Ian Evans’ 2020 NFL Season Award Predictions
Updated: Sep 8, 2020
Most Valuable Player: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
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This should not come as a surprise to anyone. The only other candidates I was thinking of for this award were Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks. Mahomes has his megadeal of a contract, just got engaged to his long-time girlfriend, and he won Super Bowl LIV MVP in the span of just 6 months. In 2019 alone, he racked up 4,031 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, and only threw 5 interceptions. He is also playing with, in my opinion, the best tight-end in the league in Travis Kelce, the speedy deep threat Tyreek Hill, and somewhat reliable number two wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Not to mention they also have speed demons such as Demarcus Robinson, Mecole Hardman, and Byron Pringle as well. They also drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round of the 2019 draft as well. Patrick Mahomes could be looking at a 4,500 passing yards and over 40 touchdowns season and is my pick for the 2020 NFL MVP award.
Offensive Player Of the Year: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
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There were only 2 running backs league history that have hit 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in a single season: Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig. In 2019, Christian McCaffrey was the 3rd running back to make that list. He is also my pick for the 2020 Offensive Player of the Year award. He’s an offensive threat, a defensive nightmare the deal with, and has the ability to beat you in the backfield or in open space. In 2019 he ran for 1387 yards (3rd to Nick Chubb and Derrick Henry), racked up 1,005 rushing yards, had 19 total touchdowns, and was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time (rightfully so) in 2019. Those are insane numbers for any runningback. Christian McCaffrey will win this award for one reason: to keep the Panthers competitive in a extremely difficult division. McCaffrey will have to put up similar numbers as he did in 2019 if the Panthers want to survive the year.
Defensive Player Of the Year: Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams
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Aaron Donald is one of the best players in the NFL and is a nightmare matchup for any offensive tackle or guard. He’s simply the best defensive tackle in the league. He’s always accounted for on the offensive end and is incredibly difficult to stop alone. In fact, according to ESPN Stats Info, Aaron Donald was doubled 82 times last year, the most in the NFL. Donald put up 29 solo tackles, 20 tackles for loss, and even recorded a safety in 2019. In the offseason the Rams added A’Shawn Robinson, who previously played for the Detroit Lions, and re-signed Michael Brockers as well. Donald could be poised for a sensational 2020, reminiscent of his 2018 season in which he had 20.5 sacks, 25 tackles for loss, and 4 forced fumbles. He could potentially have a career year ahead of him.
Offensive Rookie Of the Year: Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
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There are some quarterbacks who have been drafted number one overall who haven’t lived up to the hype, cue JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf. However, Joe Burrow, the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner, 2019 College Playoff champion, and the number one overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft will not be one of those quarterbacks. Passing for a league leading 5,671 passing yards, 60 touchdowns, and passer rating of 202.0, the Bengals would have been delusional to not pick Burrow. Burrow is an extremely accurate quarterback (76.3% in 2019) who can throw the deep ball efficiently, has great pocket presence, slippery escapability, and can scramble effectively if he needs to. The Bengals also took initiative in franchise-tagging A.J. Green, extended running back Joe Mixon to a four-year deal, and drafted Tee Higgins as another offensive threat. They also have Tyler Boyd who has proven to be a reliable wide receiver as well. With these weapons, Burrow could put up incredible numbers as a rookie. Burrow brings a different type of swagger, style, and confidence that I personally have not seen from a rookie in a while, which is why he is my 2020 Rookie of the Year.
Defensive Rookie Of the Year: Chase Young, Edge, Washington Football Team
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Chase Young was simply the best college athlete in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Washington Football team drafted Young, 2nd overall in the 2019 draft, behind Joe Burrow. Young lead the nation in sacks with 16.5 and was tied 1st in fumbles forced with 7. He also racked up 46 total tackles as well. His release off the defensive line is lightning quick, has a plethora of moves to get to the quarterback, and is has the closing speed to stop checkdown routes in the backfield. Young is a matchup nightmare to deal with. He is simply a generational talent and is athletically gifted. Pairing him with Jonathan Allen and Ryan Kerrigan could prove lethal and scary for the rest of the NFC East, and could have a top-10 defensive line in the league in 2020. Chase Young is the clear frontrunner for this award and is my Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Comeback Player Of the Year: Cam Newton, QB, New England Patriots
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As far as the Comeback Player of the Year Award goes, there are a plethora of player who could win this award. The frontrunners for this award are definitely Washington Football Team’s quarterback Alex Smith, who has battled and persevered back from a compound fracture in his right leg that he suffered in 2018 against the Houston Texans, and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who suffered a season-ending elbow injury in 2019. However, my pick for this award is the former MVP of the NFL Cam Newton, of the New England Patriots. Newton suffered a shoulder injury in 2018, which required surgery after the season, and a suffered a season-ending Pedal Lisfranc sprain in his left foot in 2019. However, it seems as if Carolina gave up on Newton and decided to go with another route at quarterback instead, signing Teddy Bridgewater this offseason. If you follow Cam Newton on Instagram, you can see how determined, motivated, angry, and simply ready to prove everyone who passed up on signing him this offseason wrong. Bill Belichick has even praised Cam Newton as well. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Belichick has said that, “He’s [Cam] come in and done everything we asked him to…He works hard. We’ll just take it day-by-day, but he’s given us everything he’s had and we’ve tried to put the team in the best position we can competitively.” Newton has already garnered the respect of his wideouts and his team, has been named a captain this year, and is more than primed to be Tom Brady’s successor.
Coach Of the Year: Bruce Arians, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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I personally see the Coach of the Year award as Bruce Arians’ to lose. Tampa Bay added Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback of all time to its roster, one of the greatest tight-ends to play the game in Rob Gronkowski, and drafted one of the best collegiate offensive tackles in Tristan Wirfs. They also went on to sign running backs LeSean “Shady” McCoy, and Leonard Fournette as well. The team already has one of the best wide receiver duos in the league in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin as well. Tampa Bay has the best offense in football. Defensively they re-signed Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh, and also franchise tagged Shaquil Barrett. This team made every offseason move they needed to make in order to set themselves up for success in 2020. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wins totals over/under is currently set at 9.5 wins, but if I am a betting man I am HAMMERING the over. Granted, the NFC South is one of the toughest division in football, but this team is too talent and loaded to only win 9 games. This team could potentially win 11 or 12 games easily. It should not take much time at all, with a mind great coaching mind like Arians’, to adjust the offense for optimum success. This year could be the best year of Bruce Arians’ coaching career and is my pick for the 2020 NFL Coach of the Year.
The 2020-2021 NFL season is poised to be on of the most intriguing season we have ever seen. Be sure to keep a close eye on these individuals as they are expected to have a tremendous year ahead of them.