There is always debate after every week who will win certain awards based on their play, but halfway through the season, we can get a pretty good sense of who will finish the best. This is the NFL midseason awards based on individual play through week eight.
NFL Midseason Awards
Offensive Rookie of the Year: QB Gardner Minshew
A sixth-round pick out of Washington State, Gardner Minshew has far exceeded everyone’s expectations. Replacing injured quarterback Nick Foles, Minshew has led the Jacksonville Jaguars to a 4-4 record. He has played with great ball control, having 13 touchdowns as opposed to just two interceptions on the year. He also has a passer rating of 98.8, which ranks 12th in the league. Minshew has brought life to Jacksonville after a disappointing season last year.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: DL Nick Bosa
The second overall pick out of Ohio State, Nick Bosa has been nothing short of dominant in his first season. He is tied for first in sacks among all rookies, making his name known with statement games against the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers, racking up five sacks, one forced fumble, and one interception in that span. His 12 tackles for loss ranks second in the league, showcasing skills as a true game-changer. Nick Bosa has lived up to his high draft pick and will be an anchor for the 49ers for years to come.
Coach of the Year: Kyle Shanahan
After a 4-12 finish last season, Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers are undefeated through the halfway point. He was given a rebuilding team when he signed in 2017 and has since turned the San Francisco 49ers around into one of the best units in football. His running schemes have the 49ers second in the league in rushing yards behind only the Baltimore Ravens. He has formed a dominant run game without a true starting running back. His defense ranks near the top in every category and is second to the New England Patriots in points allowed per game. His plan is finally starting to work and with a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo, Shanahan looks to lead his team to the super bowl.
Comeback Player of the Year: S Earl Thomas
Earl Thomas signed with the Baltimore Ravens this past offseason for a fresh start, leaving the Seattle Seahawks. A broken leg along with other previous injuries kept him out almost all year last season, but now he is healthy and returning to his elite play. A natural leader in the secondary, Thomas has allowed just a 27.7 passer rating when quarterbacks target him. He is not as much of a ball-hawking safety like he was in Seattle, but his intelligence and elite game speed still allows Thomas to cover the majority of the field. After an offseason of speculation whether Thomas can still play, he has put those discussions to rest.
Offensive Player of the Year: RB Christian McCaffrey
What Christian McCaffrey has done for the Carolina Panthers this season has been incredible. The third-year back is on pace for 2,464 scrimmage yards and 22 total touchdowns and is the driving force of Carolina’s offense. He also has a legitimate chance at a 1000 rushing and receiving yards this season, which would make him just the third ever to do so. He accounts for 56% of the Panthers touchdowns this season, which just goes to show how much they value McCaffrey. If he continues to put up incredible numbers, he has a shot at winning MVP by the end of the season.
Defensive Player of the Year: LB Shaquil Barrett
Relatively unknown heading into the season, Shaquil Barrett has turned in the best season of his career in just seven games thus far. His 10 sacks are tied for the NFL lead, and his four forced fumbles are also tied for the NFL lead. His play has cooled down a bit since starting the first four games with nine sacks, but his overall impact remains high. Barrett’s play has helped the run defense of the Buccaneers lead the league in rushing yards allowed, with an average of just 68 yards per game. The linebacker signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason, and looks to reap bigger rewards this offseason with his stellar play.
MVP: QB Russell Wilson
What Russell Wilson has done for the Seattle Seahawks since being drafted has been underappreciated. He has single-handedly carried the offense the past several seasons, and this year might be his best so far. Despite having just a couple of weapons and a weak offensive line, Wilson has a passer rating of 115.5, which leads all quarterbacks, as well as an NFL leading 17 passing touchdowns as opposed to just one interception on the year. He has played at a very efficient rate this season, putting up historic numbers at the halfway point, propelling the Seahawks to a 6-2 record. Wilson is the most valuable player to his team and with him under center, the Seahawks will always have a chance to win.
An injury can hurt a player’s chances of winning an award, such as Patrick Mahomes winning back to back MVPs this year. Whoever can face adversity through the rest of the season is key. The next nine weeks will determine who comes out on top for each award, but as of right now these are the frontrunners.
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