During the offseason, you will see lists galore about who will do what, where and when next year. None will be objectively true, except of course this one, where we at Undrafted predict who will be the recipients of the NFL Honours 2022. Now I it is impossible to predict who will win what, but I am going to do it anyway, because I enjoy being wrong!
Every season we see the favourites, the underdogs and then the players who come out of nowhere into contention. On the flip side of that, we watch the favourites fall away and we watch players appear on these lists for one week before falling back into obscurity. How then can I possibly guess to predict these awards without a single minute of even preseason football played. Read on and find out.
We will dive into some, but not all of the awards, just what can be considered the major ones. Those are Most Valuable Player, Coach of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Rookie of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year.
Most Valuable Player
2021 Winner – Aaron Rodgers
NFL Honours 2022 Prediction – Matthew Stafford
The Los Angeles Rams are in win now mode, that is very clear. They have a dominant albeit aging Defense and a set of playmakers on Offense just missing one thing, A Quarterback. Rumours were abound that Matthew Stafford would hit the trade market, but before he could, the Rams had made a deal. Not wanting to wait to find out his value, the Rams paid big for the former number 1 pick.
Without question, I am all aboard this bandwagon. Matthew Stafford has played at an elite level since entering the league in 2009, and at 33 years old, there is no reason that will not continue. He has been locked away in the frozen wasteland that is Ford Field, wasting his career. Stafford has now been given his chance and a new lease of life, in his new home of SoFi Stadium.
We all know he has all the ability in the world and with a Defense to back it up, expect short fields and big scores all season home and away for L.A. Matthew Stafford will likely be a Hall of Famer when he hangs up his pads, but this year he will cement that legacy, with an MVP Award, Division and Conference Titles and a beautiful Superbowl Ring.
Coach of the Year
2021 Winner – Kevin Stefanski
NFL Honours 2022 Prediction – Sean McDermott
In any other year, you may have seen his name in lights, but the year that Kevin Stefanski and the Browns had just eclipsed everything we thought would happen. McDermott and his Bills had a quiet, season winning the AFC East in pretty dominant fashion and getting one step further in the postseason than Stefanski and Cleveland. Buffalo are favourites for the AFC East and in circles the AFC in general.
Building on last year, McDermott will have his work cut out holding the Dolphins, Patriots and Jets at bay, however he is likely to have at least one more season atop the division. Josh Allen has turned himself into a very exciting player, and with Diggs as his primary target, the skies the limit on how many points they can score. For perspective on just had good this team could be under McDermott, on the final day of the season, this team put 56 points on the 5th best Defense in the league, Sean McDermott and the Buffalo Bills are legit!
Offensive Player of the Year
2021 Winner – Derrick Henry
NFL Honours 2022 Prediction – Alvin Kamara
This one may seem a bit out there but bear with me, because I am absolutely right here. last year Alvin Kamara did not top any lists for rushing or receiving, but what he did do was find the Endzone a massive 21 times. That is only 3 less than his Quarterback Drew Brees threw for all season. Alongside those 21 scores, he also went over 1600 yards total for the season.
When a Running Back goes over 2000 yards in a season, you cannot ignore it, and since only 8 people, including Derrick Henry, have done it, the honour awards itself. Next season the Saints have holes all over their team, but Kamara is still one of the most versatile players in the league. I expect him to go for a minimum of 2000 all purpose yards and 20+ Touchdowns on his way to Offensive Player of the Year.
Defensive Player of the Year
2021 Winner – Aaron Donald
NFL Honours 2022 Prediction – Xavien Howard
I want to preface this selection by saying, not only do I love Aaron Donald, but I also believe he is one of the best defenders to every play in the NFL and will be a first ballot Hall of Fame selection. With that being said, last year he did not deserve to win the Defensive Player of the Year award. He was third at best. The Award should have been contested by T.J Watt and Xavien Howard.
Watt led the league in sacks and in comparable statistics beat Donald in all but Forced Fumbles. Xavien Howard however was a lockdown Corner, collecting a league leading 10 Interceptions. He also defended 20 passes, meaning his hands were directly involved in stopping 30 passes. In the 90 targets he received he only allowed 47 passes, and went 3 games without a pass allowed. Those statistics are Defensive Player of the Year worthy and while Watt’s Steelers got worse, the Dolphins got better. Expect Howard to play angry all year and be even better.
Rookie of the Year
2021 Winner – Justin Herbert
NFL Honours 2022 Prediction – Justin Fields
Okay Adam, you are officially in my head and I do not like it! We all know that voters put name value and Quarterbacks at a premium in recent years when it comes to these awards. That being said, this year feels like the first time that the Quarterbacks should be favourites. Jacksonville are in full rebuild around their star, however they look like a team who could win 10 games or 2 games and no one would be shocked. If Lawrence fires on all cylinders it is his award to lose.
What reason then can I have for picking Fields after talking about his wonders of Trevor Lawrence? Fields has a chip on his shoulder. He is arguably the second most talented player in the Quarterback class this year and yet he went 11th overall and 4th out of his fellow players. Fields since the College Playoffs has not looked ready to settle for anything and he will strive to prove everyone wrong. Every year a player talking about teams regretting not picking him, Fields means it.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
2021 Winner – Justin Herbert
NFL Honours 2022 Prediction – Justin Fields
This one is a short entry because I have said everything that needs to be said about it. Fields is itching to get on the field and he will believe he has a huge amount to prove to his peers and the coaches who passed on him. Expect him to light it up from day one and take the Bears to a division title in the process.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
2021 Winner – Chase Young
NFL Honours 2022 Prediction – Odafe Oweh
The question is not how good is Oweh, it is just how good can he be? A pure disruptor of the opposing Quarterback, Oweh was the best player on a really good Penn State team, that yes included Micah Parsons. How can I possibly make such a bold claim? Just watch his tape and tell me he is not incredibly exciting to watch. He was routinely double and triple teamed this past year meaning his statistics are pedestrian, make no mistake though he is the real deal.
Oweh or Phillips were my picks here, however I believe the Ravens will likely give their pass rusher more freedom, and also more time on the field from the get go. Chase Young was pure dominance last year, from the moment he arrived, while Oweh is definitely not the same player, watch him hit double digit sacks in his Rookie campaign, making up for getting none in his final year of college.
Comeback Player of the Year
2021 Winner – Alex Smith
NFL Honours 2022 Prediction – Christian McCaffrey
The moment he was cleared to play Football, Alex Smith already had his name written on the Comeback Player of the Year award and rightly so. The man suffered an injury so horrifically bad, doctors thought he may die from how bad it was. He survived, he was then told he would never walk again. He walked, he was then told he would never play football again, well you get my drift. Through perseverance not only did he return, he took the Washington Football Team to an unlikely playoff berth.
McCaffrey’s story is not the same, however his return is arguably more highly anticipated from both a Football and Fantasy Football point of view. The league without McCaffrey dancing in the backfield is poorer, and with the new look Panthers team, expect him to be grabbing headlines left, right and centre. He can easily go over 1000 yards both rushing and receiving, having done it before. I expect him to compete until the end of the season for all the awards, but should pick this up as a minimum.
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