Tom Brady (+700 odds to win NFL MVP)– The New England Patriots are going to be in the playoffs again. They are going to put up double digit wins. They are going to do this on the back of Tom Terrific. By the way, it’s going to help that he won’t have a ton of turnovers.
Aaron Rodgers (+350)– If the Green Bay Packers are going to do ANYTHING this year it’s going to be entirely because of the play of Aaron Rodgers. He’s statistically always in the mix, so barring another injury, or a HUGE regression in his skills he’ll be in the discussion again.
Todd Gurley (+3000)– The Los Angeles Rams are set up to have a monster season and the entire offense will operate because of Gurley. What I really don’t like about this pick is the large new contract. Typically players with this much new money don’t play as hard as the guy trying to get that same money. With all that said you can’t have this discussion without the Rams RB.
Ezekiel Elliott (+4000)– As big as Gurley is to the Rams, Elliott is a bigger deal to the Dallas Cowboys. Whether or not Zeke is in the discussion really has to do with how well the Cowboys do during the season, but even if they finish 9 – 7 again a near 2,000 yard year will have people talking.
Drew Brees (+1200)– The New Orleans Saints were not far away from being in the NFC Championship game last year, but they needed some help from their defense. This year I can only imagine the sort of stuff Sean Payton will dial up for his seasoned play caller. Another 5,000 yard season might be enough for Brees.
Offensive Player of the Year
Ezekiel Elliott – It’s not just the fact that the Cowboys are going to be giving the ball to Zek more than ever before, but it’s also how he’ll be used as a receiver this year. The offensive like looks better than it has in a long time, even with the banged up knee of Zach Martin. If you averaged out his stats from 10 games last year he’d have walked away with a second straight rushing title.
Julio Jones – There has been a lot of talk about how Jones wants out of Atlanta. How he wants a new contract. How he thinks he deserves it. There are few greater motivators than wanting to prove something to someone. The schedule is more favorable this season than it was last year. I don’t see any reason why Jones can’t steal the show in Atlanta, and maybe across the league.
Tyreek Hill – If you’ve watched the preseason than you’ve seen the highlight of Patrick Mahomes throwing the ball 70 yards in the air to Tyreek Hill. I’m expecting the Kansas City Chiefs QB to struggle at times this year, but I could see Hill racking up HUGE numbers as a result of bombs from Mahomes.
Le’Veon Bell – Assuming there are any issues with the Pittsburgh QB situation the offense will flow nearly exclusively through Le’Veon. This could equate to huge yardage and touchdown totals, assuming that whoever is throwing the ball can keep defenses honest with some passes to Antonio Brown and others.
Todd Gurley – My only real reservation about this selection is that the Rams could be up a lot at the end of games. I could see the team running the ball, but it not being with Gurley. With that said he still figures to be the feature piece for the Rams and their playoff run.
Defensive Player of the Year
Jadeveon Clowney (+5000 odds to win Defensive Player of the Year)– The reason I like Clowney is because Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt are back. Watson figures to help improve the offense, and teams trying to catch up are going to be forced to pass more. J.J. Watt means that Clowney won’t get double teamed as much, and that will mean he can win in the trenches.
Chandler Jones (+4000)– He’s looking to duplicate and impressive 2017 campaign when he put up 17 sacks to lead the league. I like his ability off the edge, but he also has the ability to play in space well. I’m expecting another big year for the Arizona Cardinals standout.
Joey Bosa (+700)– Bosa has being showing out and showing off in the last two years, and this might be the year he puts it all together. If he gets a good effort from his offense teams will be forced to pass later in games and that would improve his outlook greatly.
Von Miller (+1600)– Miller should always be in this discussion, and the addition of Bradley Chubb should mean that Miller gets more single looks, allowing him to exploit those matchups more often. Miller also plays well in space and should get his fair share of tackles.
Jalen Ramsey (+1600)– He’s been very vocal this off-season in calling out QB’s around the league. Now he’s going to be targeted by teams looking to show him up. I believe he’ll be up for this challenge, and show just why he has been so cocky all this time.
Rookie of the Year
Saquon Barkley (+225 odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year)– This is the easy pick. He’s going to the team with the most pieces already there. The offensive line is still suspect, but Saquon has the wiggle to get out of problems in the backfield. The passing game is good enough to force teams out of stacking the box.
Rashaad Penny (+4000)– Much like with Barkley; Penny is coming into an ideal situation. The team wants to run the ball a lot, control the game, and beat people up. He is going to get a TON of work with a solid QB who will keep defenses honest.
Josh Rosen (+2000)– Rosen gets to go to a team that has a solid run game, a Hall-of-Fame receiver, and a defense that should provide him with ample opportunities to work. Where I get worried here is that the Rams, San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks aren’t slouches on either side of the ball. Still, as a QB he has the most things to work with.
Sam Darnold (+300)– While not being provided a ton of pieces to work with, the shiny lights of New York might do a lot for the profile of the young signal caller. Even a good season might be enough to push someone is this market to the top.
Bradley Chubb (+300 odds to win Defensive Rookie of the Year)– Chubb has the benefit of being the best defensive prospect in the draft and going to a team that has good pieces around team. As teams focus on Von Miller, Chubb could see more opportunities to steal sacks and attention for the award.