The 2019 NFL season is set to begin in just days when the Green Bay Packers travel to Soldier Field to play the Chicago Bears. We here at Pro Football Network have released both our AFC and NFC predictions. But what about the NFL awards?
The PFN staff has cast their votes for the 2019 NFL season awards. And we begin with the first repeat MVP winner in a decade.
NFL MVP: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
What do Bigfoot, aliens, the Chupacabra, and the National Football League Most Valuable Player award have in common? They are rarely ever seen by the same person twice in a row. In the NFL, it’s not common for a player to be awarded the MVP in back to back seasons. Since 1957, only five times has it been accomplished. Peyton Manning was the last to do it, winning the award in the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
In 2018, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes took the league by storm. He became only the second QB in NFL history to throw for 50 touchdowns and accumulate at least 5,000 passing yards in the same season. His no-look and left-handed passes were truly spectacular to witness and helped him win the coveted award. Can Mahomes do enough in 2019 to be crowned the MVP again and become only the fifth player ever to do so in consecutive seasons?
Here at Pro Football Network, we believe he can. While the league now has game film to review on the King of Kansas City, it might not be enough to slow him down. Mahomes looks like a generational talent who can do it all. Making plays inside the pocket or scrambling when the play is broken up seem effortless for the second-year starter. If what we saw last year was just a prequel of what is to come, ”Showtime Mahomes” could just be the first player to three-peat. Let’s revisit this a year from now.
-Andres Maldonado, PFN AFC West Writer
Offensive Player of the Year: Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
Look no further than the reigning Rookie of the Year to take the honor of Offensive Player of the Year this season. New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley will build on the success he had his rookie year, with opportunities all around for improvement. Barkley rushed for over 1300 yards and had over 700 receiving yards behind the 21st-ranked offensive line (per PFF).
Various upgrades have been made to the offensive line this offseason, giving fans and analysts confidence in the likelihood of Barkley doubling down on a successful season. Furthermore, with the departure of Odell Beckham Jr., look at Barkley to partially fill that hole in the passing game after hauling in over 75% of passes thrown in his direction last season.
Analysts expect Barkley to push towards being just the third player in NFL history to record 1000 rushing yards and 1000 receiving yards in a single season. If Barkley nears or even reaches the feat, and the Giants win more games than expected because of it, look for Barkley to be in the league MVP conversation as well.
-Oscar Lora, PFN NFC East Writer
Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns selected Myles Garrett first overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. He made an immediate impact in his NFL debut by sacking Josh McCown twice on his way to piling up seven sacks in 11 games.
Garrett took the next step as a second-year player last season. He proved himself as one of the premier edge rushers in the league. He finished sixth in the NFL with 13.5 sacks, and he accomplished this despite being inexplicably limited by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to two pass-rush moves.
Garrett now gets to play under new Browns defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, who was the Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator in 2017 when the club finished third with 50 sacks. The new coaching staff has promised to permit Garrett the freedom he seeks in Wilks’ four-man front.
Garrett was forced to deal with double and triple teams on most downs while teaming up with Emmanuel Ogbah, who managed only three sacks a year ago. But the Browns added Olivier Vernon to replace him. Vernon had seven sacks in 11 games last season and finished as the 13th ranked edge defender by Pro Football Focus.
With an elite combo of size, length, power, and athleticism, Garrett will no longer have to be concerned about opposing defenses focusing on him too much. The improved defensive line has massive upside, and his new defensive freedom lead to Garrett winning Defensive Player of the Year in 2019.
-Dennis Sosic, PFN AFC North Writer