The 2017 NFL season is halfway through and like any other season this season is full of commonalities and surprises. As for commonalities, the Cleveland Browns are still the worst team in the league and they’ve already started multiple players at quarterback. In other news, the Patriots and Steelers are still very dominant and an Andy Reid coached team (The Chiefs) looks great throughout the first half of the season. As for surprises, Deshaun Watson looked like he easily could’ve won MVP, Rookie of the Year and even Offensive Player of the Year, but an unfortunate ACL tear will sideline the rookie sensation for the rest of the season. Tom Coughlin has Jacksonville looking like a contender minus Blake Bortles, while the Colts are amongst the NFL’s worst teams as Andrew Luck has been sidelined all season.
All in all, let’s take a look at what we believe the NFL awards would be if they were given out today.
Most Valuable Player (MVP): Carson Wentz
With his team sitting atop the NFL at 7-1, Carson Wentz has his team in prime position to lock up one of the top two spots in the NFC playoff race behind his stellar play and a defense that is playing as well as any unit in the league. Through 8 games Wentz has 19 touchdowns (Best in the league) to go along with 2,063 yards (3rd in the league) which has his looking like the early MVP front runner. The huge question will be can he carry this momentum into the playoffs?
Runner-Up: Alex Smith
Offensive Player of the Year (OPOY): Kareem Hunt
Before Spencer Ware’s injury, many thought that Kareem Hunt would be either RB2 or RB3 in Kansas City. With Ware sidelined for the year, Kareem Hunt got his opportunity to shine and has clearly made the most of it in every showing. After fumbling his first NFL carry, Hunt exploded for 246 all-purpose yards and 3 touchdowns on opening night against the defending NFL champions, the New England Patriots. Hunt has gone on to lead all running back’s in rushing this season with 763 yards while maintaining an impressive 5.2 yards per carry. Look for him to continue to trend upward each week as his aggressive yet patient rushing style fit Andy Reid’s west coast offense perfectly.
Runner-Up: Tom Brady
Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY): Demarcus Lawrence
Demarcus Lawrence was basically an afterthought coming into the 2017 season. Last season, he posted 1 sacks in 9 games. So far this season he already has an NFL high 10.5 sacks, 3 fumble forced and 2 fumble recoveries.
Runner-Up: Ryan Shazier
Offensive Rookie of the Year (OROY): Kareem Hunt
Offensive player of the year and offensive rookie of the year for Kareem Hunt? Yeah it’s a stretch, but the way he’s been playing it certainly isn’t impossible. Also if the Chiefs keep winning that would help his case.
Runner-Up: Leonard Fournette
Defensive Rookie of the Year (DROY): T.J. Watt
Many wondered how T.J. Watt would handle being the younger brother of a three time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He’s faired pretty well in his first 7 NFL games as he has four sacks and an interception while constantly wreaking havoc in opposing offenses backfields. He is actually on pace to have a better rookie season than his older brother had. However, J.J. has been a dominant force ever since. Can T.J. do the same thing?
Runner-Up: Marshon Lattimore
Comeback Player of the Year: Rob Gronkowski
Guess who has the most touchdown receptions in the NFL since 2010? Rob Gronkowski. That’s amazing considering how much time he misses due to injury. In 2016, he missed basically the entire season (He only played 6 games) while his team went on to win the Super Bowl without him. In 2017 he’s already posted 34 receptions for 509 yards to go along with 5 touchdowns while the Patriots are a quiet 6-2. While there are concerns about the defensive effort this season, there’s no concern over Gronk’s health and his connection with Tom Brady.
Runner-Up: DeAndre Hopkins
Coach of the Year: Sean McVay
First time head coach Sean McVay has the Rams looking like actual contenders for the first time since Marshall Faulk last wore Navy and Gold. McVay’s best work has been the development of second year QB Jared Goff, who has limited turnovers which hurt his rookie campaign. Behind Goff, a re-renergized Todd Gurley and an underrated defense, McVay has the Rams at 5-2 and looking good in the playoff race.
Runner-Up: Sean Payton