Dallas Robinson’s NFL Awards 2023: Handing Out MVP, Coach of the Year, and Other Honors

With the 2023 NFL season in the books, it's time to give out awards. Here are our picks for MVP, OROY/DROY, Coach of the Year, and much more.

The 2023 NFL regular season has officially ended, so it’s a perfect time to hand out league awards. Who will win MVP, Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year? Here are my picks for the 2023 NFL honors.

2023 NFL Awards From Pro Football Network

Most Valuable Player | Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens

With all due respect to other positions in the NFL, the league has collectively decided that the Most Valuable Player award should be given to a quarterback. While some skill position players and defenders have put up performances that will be highlighted via other awards, they’re not realistic candidates for MVP.

Narrowing down the field to signal-caller didn’t help push an obvious winner to the front of the MVP race until the end of the season, when Lamar Jackson guided the Baltimore Ravens to a victory against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 16 before throwing five touchdowns in a dominant, No. 1 seed-clinching win over the Miami Dolphins in Week 17.

Four years after winning his first MVP award, Lamar is on pace for his second trophy after completing 67.2% of his pass attempts for 3,678 yards, 24 touchdowns, and seven interceptions in 16 starts.

Jackson ranked third in adjusted net yards per attempt (7.34), tied for third in interception rate (1.5%), and finished fifth in EPA + CPOE composite (0.119).

And we haven’t mentioned Jackson’s contributions on the ground, where he led all quarterbacks in rushing yards (821).

Among QBs, only Jalen Hurts and Josh Allen had more rushing first downs, while Hurts was the sole quarterback with a higher rushing success rate.

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While Jackson’s numbers don’t match those of his 2019 MVP campaign, 2023 was a down year for statistical quarterback production around the league.

The San Francisco 49ers’ Brock Purdy was also in the MVP mix, but he’s hurt by a head-to-head loss against Jackson and the idea that Kyle Shanahan’s scheming and San Francisco’s supporting cast play a significant role in Purdy’s production.

Honorable mention: Purdy; Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys; Allen

Offensive Player of the Year | Tyreek Hill, WR, Miami Dolphins

Tyreek Hill looked like the favorite for Offensive Player of the Year at the midway point of the 2022 campaign, but the Minnesota Vikings’ Justin Jefferson swooped in to steal the award over the second half of last year.

This year, Hill is facing stiff competition for 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey, but the Miami Dolphins wideout is our pick for OPOY. He led the league with 1,799 receiving yards and was second in receptions (119). While Hill couldn’t eclipse the 2,000-yard mark, he ranked first in the NFL with 3.85 yards per route run, shattering the modern record.

Hill was so productive that he was part of the MVP conversation early in the season. He’s the focal point of one of the league’s best offenses, trailing only Davante Adams and Drake London in target share (28.3%).

Although the Dolphins scored 30 points against the New York Jets in the only game Hill missed in 2023, Miami was routinely gifted excellent field position thanks to Gang Green’s mistake. The club’s offense didn’t feel nearly as explosive or dangerous without Hill on the field.

CMC is our OPOY runner-up after he finished with 300+ more rushing yards than any other running back. McCaffrey led the league with 2,023 scrimmage yards in 16 games and tied the Dolphins’ Raheem Mostert for the NFL lead with 21 total touchdowns.

Honorable mention: McCaffrey

Defensive Player of the Year | Micah Parsons, EDGE, Dallas Cowboys

The Cleveland Browns’ Myles Garett might’ve been the choice here had a late-November shoulder not dented his production.

But there’s no denying the work Micah Parsons put in during his third season as a Dallas Cowboys pass rusher.

While Parsons’ 14 sacks are just eighth in the NFL, pressures are more indicative of performance than pure sacks — and Parsons leads the league with 102 total pressures, per PFF. He somehow finished first in ESPN’s pass-rush win rate (37%) despite being double-teamed at a higher rate (34%) than any other edge defender. That shouldn’t be possible.

With a dominant regular season under his belt, Parsons will attempt to showcase his talent during the playoffs and set up contract extension talks that should end with the Cowboys’ pass rusher becoming the NFL’s highest-paid defender.

Honorable mention: Garrett

Offensive Rookie of the Year | Puka Nacua, WR, Los Angeles Rams

Houston Texans QB C.J. Stroud looked like the runaway OROY winner before suffering a concussion in early December that cost him two games. He’s thrown just one touchdown in his lone matchup since returning.

We’d have no qualms about giving the hardware to Stroud. Quarterbacks are the most important players on the field. Stroud already looks like a 10-year veteran and wrapped up his rookie campaign with 23 touchdown passes and a league-low 1% interception rate.

But we simply can’t ignore the historic campaign put up by Los Angeles Rams WR Puka Nacua in 2023.

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Nacua’s receiving totals aren’t in the same dimension as any other rookie wideout. He has 500+ more yards and 20+ more receptions than Kansas City Chiefs WR Rashee Rice, the next-best in both categories.

The BYU product’s statistics can only be compared to those of other dominant NFL receivers. Nacua is top-10 league-wide in targets (160), receptions (105), receiving yards (1,481), and yards per route run (2.59), all of which are new NFL rookie records.

Honorable mention: Stroud

Defensive Rookie of the Year | Jalen Carter, DT, Philadelphia Eagles

While the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense was one of the more disappointing units in the league in 2023, the club’s overall performance didn’t stop rookie defensive tackle Jalen Carter from posting an outstanding season.

Carter posted six sacks, second among first-year interior defenders, trailing only the Rams’ Kobie Turner. However, Turner also rushed the passer 70 more times than Carter.

The Eagles rookie ranked sixth among defensive tackles with a 16% pass-rush win rate.

Four players in front of Carter — Aaron Donald, DeForest Buckner, Dexter Lawrence, and Chris Jones —  have All-Pro seasons on their résumés.

Honorable mention: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Houston Texans; Devon Witherspoon, CB, Seattle Seahawks; Brian Branch, DB, Detroit Lions; Turner; Joey Porter Jr., CB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Comeback Player of the Year | Damar Hamlin, S, Buffalo Bills

Damar Hamlin has only played 111 snaps this season (94 on special teams, 17 on defense), but a lone snap would have been enough to give the Bills safety the NFL’s 2023 Comeback Player of the Year award.

Hamlin, of course, suffered cardiac arrest during Week 17 of the 2022 campaign and required Buffalo’s training and medical staff to save his life on the field.

Miraculously, the 25-year-old has fully recovered and has returned to the field.

While he’s only been active for five games this season, Hamlin has been an inspiration and more than deserves this award.

Honorable mention: Joe Flacco, QB, Cleveland Browns; Baker Mayfield, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Coach of the Year | Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns

The NFL was full of outstanding coaching performances in 2023, but no head coach dealt with more adversity at the sport’s most critical position than the Cleveland Browns’ Kevin Stefanski.

Stefanski thought he’d have a complete season to work with Deshaun Watson, but the veteran quarterback missed time with multiple injuries before being shut down for good after Week 10. The former Vikings OC handled the murky Watson situation with aplomb and won games with Dorian Thompson-Robinson and PJ Walker under center before finding an answer in veteran Joe Flacco.

MORE: NFL Head Coach Rankings 2023

Stefanski had to deal with more than just QB issues. RB Nick Chubb went down with a devastating knee injury in Week 2. Amari Cooper has been banged up. And the Browns have played most of the year with second and third-stringers at offensive tackle.

Fighting through it all, Stefanksi charted a path for Cleveland to finish with 12 wins, the Browns’ most victories since 1986.

Honorable mention: Dan Campbell, Detroit Lions; Shane Steichen, Indianapolis Colts; Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams; DeMeco Ryans, Houston Texans

Coordinator of the Year | Mike Macdonald, DC, Baltimore Ravens

Mike Macdonald’s Baltimore Ravens defense ranks first in points allowed and DVOA, but the unit is second to the Cleveland Browns’ defense in yards and EPA per play allowed. So why are we giving McDonald the Coordinator of the Year Award over Cleveland DC Jim Schwartz?

Look at the talent disparity between the Ravens’ and Browns’ defense. Cleveland has one of the NFL’s best players in Myles Garrett, plus complementary pass rushers in Za’Darius Smith and Ogbo Okoronkowo. They’ve got DT Dalvin Tomlinson in the middle of their line and Denzel Ward, Martin Emerson, Greg Newsome, Grant Delpit (for most of the season), and Juan Thornhill in the back end.

Meanwhile, Baltimore leads the NFL in sacks (60) with Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy as their primary edge rushers. That would have been an unbelievable sentence at the start of the 2023 campaign.

Macdonald has helped LB Roquan Smith take his game to the next level. He’s assisted defensive back Geno Stone, who’s gone from a backup to an All-Pro candidate while posting seven interceptions. And Macdonald has had to work around injuries to valuable contributors like CB Marlon Humphery, S Marcus Williams, and pass rushers Odafe Oweh, David Ojabo, and Tyus Bowser.

Honorable mention: Schwartz; Ben Johnson, OC, Detroit Lions; Steve Spagnuolo, DC, Kansas City Chiefs; Todd Monken, OC, Baltimore Ravens; Dave Canales, OC, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Executive of the Year | Eric DeCosta, Baltimore Ravens

What more could Eric DeCosta have done to bolster Baltimore’s roster heading into 2023?

The Ravens’ GM played the Lamar Jackson contract saga perfectly, using the franchise tag to return the franchise icon before agreeing to a long-term extension with the eventual MVP. Remember, any other team in the league could have at least offered Jackson a contract this offseason — none did.

DeCosta also gave Jackson the best pass catchers of his career, using Baltimore’s first-round pick on rookie standout Zay Flowers while signing veterans Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor to one-year deals.

On defense, Clowney (one year, $2.5 million) has been one of the NFL’s most productive pass rushers on a snap-for-snap basis. Stone re-signed for less than $2 million and posted seven interceptions. Experienced players like Van Noy, Rock Ya-Sin, Ronald Darby, and Arthur Maulet all found roles on cost-effective pacts.

Honorable mention: Les Snead, Los Angeles Rams; Brian Gutekunst, Green Bay Packers

Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more! 

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