We are already a quarter of the way through the season and there have been some good and bad surprises so far. Since all of the teams have played at least four games, it is a good time to see who is in the lead for the NFL league awards.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Dak Prescott
There were other options for the best offensive rookie of the first quarter of the season, but Dak Prescott has had one of the best campaigns in the history of the league. He has done a good job all season of putting his team in position to win games. He has had the most completions without an interception for a rookie starting from week one and second to only Tom Brady for completions to start their career. There are already grumblings around the media wondering if Tony Romo will even get his job back when he is healthy. The fact that there are even those types of conversations going on around the league just show how much of an impact Prescott has had on the league in the short time that he has been in Dallas. The idea of him being under center should have Cowboy fans just giddy thinking about the future.
Carson Wentz, Will Fuller, Ezekiel Elliott
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Jalen Ramsey
There was no one that really stood out for this category to this point in the season, except Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey doesn’t have amazing stats, but he shows up on the screen every time that you watch the Jaguars play. He has gotten under the skin of certain receivers and will eventually be able to take advantage of some of those players. He seems like he will develop into a key secondary piece for this team for years to come.
Comeback Player of the Year: Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck missed a majority of last season with various injuries, but he looks like he is back to form this season. He hasn’t had much help around him, but he has still been able to complete 64% of his passes for 1,469, ten touchdowns, and only three interceptions. The only reason that he might not win this award at the end of the season is because he can’t get the protection that he needs from his line in order to stay healthy. There are already questions about his shoulder and how much he will play in the coming weeks, but to this point, Luck is the one of the few bright spots of the Indianapolis Colts.
Joe Flacco, Steve Smith, Victor Cruz, Kelvin Benjamin
Executive of the Year: Jerry Jones
It was hard to think of any other executive than Jerry Jones, just because of his the 2016 Cowboys draft class is paying off so early in the season. Their first round pick, Ezekiel Elliott, took two weeks to learn the NFL and is now the leading rusher in the NFL and seems to be as good as advertised. Their fourth round compensatory pick, Dak Prescott, is having one of the best rookie quarterback campaigns in the history of the NFL. Their third round pick, Maliek Collins, is a solid rotational player along an underrated defensive line. Their sixth round pick, Anthony Brown, has looked good filling in for one of their best defensive players, Orlando Scandrick. Two of their picks top four picks, Jaylon Smith and Charles Tapper, probably won’t see the field this season, but anytime a team can get some good contributions from their two of their rookies, that is a success. This team is looking good now, and has a really bright future.
Coach of the Year: Mike Zimmer
Going into this season, the Vikings were thought to be one of the best teams in the NFL. Then they lost their starting quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, at the end of the preseason and their star running back, Adrian Peterson, in week two. When Bridgewater went down, this team traded for Sam Bradford and got him up to speed by week two of the season. When Peterson went down, Jerrick McKinnon was able to take the ball and run with it. Those two things topped with one of, if not the best, defense in the NFL makes this team the last unbeaten in the NFL. A significant portion of their success is because of the excellent job that Mike Zimmer and his coaching staff has done to make this team one of the most feared in the NFL.
Bill Belichick, Gary Kubiak, Doug Pederson
Offensive Player of the Year: Ezekiel Elliott
Ezekiel Elliott has been really good through his first five games of the season. He is leading the league in rushing with 546 yards through five games and is only fourth all time for rookies through five games. He is trailing Billy Simms, Adrian Peterson and Eric Dickerson in most yards by a rookie through five games. There is no reason to believe that, barring injury, Elliott won’t be at least sniffing Dickerson’s record of 1,808 yards in a rookie season. He is a game changer in the way that DeMarco Murray was in 2014, but Elliott is a little more dynamic in the way that he runs. If the Cowboys can continue their success, Elliott should be able to win the same award that Murray did two years ago.
Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, LeGarrette Blount, Antonio Brown
Defensive Player of the Year: Von Miller
Von Miller has been the consistent piece of the Denver defense, week in and week out. He has been able to get 6.5 sacks and 20 combined tackles through five games this season, but his impact is much more than his numbers. The Broncos as a team have 19 sacks, four fumbles, and five interceptions and most of that is thanks to Von Miller causing opposing offenses to make mistakes. He has also impacted their offense in a positive way too. Their ability to stop opposing offenses has given Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch a little bit of breathing room so they don’t have to be so pressured to play perfect games. This team is 4 – 1 and could be worse if not for Von Miller.
Harrison Smith, Aaron Donald
Most Valuable Player: Matt Ryan
It is hard to argue how good Matt Ryan has been to this point in the season. He has completed 69% of his passes for 1,740 yards, twelve touchdowns, and only two interceptions so far this season. He is on pace for 5,500 yards and roughly 38 touchdowns and is currently making everyone around him better. A good portion of his production is thanks he top target, Julio Jones, but the way that he is able to incorporate the running game in with his passing game has been a thing of beauty. He probably won’t be able to sustain this level of play for a whole season, but he has been good thus far.
Dak Prescott, LeGarrette Blount, Sam Bradford, Carson Wentz, Antonio Brown
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