The NFL season is nearly upon us, so why not take a shot at a few early award predictions? We’ll most certainly be more wrong than right, but it’s always fun to look back on these in February. To check out some more of our NFL coverage, click here.
MVP – Josh Allen
Allen’s been in the MVP conversation multiple times, but he’s yet to put a full season of work in to match his award-winning peers. He has some terrific highs, but no one would argue that there are also times where Buffalo’s QB looks very average. To win an MVP, you must be at the top of your game every time you step on the field.
Last time this year, all the buzz was around the Buffalo Bills. Many people saw them as Super Bowl favorites, but they fizzled out in the Divisional Round at home against the Bengals. This season, there are more questions than ever, and it seems like people are forgetting just how good Buffalo can be. He may not be the best in the league, but if Allen can put up consistent numbers and wins before peaking in the second half of the season instead of the first, he’ll find himself right in the mix for MVP consideration. When he’s on his game, no one can bring to the table what he does in Buffalo.
OPOY – Christian McCaffrey
Christian McCaffrey was sensational last year in San Francisco after joining the team halfway through the season via trade. Now, he’s had a full summer to prepare for his first full campaign in Kyle Shanahan’s offence. Barring an injury, the sky is almost the limit with CMC in this offence, and he’s fully expected to be doing it all for the 49ers. When it comes to being a dual threat, there’s no one in the league more dangerous that McCaffrey, and when you throw Deebo Samuel in the mix as well, it’s easy to see why San Francisco’s offence is so good. Brock Purdy may still have some limitations, but the talent and scheme around him more than makes up for it. Expect a big year from CMC in the red and gold and for him to be on the shortlist of players up for this award all season.
DPOY – Micah Parsons
Micah Parsons has done it all for the Cowboys since Day 1, so don’t expect anything different this year. He’s heading into his third season with the team in 2023 after finishing second in DPOY voting each of the last two years. There really isn’t much more that Parsons can do for the Cowboys, but if anyone can find a way to go higher at this point in their career, it’s Micah. It’s eluded him so far in his career, but we say this is the year that Parsons is crowned the league’s best defensive player.
OROY – Bijan Robinson
People are saying that Robinson is the best dual threat running back prospect since Christian McCaffrey. Bijan is the total package for the Falcons, and he’ll have ample opportunity to show why he was the highest-drafted running back since Saquon Barkley in 2018. Honestly, it feels like picking anyone else to win this award is just trying to be different. Of course, there are some fantastic prospects starting at quarterback this year, but it’s doubtful that any one of them will have as positive an immediate impact as Robinson will have in Atlanta. Expect a lot of volume and a lot of yardage for the running back from Texas.
DROY – Devon Witherspoon
He may not be the favorite to win here, but Witherspoon has a great opportunity in Seattle this season. If he starts and stays healthy, he’ll be playing in a very talented secondary that will most likely help him look even better than he’s playing. Witherspoon will be playing across from Tariq Woolen, last year’s ROTY runner-up, as well as Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs. There’s a lot to learn from each of these players, and if Witherspoon can soak it all up, Seattle may have the best one-two punch at cornerback for a long time in this league. If not for the freakishly talented Sauce Gardner, this award would have been Woolen’s last season. Let’s see if Seattle’s fifth overall pick can take it home in 2023.
Comeback Player of the Year – Damar Hamlin
If Damar Hamlin comes back and plays even half a season after what happened last year, you can basically wrap this one up. It’s going to be incredible seeing him back on the field competing, and Hamlin will be fully deserving of this award. However, if we had to throw another name in there for sake of argument, we’d take a flyer on John Metchie III. Metchie missed his entire rookie season last year battling leukemia and rehabbing an ACL tear, but the Alabama product is reportedly feeling great heading into the 2023 campaign.
Metchie was taken with the 44th overall pick in the 2022 draft, but he may have been taken much higher had it not been for tearing his ACL in the last collegiate game of his career. Now, he’ll have the chance to gain the trust of C.J. Stroud and carve out a nice role in Houston’s offence. It may not happen right away, but as Metchie gets back to game speed, look for him to become a difference maker for the Texans.
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