2013 NFL Award Projections
Every year the NFL honors a few select players for overachieving in a sport that has competitors everywhere. There’s always someone new, someone better each year in the National Football League. It’s what makes the league so damn good to watch. Let’s look at some players that could win those honors this season.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
I struggled and fought with myself when choosing the offensive rookie of the year. I badly wanted to put an offensive tackle or guard in this category but we all know that would be impossible, right? Right. That’s when I realized the rookie with the best chance to win offensive rookie of the year honors has to be Eddie Lacy. I know it’s a topic that’s been beaten to death but not having a running back to rush for a 100 yards since 2010, is not a good thing. Lacy has the best chance to bring back some ground and pound type running, back to Lambeau field in a Packers’ uniform. On top of that, Lacy can help make Rodgers’ job easier along with helping the offensive line gel.
I couldn’t make the offensive rookie of the year an offensive lineman but damn it, I’ll make him the runner-up. This player was drafted in the first round after only starting four games at the FCS level. However, an NFL team took a shot on him and believes he is talented enough to play guard or tackle. So far, Kyle Long has impressed a lot of people during preseason and practice. The Bears have been trying to fix their offensive line and with Long in the mix, they are on the right track. Long just seems to dominate at right guard and is the kind of player that quarterback, Jay Cutler, is going to love.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
I saw this rookie going in the top ten but I didn’t see him slipping as far as he did in the 2013 draft. In my opinion, Alec was the best linebacker in the 2013 draft and he is going to make people regret on passing him. The rookie has a rare combination of speed and strength that has impressed scouts and coaches. Jeff Fisher will not only help Ogletree with his learning curve in the NFL, but he’ll show the troubled rookie how to become a professional in a man’s game. It’s not often a head coach compares his players, let alone rookies, to established players like Patrick Willis and Keith Bullock. That’s why it’s so easy to hand this award to Ogletree. I see a coach that will help develop him, a player ready to work, and talent that very few have.
I would have Jarvis Jones here but his recent hospital ordeal has me worried about his career. Hence, this is why I choose Mr. Mingo, which if that isn’t a football name in the making, I don’t know what is. It’s really tough to be a Browns’ fan or player. The expectations are always high and it’s wrong to say they shouldn’t be. The Browns’ organization needs to start giving their fans something to cheer for but we all know that takes time. While Browns’ fans are waiting to become contenders again, they should enjoy the play of Barkevious “KeKe” Levon Mingo. Yes, that’s his name.
Offensive Player of the Year
Do you remember that quarterback for the Patriots that made “no name” wide receivers, household names? I do. In fact, Tom Brady has lost some key targets with Aaron Hernadez in jail and former teammate, Wes Welker, in a Broncos’ uniform. But just like Tom Brady, I’m not fazed one bit. Having arguably the best coach in the league, Bill Belichick, is really all Tom Brady needs. Until Bill Belichick and Tom Brady go their separate ways or retire, I don’t see Tom Brady stopping or declining because of the lack of targets to throw to. The Patriots will be fine and Tom Brady will do what he always does, makes something out of nothing.
Drew is one the best quarterbacks in the NFC and NFL. Period. Teams would love to have a quarterback like Drew Brees who’s an outstanding leader, winner, and motivator for his team–on and off the field. If there’s a quarterback that’s won a Super Bowl, set his own records while smashing others, and has done it consistently but still does not get the recognition he deserves, it’s Drew Brees. The Saints were once a laughing stock in the NFL and without Brees or head coach, Sean Payton, they could easily fall back into that category. Brees will go unnoticed while Manning and Brady are in the league. That being said, Brees could easily pass some of their records in due time and hopefully then, he’ll get the recognition he deserves.
Defensive Player of the Year
If there was a player in the National Football League that truly scares me, it’s J.J. Watt. I felt bad for even thinking about not naming him the Defensive player of the year again. If there was a player that could win this award two or three years in a row, it’s J.J Watt. The kid is just that good. In fact, tell me how many Texans’ fans are complaining about losing Mario Williams. Julius Peppers is still playing at a high level and he’s the only player in the NFL that I feel I can compare Watt to, when it comes to athletic ability, speed, and power. Watt is just a great all around football player that will terrorize offensive linemen and the NFL for years to come.
If Watt wasn’t so dominant last season, Geno Atkins would have had a legitimate shot at the award last season. It was tough to not give it to Atkins again but that’s why I have a runner-up section in this article. Atkins is making people look twice at his play because the defensive tackle is phenomenal at stopping the ground game and ferocious at pass rushing for a big guy. Granted, you don’t see defensive tackles making big plays/turnovers but Atkins is up there with the best, in terms of doing his job and doing it well. Another season with 12.5 sacks and anchoring the Bengals’ defensive line, should give his doubters some nicely prepared crow to eat.
Comeback Player of the Year
When I think about Darrelle Revis, I think about a player that escaped a drama filled team that would have tarnished the pro-bowl corner’s legacy. Rex Ryan traded his best player for draft picks because of Revis’ contract and injury. The advancements in the medical field when it comes to sports injuries cannot be ignored. Players like Adrian Peterson, Wes Welker, and Robert Griffin III have all recovered from their damaging knee injuries. Thus, the injury part for Revis doesn’t bother me because it’s his game knowledge that makes him such an outstanding corner. There’s a reason there’s a Revis island and I see it blossoming in Tampa Bay.
It was weird to have Larry Fitzgerald as one of the runner-ups for comeback player of the year but he fits it perfectly. I think it’s safe to say that most wide receivers at Fitzgerald’s level of play would have complained and whined about his offense/quarterback. Next to Adrian Peterson, can you imagine the pain Larry Fitzgerald has gone through? To be truly one of the elite players in the NFL league but not have enough teammates around you to help you or your team, will always be further proof that there’s no “I” in team. I know Fitzgerald isn’t the only one who hopes newly signed Carson Palmer can bring back what’s been missing since Kurt Warner left–stability at the quarterback position.
Most Valuable Player of the Year
To many, this title should have gone to Manning last year but the NFL decided that Adrian Peterson was more worthy of it. That being said, I can’t see Peyton Manning, barring injury, not winning the award this year. Adding wide receiver, Wes Welker and keeping left tackle, Ryan Clady, it’s hard to see Manning slumping and that’s not even including the season he had last year. After being out of the league for a whole year, Manning still put up Manning like numbers– 4,659 yards, 37 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. I don’t see the NFL’s poster boy slowing down anytime soon and I don’t think Peyton has any plans on slowing down either. He wants one more Super Bowl. He wants to go off riding into the sunset. He’ll get his chance this year.
I still remember reading about Tom Brady as a kid. Next to Brian Banks, there’s not a story that still inspires me as much as Tom Brady’s story did. The ultimate competitor. The underdog. People are still in shock with the numbers he put up back in 2007 and are waiting for that type of season to happen again. However, I just don’t see it. Besides Peyton Manning, is there another quarterback that makes wide receivers? I can’t think of one. With Wes Welker gone, Rob Gronwkoski trying to stay healthy, and Aaron Hernadez in jail, I could still see Tom Brady putting up MVP type numbers. If there’s a player that never gives up, it’s Tom Brady. Who else could come close to Peyton Manning?