quarterback. Watson silenced all of his critics by setting the NFL on fire, throwing a touchdown on a league-leading 9.3 percent of his passes despite facing pressure on 47.7 percent of his dropbacks. Unfortunately, a torn ACL has cut his rookie season short. Watson ranked seventh in QER.
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Marshon Lattimore (New Orleans Saints) (Unanimous decision)
A raw athlete coming out of college, Lattimore fell further than he should and he has made everyone regret the decision since. Lattimore has not surrendered a touchdown this season and has yielded just 160 receiving yards. Opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of 37.4, the second-lowest mark in the NFL.\
Most Improved Player – Jared Goff (Los Angles Rams) (Unanimous Decision)
After his rookie year, Goff was looking like a colossal bust and some were wondering if it would force the Rams to look at a quarterback again if he struggled in 2017. His sophomore season. however, has been much more promising with a healthy 13-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The fofense has also improved, especially along the offensive line, as he has been sacked just 10 times this season.
Least Valuable Player – Cassius Marsh (New England Patriots), John Ross (Cincinnati Bengals) and Tom Savage (Houston Texans) (three-way tie)
All three voters had different reasons for picking the least valuable player. Marsh has been an abysmal acquisition for New England as it seems he can’t do anything right. Ross’ first NFL play resulted in a fumble before he missed time for injury. He was a healthy scratch in his most recent game. Savage, on the other hand, set Houston’s offense back one year – when DeAndre Hopkins was completely neutralized by incompetent quarterback play.
The Brock Osweiler Award – Kenny Britt (Cleveland Browns), Adrian Peterson (New Orleans Saints) and Terrelle Pryor (Washington Redskins) (three-way tie)
The award for the worst offseason free agency signing, all three players found a new home this offseason with poor results. Britt has been terrible on the field and his immaturity has shwn again off the field, giving Browns fans a flashback to when they signed Dwayne Bowe. Peterson was never a fit in New Orleans and struggled in their offense. With Alvin Kamara taking a bigger role on the offense, Peterson was shipped to Arizona, where he has had a bit of a career revival. Pryor has been incredibly ineffective in Washington despite no clear-cut No. 1 receiver on the roster and a talented quarterback throwing to him.
The Albert Haynesworth Award – Vontaze Burfict (Cincinnati Bengals) (two votes)
Given to the league’s dirtiest player, between opponents and his own teammates, Burfict has again found himself in trouble with the league’s front office. Burfict has already been suspended three games and fined after another incident this season. Mike Evans was the other vote.
The Tommy Maddox Award – Case Keenum (Minnesota Vikings) (two votes)
Given to the league’s one-hit wonder, Keenum was pushed into the Vikings starting quarterback role after Sam Bradford went down with a knee injury. Bradford himself was starting for an injured Teddy Bridgewater. The Vikings would then lose running back Dalvin Cook for the season, but it has not slowed down Keenum, who has kept the Vikings afloat and in first place in the NFC North. Jay Ajayi received the third vote.
The Dennis Green Award – Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers) (two votes)
Given to the person with the biggest off-field meltdown, Newton earned this award during an awkward press conference where he made a sexist remark after a female reporter asked about his receiver’s routes. The comment cost him his sponsorship with Dannon’s Oikos brand. Martavis Bryant also received a vote.
The Kenyetta Walker Award – A.J. Green (Cincinnati Bengals) (two votes)
Given to the player with the biggest on-field meltdown, Green was selected after getting ejected for putting Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey in a chokehold. Green had just one catch for six yards at that point of the game. Mike Evans received the other vote.
The Armchair Quarterback Award – Hue Jackson (Cleveland Browns) (Unanimous decision)
With the Browns again winless, head coach Hue Jackson has resorted to a quarterback carousel, shuffling between rookie DeShone Kizer and veterans Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan. Since returning to the NFL in 1999, there has only been one season in which the Browns started one quarterback for all 16 regular season games.
Best Draft Pick – Kareem Hunt (Kansas City Chiefs) (two votes)
Five running backs were selected before Hunt was taken with the 86th overall pick in the draft. Despite this, Hunt has excelled in the Chiefs offense and was a big factor in the team’s 5-0 start. He has not received as many carries lately, but Andy Reid is likely preserving him as rookie running backs tend to hit a wall late in the season. Alvin Kamara also received a vote.
Worst Draft Pick – Mitchell Trubisky (Chicago Bears) (two votes)
Trubisky didn’t start the season as the starter, holding the clipboard for Mike Glennon, but after Glennon was ineffective, Trubisky got the nod. He isn’t ready for the pros and the Bears know that as they have tried to do everything they can to prevent him from throwing passes. In wins over Baltimore and Carolina, he attempted just 23 passes total and has completed more than half of his passes in a game just once. John Ross also received a vote.
Best Coach – Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams) (two votes)
The youngest head coach in NFL history has been a breath of fresh air to a Rams organization who has not made the playoffs since 2004 or had a winning season since 2003. Mike Zimmer also received a vote.
Worst Head Coach – Ben McAdoo (New York Giants) (Unanimous decision)
A former offensive coordinator, the Giants just cant score with McAdoo at the helm. They have averaged less than 20 points per game since he took over as head coach and he has clashed with his players, handing suspensions to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins on separate occasions. The Giants blowout loss to the Rams has many people wonder if the Giants gave up on their coach.
Best General Manager – Mickey Loomis (New Orleans Saints) (Unanimous decision)
Suddenly, the Saints have a stout defense to compete with their offense. New Orleans has allowed just 19.4 points per game this year, has a shutout and has been stout during their six-game winning streak, allowing less than 17 points in all but one contest. Rookies Marshon Lattimore, Ryan Ramczyk, Marcus Williams, Alvin Kamara and Alex Anzalone are all starting and playing well for New Orleans.
Worst General Manager – Jason Licht (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Jerry Reese (New York Giants) and Sashi Brown (Cleveland Browns) (three-way tie)
The three teams that are ran by the general managers tied for this award are a combined 3-21. For the Bucs, their defense has been porous, and rookie O.J. Howard has been inconsistent while battling Cameron Brate for playing time. For Reese, the offensive line is a mess and rookie tight end Evan Engram was more of a luxury pick than anything else. Brown, on the other hand, potentially botched a deadline deal to land A.J. McCarron and rumor has it that Brown is losing the power struggle to Hue Jackson.