We are already halfway through what has been an electrifying NFL season. New teams have risen and others have fallen. Offense is at an all time high and the record for total yards in a season will certainly be broken. That’s attributed to the newer league rules that are protecting quarterbacks and receivers but also the creative play calling that has been going on around the league. Well not in all parts but you get the point. Let’s take a look at the award winners through the first half of the season.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Saquon Barkley RB, NYG
It has really been a one-horse race when talking about the offensive rookie of the year. It’s without a doubt Saquon Barkley and its not particularly close. The Giants have been a dumpster fire this season going 1-7 in the first half and one of their few bright spots has been Barkley. He has rushed for 519 yards on 111 attempts and is averaging 4.7 yards per carry. He has also been deadly as a receiver catching 58 passes for 497 yards and averaging 8.6 yards per catch. He has 5 rushing touchdowns and 2 receiving touchdowns all behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league. It will be an upset if Barkley doesn’t take home the trophy.
Honorable mentions: Phillip Lindsay RB, DEN, Kerryon Johnson RB, DET, Calvin Ridely WR, ATL
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Denzel Ward CB, CLE
Ward has impressed mightily in his rookie campaign. He has 12 passes defended with 3 interceptions and 1 forced fumble. His 12 passes defended is second best in the league only trailing Ronald Darby of the Philadelphia Eagles. He has provided stability at a position the Browns have not seen since Joe Haden. This award isn’t as clear as the offensive rookie of the year with several rookies making an impact on their respective teams but Ward has shown he can be a legit number 1 corner in this league.
Honorable mentions: Bradley Chubb DE, DEN, Derwin James S, LAC, Darius Leonard OLB, IND
Comeback Player of the Year
Andrew Luck QB, IND
It was uncertain whether Luck was going to play another snap in the NFL with his lingering shoulder injury that required special treatment across the pond. He finally has a solid offensive line with rookie Quentin Nelson holding things down in the interior. He hasn’t had many weapons to throw to but has still produced some good stats. He has thrown for 2,187 yards with 23 touchdown passes and 8 interceptions. His 23 passing touchdowns are second only to Patrick Mahomes. He has also completed 65.8% of his passes and averaged 6.4 yards per attempt. The AFC South isn’t very good so Luck could sneak the Colts into the playoffs if he keeps this level of play up.
Honorable mention: J.J. Watt DE, HOU, Adrian Peterson RB, WAS
Coach of the Year
Sean McVay, LAR
This one was a toss up. Andy Reid continues to show why he has stuck in this league for so long but the Rams are undefeated and look to be almost unstoppable. McVay’s creative offensive playbook has turned Jared Goff into top quarterback in the league when many people thought he was a bust after his rookie season. The Rams have passed several tough tests throughout the year and they just got better with the acquisition of Dante Fowler Jr. at the trade deadline. Unless the Rams implode in the second half, McVay should come away with the award although no coach ever wins the award two years in a row.
Honorable mentions: Andy Reid, KC, Anthony Lynn, LAC, Bill Belichick, NE
Offensive Player of the Year
Todd Gurley RB, LAR
Gurley has been an unstoppable force for the Rams the past two seasons. He currently leads the league in rushing yards with 800 and he is averaging 4.7 yards per carry. He also leads all running backs with 11 rushing touchdowns and has also tacked on 4 receiving touchdowns. If it weren’t for a certain quarterback to be named later who’s been putting up video game numbers, Gurley would be a lock for the MVP.
Honorable mentions: Adam Theilen WR, MIN, Drew Brees QB, NO
Defensive Player of the Year
Aaron Donald DT, LAR
This award was a coin flip between Donald and Khalil Mack. Mack has turned the Bears into a contender and has put up respectable numbers thus far recording 5 sacks and 16 tackles. He also accounted for 4 forced fumbles which is tied for the league lead alongside Dee Ford, J.J. Watt, and Von Miller. Not a bad group to be in. But Donald leads the league in sacks as an interior defensive lineman which is very rare. His presence is felt arguably more than any other defensive player in the league.
Honorable mentions: Khalil Mack LB, CHI, J.J. Watt DE, HOU, Dee Ford OLB, KC
Most Valuable Player
Patrick Mahomes QB, KC
This award should just be changed to the Quarterback of the Year because no one else really wins it but nonetheless, the second year phenom from Kansas City gets the nod for MVP. He leads the league in touchdowns with 26 and has only thrown 6 interceptions. It now very clear why the Chiefs had no problem trading Alex Smith to the Redskins in the offseason. Mahomes has the opportunity to lead the Chiefs to the number 1 seed in the AFC and maybe even the Super Bowl. Barring a second half skid Mahomes should run away with the MVP.
Honorable mentions: Todd Gurley RB, LAR, Aaron Donald DT, LAR, Drew Brees QB NO