The 2021 NFL Season is officially upon us. With hope for teams all across the league, the time to look ahead to awards predictions is here. Dominated by familiar faces a year ago, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers captured his third Most Valuable Player award. He led the team to the number one seed in the NFC playoffs after tossing 48 touchdown passes.
Along with this, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle, Aaron Donald narrowly edged out Pittsburgh Steelers pass rusher TJ Watt to win the Defensive Player of the Year crown. The story of year last season across the league, Kevin Stefanski edged out Buffalo Bills head coach Sean Mcdermott to win the Coach of the Year award after leading the Cleveland Browns to their first playoff appearance in nearly 20 seasons. Littered with talent as every single awards race figures to be close across the board, here are my 2021 NFL awards predictions.
2021 NFL Awards Predictions
Most Valuable Player: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Allen enjoyed a massive leap during his third year in the league last season. He helped lead the Bills to their first AFC East title since 1995. Finishing second in MVP voting, the former seventh overall pick amassed over 4,500 yards through the air while completing over 69 percent of his passes. In addition to this, the University of Wyoming alumn tossed a career-high 37 touchdown passes while rushing for an additional eight scores.
A year ago, employing one of the deepest wide receiver cores across the league, the Bills will get back two-thirds of their trio, with Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley set to return. Furthermore, with veteran Emmanuel Sanders set to join Gabriel Davis after landing with the franchise on a one-year deal, look for the group to once again be one of the most dynamic offenses in the league. Paired with one of the brightest offensive minds in the game in offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, look for Allen to capture the league-wide trophy.
Offensive Player of the Year: Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
Historically great a season ago, Adams set the Packer’s single-season franchise record with 115 receptions. He also surpassed Sterling Sharpe‘s team record for the most receiving touchdowns in a single season with a league-best 18 touchdown grabs. Appearing in only 14 games after missing two with an ankle injury, the Fresno State alumn averaged 11.9 yards per catch, leading to an NFL high of 98.1 receiving yards per game.
The undisputed number one target in the team’s wide receiver room, with Aaron Rodgers back at the helm for another season in Green Bay, look for the duo to pick up right where they left off from a year ago. With over 492 completions in seven seasons between the two, if Adams can stay healthy for the entire season, look for him to break Calvin Johnson‘s record for most yards in a single year by a wideout.
Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns
One of the odds on favorites to capture his first Defensive Player of the Year Award, Garrett helped the Browns rank just sixth in points per game in 2020. Amassing 12 sacks, the former number one overall pick also recorded ten tackles for loss and 18 quarterback hits while racking up a career-high four forced fumbles. Improving their defensive unit during the offseason, general manager Andrew Berry inked deals with safety John Johnson, cornerback Troy Hill, and linebacker Anthony Walker Jr.
However, no deal was more prominent than the addition of former Houston Texans pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney. Agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with the franchise after failing to record a sack last season with the Titans, the University of South Carolina alumn missed eight games with a meniscus injury. Back healthy, if Clowney can back to his old form, look for Garrett to get more one-on-one pass-rushing opportunities in 2021. This should lead the 25-year-old to put it all together in his fifth year in the league and capture the franchise’s first league-wide defensive honor.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Zach Wilson, New York Jets
Shooting up draft boards during his junior season at BYU, Wilson led the Cougars to an 11-1 record and the top spot in the Independents. Capturing a victory over UCF in the Boca Raton Bowl, the 22-year-old was ultimately selected second overall by the New York Jets in the 2021 NFL Draft. Named the starter by head coach Robert Saleh to open up the season, look for him to benefit from a much-improved unit. Bolstering their offensive line during the offseason, the franchise inked deals with guard Greg Van Roten and tackle Morgan Moses to join standout lineman Mekhi Becton.
Furthermore, the group was also able to select USC guard Alijah Vera-Tucker in the draft to help anchor down the left side of the line. With a much-improved receiver group after adding Corey Davis on a three-year, 37.5 million dollar deal, the young signal-caller will have veterans Jamison Crowder and Keelan Cole, along with rookie Elijah Moore at his disposal to join Davis. While both Trevor Lawrence and Najee Harris could provide sparks for their new team, along with Justin Fields, look for Wilson to edge them out as our offensive rookie of the year on this 2021 NFL Awards Predictions list.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys
Once regarded as a top-five prospect in the 2021 draft, Parsons fell due to off-the-field character concerns. Ultimately selected by the Cowboys with the 11th overall pick, the Penn State alumn became the team’s primary target after they missed out on Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn. One of the most dominant players throughout college football during his final season in 2019, the 22-year-old Nittany Lions to the second spot in the B1G East.
Earning First-team all-Big Ten honors, he amassed five sacks and 109 tackles, with 14 being for a loss. As versatile as they come on the football field, Parsons can rush the passer from the edge spot while also dropping into coverage and stopping the run. The perfect fit for Dann Quinn’s newfound 3-4/4-3 system, he provides a core building block for a Cowboys defense in desperate need of playmakers.
Comeback Player of the Year: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Back after suffering a horrific leg injury in Week 5 last season, Prescott missed the rest of the season following surgery. Putting up historic numbers throughout the first quarter of his 2020 campaign, the 28-year-old signal-caller racked up 1,856 passing yards while tossing nine touchdown scores. Completing over 68 percent of his passes, the Mississippi State alumn averaged over 12 yards per completion.
Returning one of the best offensive supporting casts across the NFL, the Cowboys will once again be led by standout running back Ezekiel Elliott. Along with this, the team will also hope to get a breakout year for second-year wideout CeeDee Lamb to help compliment star receiver Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup in the passing game. Poised to once again put up monster numbers in his second year in Mike Mccarthy’s offensive system, look for Prescott to be a runaway winner for the Comeback Player of the Year Award and a potential MVP candidate.
Coach of the Year: Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Chargers
Making the trip across the country after spending one season as the Rams defensive coordinator, Staley was hired by the Chargers after they dismissed Anthony Lynn following a disappointing 7-9 season. Leading the Rams defense to the number one overall unit in the league a year ago, the team ranked first in both points and yards allowed per game.
One of the best young rosters league-wide heading into the 2021 season, the Chargers are led by reigning rookie of the year winner Justin Herbert. They will also get star safety, Derwin James, back to join pass rusher Joey Bosa on defense. Lauded across the league for his ability to get the most out of his players, if Staley can lead the Chargers back to the playoffs for the first time since 2018, he should capture the Coach of the Year Award.