With all three weeks of the NFL preseason wrapped up, the regular season is finally on tap as the season is set to begin in less than two weeks. As we inch closer to kickoff, here are my awards predictions for the 2021 NFL season.
MVP Award: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes has put up absolutely absurd numbers in each of his first three seasons as a starter for the Chiefs. His numbers have dipped slightly since his 5,000-yard and 50 TD campaign of 2018, but they are still fantastic. After throwing for 4,740 yards, 38 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions last season, he is bound to improve. He is now fully recovered from his turf toe injury from last season and the Chiefs’ offense has only improved. They revamped their offensive line with the additions of left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. and left guard Joe Thuney. These are two elite linemen who were added to protect Mahomes’ blindside. It is a scary thought for the rest of the league, but Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense are going to improve in 2021. Mahomes is the favorite and definitely my selection for league MVP this season.
Runner-Up: Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Offensive Player of the Year Award: Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Since entering the league in 2017, the only question about Dalvin Cook has been his health. He struggled to stay on the field in 2017 and 2018. He has been mostly healthy the past two seasons, and the results speak for themselves. Cook had 1,557 rushing yards last season and 1,135 the year before. He played 14 games in both years. He also has 29 rushing touchdowns over the past two seasons. Cook is in a Minnesota offense that loves to run the ball. They have an improved offensive line and will be more than willing to pound the rock. I think Cook is in store for a monster season if he can stay healthy over the course of the 17 games. He is my pick for Offensive Player of the Year.
Runner-Up: Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
Defensive Player of the Year Award: Myles Garrett, DE, Cleveland Browns
Myles Garrett is an absolute monster. He was off to a stellar start in 2020 before a bout of COVID-19 caused him to miss two games and considerably slow him down following his return. He was still an All-Pro and was in the conversation for DPOY. He had 12.0 sacks on the year. He had 13.5 in 2018 and 10.0 in 10 games in 2019. He has consistently produced sack numbers and been a pressure machine. The Browns brought in Jadeveon Clowney to play the edge opposite of Garrett. This is only going to help Garrett and the Browns defense. With a return to full health, I have a feeling Myles Garrett is going to put together a Defensive Player of the Year campaign in 2021.
Runner-Up: Devin White, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Offensive Rookie of the Year Award: Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Najee Harris is a safe bet for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Harris is the only rookie RB who is a guaranteed starter. He is going to get loads of touches in Pittsburgh; both on the ground and through the air. While there are questions about the offensive line for the Steelers, Harris is going to be a star. He destroyed records at Alabama and is a complete running back. He has the ideal size and speed for the position. Harris is ready to be a workhorse back in year one and is certainly my pick for ROY.
Runner-Up: Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears
Defensive Rookie of the Year Award: Micah Parsons, LB, Dallas Cowboys
Micah Parsons is supremely talented and is bound to burst onto the scene in his rookie season. Parsons was drafted by Dallas with the 12th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft as the clear best player available at that spot. Parsons is 6’3, 245 pounds, and runs a 4.39-second 40-yard dash. He has all the tools to be a scary inside linebacker in terms of coverage, run defense, and rushing the passer. He is learning to quarterback the defense and receive the defensive play calls for the Cowboys. I think Parsons will win Defensive Rookie of the Year as the anchor of the Dallas defense in his first season in the league.
Runner-Up: Kwity Paye, DE, Indianapolis Colts
Comeback Player of the Year Award: Nick Bosa, DE, San Francisco 49ers
Nick Bosa had a superb rookie season for the Niners in 2019. He was a massive part of that team that went on to the Super Bowl. Bosa had 9.0 sacks, 25 QB hits, and 45 pressures in 2019. He appeared in just two games in 2020 before a torn ACL ended his season. Bosa will be back to full strength this season and will be a vital part of the San Francisco defense yet again. I have no doubt in my mind that Bosa will return to his 2019 form and that gives him a great chance at winning Comeback Player of the Year honors.
Runner-Up: Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys
Coach of the Year Award: Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Chargers
Brandon Staley is heading into his first year with the Chargers as their new head coach. He moved across town to the Chargers after helping the Rams have the #1 defense in the league last season as their defensive coordinator. The Chargers went 7-9 last season, however, they lost seven games by one possession. This is a stunning stat and shows their ineptitude in late-game situations under former head coach Anthony Lynn. If Staley can make the team slightly better in close games, they will surely contend for the playoffs. With budding star Justin Herbert at QB and a talented defense that has star safety Derwin James returning from injury, this team has the chance to be very good. Rookie head coaches tend to win this award, so I’m picking Staley as my Coach of the Year as he has a young and talented team at his fingertips.
Runner-Up: Ron Rivera, Washington Football Team
Thanks for reading my article on my NFL awards predictions heading into the 2021 NFL season!
Follow me on Twitter, @afreiberg8 for more!
Check out my full article library by clicking here!
main image credit