2020 NFL season award predictions: Russell Wilson edges Patrick Mahomes for MVP at midpoint

With the 2020 NFL season at its midpoint, our analysts revisit/revise their preseason predictions for the major individual awards:

  • MVP
  • Offensive Player of the Year
  • Defensive Player of the Year
  • Offensive Rookie of the Year
  • Defensive Rookie of the Year
  • Comeback Player of the Year
  • Coach of the Year

Participating analysts: Brian Baldinger, Judy Battista, Jeremy Bergman, Ali Bhanpuri, Tom Blair, Gil Brandt, David Carr, Charley Casserly, Brooke Cersosimo, Jeffri Chadiha, Gennaro Filice, Chase Goodbread, Marcas Grant, DeAngelo Hall, Maurice Jones-Drew, Rhett Lewis, Steve Mariucci, Dan Parr, Kevin Patra, Scott Pioli, Adam Rank, Gregg Rosenthal, Marc Ross, Marc Sessler, Nick Shook, Joe Thomas, Jim Trotter, Lance Zierlein.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

(14 votes: Bhanpuri, Blair, Brandt, Casserly, Chadiha, Filice, Hall, Jones-Drew, Mariucci, Pioli, Rank, Ross, Shook, Thomas)

2. Patrick Mahomes (13 votes: Baldinger, Battista, Bergman, Cersosimo, Goodbread, Grant, Lewis, Parr, Patra, Rosenthal, Sessler, Trotter, Zierlein)

3. Derek Carr (1 vote: Carr)

Why Steve Mariucci chose Russell Wilson: In Year 9, Wilson’s finally getting the credit he deserves. He’s never received a single MVP vote, but that drought will end in a few months, given the sparkling campaign he’s putting together. I sat down with Russ ahead of last week’s contest in Buffalo (I know that particular game wasn’t pretty) and his investment in his craft is second to none. The reason Seattle’s sitting in the driver’s seat of a loaded NFC West? Wilson’s main goal is to win, period. If the MVP trophy comes with it, so be it. 

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

(11 votes: Baldinger, Blair, Carr, Chadiha, Filice, Grant, Jones-Drew, Mariucci, Parr, Shook, Trotter)

2. Dalvin Cook (7 votes: Battista, Bhanpuri, Cersosimo, Hall, Lewis, Patra, Zierlein)

3. Patrick Mahomes (3 votes: Bergman, Casserly, Goodbread)

T-4. Davante Adams (2 votes: Brandt, Ross)

T-4. Russell Wilson (2 votes: Pioli, Thomas)

T-6. DK Metcalf (1 vote: Rank)

T-6. Aaron Rodgers (1 vote: Sessler)

Why Jim Trotter chose Alvin Kamara: First, someone other than a QB deserves an offensive award if the MVP goes to a signal-caller. Second, Kamara pretty much carried the Saints’ offense after Michael Thomas went down and has a chance to break the league’s single-season record for receptions by a running back.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

(12 votes: Battista, Bergman, Bhanpuri, Blair, Brandt, Cersosimo, Chadiha, Grant, Lewis, Pioli, Shook, Thomas)

2. Aaron Donald (10 votes: Baldinger, Carr, Casserly, Goodbread, Hall, Jones-Drew, Parr, Rosenthal, Trotter, Zierlein)

3. T.J. Watt (6 votes: Filice, Mariucci, Patra, Rank, Ross, Sessler)

Why Nick Shook chose Myles Garrett: Garrett was in the thick of this conversation at midseason last year, but then he was suspended for the final six games. Now he’s back and better than ever, as 2020 has truly been the former No. 1 overall pick’s coming out party. Garrett is tied for the league lead in sacks, ranks second in total disruptions and boasts a mind-boggling seven turnovers caused by QB pressure this season. He’s good for a sack a game — minimum — a strip-sack just about every other game and is the most impactful defender on a per-play basis in the entire NFL.

OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

(13 votes: Bergman, Bhanpuri, Blair, Brandt, Chadiha, Filice, Grant, Jones-Drew, Rank, Rosenthal, Sessler, Trotter, Zierlein, Baldinger, Cersosimo)

2. Joe Burrow (10 votes: Casserly, Goodbread, Lewis, Mariucci, Parr, Patra, Pioli, Ross, Shook, Thomas)

3. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (3 votes: Battista, Carr, Hall)

T-4. Mekhi Becton (1 vote: Baldinger)

T-4. Tua Tagovailoa (1 vote: Cersosimo)

Why Gregg Rosenthal chose Justin Herbert: Herbert isn’t just playing well for a rookie — he’s been one of the 10 best quarterbacks in football since he entered the starting lineup. And even that ranking is conservative, unlike Herbert’s beautiful deep passes.

DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

(11 votes: Blair, Brandt, Carr, Cersosimo, Chadiha, Filice, Grant, Mariucci, Ross, Thomas, Zierlein)

2. Chase Young (8 votes: Baldinger, Battista, Bergman, Parr, Patra, Pioli, Sessler, Shook)

3. Patrick Queen (6 votes: Bhanpuri, Casserly, Goodbread, Hall, Lewis, Trotter)

4. Julian Blackmon (2 votes: Rank, Rosenthal)

5. Jeremy Chinn (1 vote: Jones-Drew)

Why Jeffri Chadiha chose Antoine Winfield Jr.: Winfield’s instincts and play-making skills have made him a critical component of one of the NFL’s best defenses (well, this past Sunday night’s effort aside). He started the season by being named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month and he’ll finish it as the league’s best first-year defender.

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

(13 votes: Blair, Brandt, Casserly, Chadiha, Filice, Goodbread, Hall, Jones-Drew, Mariucci, Patra, Ross, Shook, Zierlein, Grant, Thomas)

(13 votes: Baldinger, Battista, Bergman, Bhanpuri, Carr, Cersosimo, Lewis, Parr, Pioli, Rank, Rosenthal, Sessler, Trotter)

T-3. Myles Garrett (1 vote: Thomas)

T-3. Cam Newton (1 vote: Grant)

Why Judy Battista chose Alex Smith: Maybe the biggest no-brainer selection in the history of postseason awards. Smith’s return from a harrowing injury and subsequent infection that nearly cost him his leg would be worthy of the award even if it had ended with a spot on the bench. That Smith returned to the field to play makes him one of the most inspirational and toughest players the NFL has ever seen.

COACH OF THE YEAR

(11 votes: Baldinger, Bhanpuri, Brandt, Goodbread, Grant, Hall, Jones-Drew, Mariucci, Pioli, Rank, Trotter)

2. Brian Flores (7 votes: Battista, Bergman, Casserly, Parr, Patra, Ross, Sessler)

3. Sean McDermott (4 votes: Blair, Filice, Lewis, Zierlein)

4. Kliff Kingsbury (2 votes: Chadiha, Shook)

T-5. Pete Carroll (1 vote: Thomas)

T-5. Andy Reid (1 vote: Rosenthal)

T-5. Matt Rhule (1 vote: Carr)

T-5. Ron Rivera (1 vote: Rivera)

Why Adam Rank chose Mike Tomlin: There are some things about the Steelers that are hard to believe. Like it’s hard to believe the organization had never started a season at 8-0 before this year. And it’s hard to believe Mike Tomlin doesn’t get more recognition for never having a losing campaign. And while I contend that winning eight games last year without Ben Roethlisberger might have been more impressive, what we’re seeing right now makes him my Coach of the Year.

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