Sports Illustrated columnist Conor Orr analyzes the quotes from William Hill and shares his thoughts on the top contenders for the individual regular season awards.
Defense Rookie of the Year
Applicants: Chase Young, Isaiah Simmons, Patrick Quinn, A.J. Epenesa and Kenneth Murray
What I like most about this award is that there is no such strong hegemony of representatives of the same role. Over the past ten years, it has been owned by a de-end, an internal linebacker, a cornerback, a de-end, a cornerback, a defensive tackle, a de-tackle, an internal linebacker, a de-end, a de-tackle and an internal linebacker.
Aaron Donald in 2014 and Marshon Lattimore in 2017 as the best is evidence that voters are becoming more receptive to expanded statistics. This slightly increases the chances of Isaiah Simmons and Patrick Quinn, who are excellent cover. Being on the list of Chase Young's favorites is predictable. Washington's line of defense is manned by a sufficient number of players who know how to put pressure on the envelope. It resembles the composition of San Francisco 49ers before the appearance of Nick Bosa: now, in addition to Young, there is Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat. It is easier to prove yourself in such an environment.
Dark horses.Two names come to mind. The first is K'Lavon Chaisson, who will play for Jaguars. Why? You can have different attitudes towards the work of the general manager of the team, Dave Caldwell, but with a flair for pass rushers, he is doing well. Chaisson should fit in well with Josh Allen and veteran Timmy Jernigan. Usually, applicants for this award will gain additional points from the team's results, but here the beginner will have the opportunity to make an impressive number of sacks. A likely deal on Yannick Ngakue plays into his hands. The second player is Ashtyn Davis, a California graduate selected by the Jets in the third round. As a rule, the winner of the award is the player of the first or second round. But the Jets were sent to Seattle by Jamal Adams and Davis will have the opportunity to prove himself in Greg Williams' schemes.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Applicants. Joe Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Tua Tangovailoa and Jonathan Taylor
Burrow is the only quarterback to appear unconditional. Justin Herbert is likely to sit on the bench for most of the season, and it is likely that Tua will be in the same situation. Definitely worth a look at Hileir. His talent is obvious and Andy Reid even gave up his habit of looking for runners in the later rounds. This can mean two things: either the Chiefs' roster is almost fully staffed for his vision of the game, or Helaire is so talented and potentially fits into the offensive schemes that he had to be taken here and now.
Dark horses. Of all the receivers selected in the first round, only Jalen Reagor of the Eagles and Brandon Aiyuk of San Francisco 49ers were in teams where the attack patterns are fine-tuned and work, and the quarterbacks can immediately turn the rookie into a star. If you dig deeper, you can look for a running back who can quickly take leading roles and collect good statistics. These include J.K. Dobbins from Ravens, Ke'Shawn Vaughn from Buccaneers, Cam Akers from Rams and Zach Moss from Buffalo Bills. They all deserve attention.
Defensive Player of the Year
Applicants. Aaron Donald, JJ Watt, Nick Bosa, Kahlil Mack, Joey Bosa
In terms of rates, an interesting option would be: the Bosa family versus everyone else. The rest of the favorites of the bookmakers do not look so convincing candidates. Kahlil Mack, after leaving Chicago Bears, Vic Fangio plays without the previous brilliance, talent and what Aaron Donald does on the field gradually cease to amaze and impress the voters. Watt looks more like a comeback contender of the year if rookie Ross Blacklock doesn't shine in the Texans.
Dark horses. Intriguing is the appearance of Jamal Adams in Seattle. With the arrival of Quinton Dunbar and the advancement of Shaquill Griffin, the Seahawks defense is arguably the best since the beginning of the collapse of the Boom Legion. Also note Lavonte David. The Buccaneers 'games will probably be watched by the largest audiences since the early 2000s, and Todd Bowles' defensive genius might be brighter. Last year David played very well in his schemes. He has faced more passing rallies than any other linebacker in the league. In addition, Lavonte is good against the carryover.
Most Valuable Player of the Season (MVP)
Applicants. Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson and Dak Prescott
Here bookmakers are boring and predictable. The last winner of this award who did not play as a quarterback was Adrian Peterson in 2012. Prior to him, in 2005 and 2006, the prize was received by Sean Alexander and LaDeinian Tomlinson. It is highly unlikely that any other player will be able to break the hegemony of the quarterbacks.
Dark horses. Among those whom the bookmakers pushed into the background, two names also immediately pop up. Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers, who has an excellent offensive line and more or less well-established interaction with Matt LaFleur. He may already be on the top of his excellent career, but Rodgers is still hard to resist. And a less obvious assumption: what about Nick Foles? What if he wins a place in the squad and then takes Bears to the playoffs? The roster of Chicago is well staffed, Foles understands Matt Nagy's ideas well enough. If the Bears successfully complete the regular season distance in their difficult division and return to the playoffs, then it will be difficult to ignore Foles.
Comeback of the year
Applicants. Ben Roethlisberger, Rob Gronkowski, Cam Newton, Alex Smith and JJ Watt
If Alex Smith makes even one game in the starting lineup and throws an accurate pass, then the reward should be given to him without any questions. The fact that we can even see him on the field testifies to his incredible fortitude. Of course, others are named among the contenders, but few can compete with the quarterback of Washington.
A dark horse. If I’m looking for other candidates, I’ll name Derwin James. He missed three quarters of last season, and when he returned, the Chargers were already far from the fight for the playoffs. The team now has, on paper at least, one of the best defenses in the league. James must return and become one of its key performers.