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NFL awards roundtable: Who The Falcoholic staff would pick

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Who deserves these major awards, from a Falcons-centric point of view to league-ranging picks.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Dave Choate

MVP: Matt Ryan

Offensive Player of the Year: David Johnson

Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Ezekiel Elliott

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Joey Bosa

Comeback Player: Cameron Wake

All pretty self-explanatory. I think Aaron Rodgers has a very strong case for MVP, so it’s not as cut-and-dry for Ryan as many make it out to be, but ultimately he’s a richly deserving candidate and was the best quarterback in the NFL this year, in my humble opinion. He set numerous franchise and NFL records, threw the best deep ball in the NFL, and was arguably even more productive when he wasn’t targeting Julio Jones, the best receiver in the NFL.

David Johnson is a truly great player who virtually carried his team. Aaron Donald is the NFL’s best defensive tackle, and a dominant player regardless of how lousy the team around him is. Ezekiel Elliott is one of the best rookie backs we’ve seen in years, offensive line be damned. Bosa edges out Deion Jones and Keanu Neal because of his truly impressive year as a pass rusher, though I’d obviously rather give that award to a Falcon. And finally, I’m giving the Comeback Player to Wake, who missed nine games a year ago, came back, and was easily his team’s best and most valuable pass rusher as a 34-year-old. Jordy Nelson obviously has a strong case with the year he had, but I also think the number of touchdowns he reeled in is putting stars in folks’ eyes.

DW

MVP: Matt Ryan - I’m not going to rehash the case I’ve already made for him, but needless to say, Ryan is the clear front-runner and it’s really not all that close.

Offensive Player of the Year: David Johnson - has their been a more complete back in the NFL than David Johnson this year? He put up over 1200 rushing yards and just under 900 receiving yards while also tallying a total of 20 TDs. That’s ridiculous and the Cardinals offense would be a walking disaster without him.

Defensive Player of the Year: Von Miller - sorry Falcons fans. I know you want this to be Vic Beasley, who has been excellent this year, but Von is still the most dominant pass rusher in the league. Miller may not have as many sacks, but he consistently wrecks offensive plays. He shows up every single week, no matter who he is matched-up against.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Ezekiel Elliott - while you can easily make a case for the remarkable Dak Prescott, Elliott was a terror on the field for the entire season. He had 15 TDs and over 1600 yards - and that’s even with taking the last game off before the playoffs. He runs behind a fantastic offensive line, but that shouldn’t take away from just how good he’s been this year.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Joey Bosa - I feel like Falcons fans will hate me after some of these picks, but Bosa was consistently dominant for the Chargers this year. Keanu Neal and Deion Jones are both worthy candidates, which is exciting for fans of the team, but Bosa was a wrecking ball (as we all saw first hand this year). That said, it wouldn’t surprise me if Jones snags some votes as well.

Comeback Player: Cam Newton - hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Caleb Rutherford

MVP: Matt Ryan - He was simply the best and most consistent quarterback for all 16 weeks. There may have been a couple less-than-outstanding games, but he never went into a tailspin and certainly could’ve had more TDs if they had elected to throw more in the red zone. He faced many tough defenses and overcame nearly all of them in some form or fashion. Just can’t say enough about him.

Offensive Player of the Year: Tom Brady - While I don’t think Brady is the MVP, he was probably the best individual player in the league on offense. His 12 games were remarkable.

Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald - Don’t let the Rams’ terribleness fool you, Donald was a destroyer of all men this season. He was PFF’s #1 graded DT by 5 points. He had 8 sacks on a line where it was basically “Block Donald or die” AND he did it all from the defensive interior.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Ezekiel Elliot - While I think Elliot’s production has a little to do with the ridiculousness of his offensive line, you certainly can’t call winning the rushing title any kind of fluke. He’s a talented do-it-all running back who’ll be a headache for defenses for years to come.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Joey Bosa - As much as I approve of what Keanu Neal and Deion Jones did, Bosa came into the league with a clear hatred for opposing linemen. He ended the year with 10.5 sacks - which is phenomenal for a rookie - and generated pressure on levels nearly unseen for a rookie. I thought his holdout with the Chargers was selfish and ridiculous, but clearly he knew something about himself that I didn’t.

Comeback Player: Cameron Wake - I thought this was a toss up between him and Jordy Nelson, but I went with Wake because 1) he’s older than Nelson and 2) Aaron Rodgers isn’t throwing him the ball. In a year where the NFL leader had “only” 15.5 sacks, Wake’s 11.5 sacks stand tall as a strong statement of merit. You certainly can’t argue against choosing Nelson for this, though, as he lead the league in receiving TDs just a year after blowing out his knee.

Kendall Jackson

MVP: Matt Ryan: And it’s not even close.

Offensive Player of the Year: David Johnson - Johnson became the first player rack up 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006. He was a monster and one of the few bright spots on a disappointing Cardinals team.

Defensive Player of the Year: Landon Collins - The second-year player was all over the field for the Giants, racking up 125 tackles, four sacks, five interception and a touchdown. Crazy numbers for a safety. Watch out for him if Atlanta faces New York in the divisional round.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Ezekiel Elliot - Not much competition here. Elliot was a huge part in the Cowboys’ success this season, rushing for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns. He had an outside shot to break Eric Dickerson’s rookie record, but Dallas rested its important starters in a meaningless season finale.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Joey Bosa - Bosa has been everything the Chargers envisioned, despite a holdout that lasted for quite a while. He only appeared in 12 games, but he was an absolute terror.

Comeback Player of the Year: Jordy Nelson - This award is locked up for Nelson. After missing the 2015 season with an ACL injury, he finished the year with 97 receptions for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Allen Strk

MVP: Matt Ryan- Consistently playing at a high level is obviously important. Unlike the other candidates, Ryan hasn’t floundered at any point this season. Even in disappointing losses to San Diego and Kansas City, the franchise quarterback kept them competitive. To lead an offense averaging nearly 34 points a game against the most difficult schedule in the league is incredible. I’m not going to be outraged if Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady wins it. Ryan is my pick for having the most consistent season.

Offensive Player of the Year: David Johnson- Quarterbacks always steal the headlines. This award should reward the most productive skill player. Johnson gets the slight edge over Le’Veon Bell based on his value. With Carson Palmer on a steep decline, he carried the Cardinals offense. Johnson was still productive without stud offensive linemen Jared Veldheer and Evan Mathis.

Defensive Player of the Year: Khalil Mack- On a disappointing unit, Mack has been one of the lone standouts. He generated pressure on a consistent basis to carry them. Mack single handedly prevented Carolina from scoring on a game winning drive. His sack on Cam Newton was a memorable moment this season. It secured Oakland their first winning season in over a decade. Mack edges out Von Miller for what appears to be a very competitive race.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Ezekiel Elliott- This doesn’t need much explanation. One of the best running backs in the league. His agility and patience sets him apart from most running backs. Nobody can dispute Elliott’s greatness.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Joey Bosa- Another easy pick. Bosa has been outstanding this season. He is one of the main reasons why San Diego managed to stay competitive until December. Offensive tackles couldn’t handle his bull rush and relentless motor. San Diego has a player to build their defense around.

Comeback Player of the Year: Jordy Nelson- He isn’t the same player, but Nelson is still efficient. To score 14 touchdowns is remarkable following his season-ending Achilles injury. Green Bay’s rollercoaster season didn’t ruin his production.

Kyle McClendon

MVP: Matt Ryan- I’m not sure that he will win it, simply because he’s playing for Atlanta and isn’t a flashy name but if anyone looks at the numbers across the whole span of the season, Ryan wins it outright. He was incredibly efficient, consistent, and showed flashes of that “IT” factor everyone loves to talk about. He is the MVP and I don’t really think it’s too close--just not sure that the “mainstream media” will agree.

Offensive Player of the Year: David Johnson- If the Cardinals were in the playoffs and played well this season, I think Johnson would be the best competition at MVP for Matt Ryan. Johnson was incredible this season at just about anything you could as a running back to do, and it got overlooked because the Cardinals were struggling and the Cowboys (namely, Zeke Elliott) were dominating all season. Johnson essentially was the Cardinals offense this season.

Defensive Player of the Year: Landon Collins- Von Miller and Vic Beasley both put together really good years but the Broncos defense was a little disappointing this season and we all know about the Falcons defense. Meanwhile, the Giants defense has played extremely well down the stretch and a huge part of that is the play of Landon Collins--he has been all over the field and been a force in every facet of the game as a safety. His defense is playing extremely well and he is a huge part of that.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Ezekiel Elliott- This one was easy. Elliott looks like a legitimate NFL running back and even though his offensive line is really good, he helps them look good as well. Easy choice--the former Buckeye gets it.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Joey Bosa- This one was tough because Keanu Neal and Deion Jones were both very good for the Falcons this year, but Bosa was a force rushing the passer this season. He looks like a perennial pro-bowler in his rookie season, and it isn’t just a couple flashes here and there--he was a problem for opposing offenses all season long once he finally got the chance to play.

Comeback Player of the Year: Jordy Nelson- This one is relatively easy so I won’t spend characters explaining it. Nelson wins easily and it’s great to see him bounce back like he did.

Kevin Knight

MVP: Matt Ryan - Look, if you use your head and not your heart, Matt Ryan is clearly the NFL MVP this year. Maybe it doesn’t turn out that way, because there are a lot of Brady/Rodgers fanboys out there, but Ryan has had one of the best QB seasons in NFL history. He’s been the model of consistently and his astronomical YPA (9.3) is among the highest ever. Ryan turned a rag-tag group of castoffs (outside of Julio, of course) into the best offense in the NFL. Even if he doesn’t win the actual award, he should win it, which is almost as important.

OPOY: David Johnson - Elliott had a great season, but you have to look at the surrounding talent. David Johnson had just as good of a season behind a terrible offensive line and an anemic passing game. He’s been the most dynamic RB in football and rivals even Le’Veon Bell with the ball in his hands (without the constant injury concerns). He’s one of my favorite RBs to watch and could even get better in the coming years.

DPOY: Aaron Donald - Donald is annually in the running for the most talented player in the league, and if he were on a better team, he might even be in the running for MVP. But few players in the NFL affect games the way Donald does: he’s an elite run stopper and an elite pass rusher. He can line up inside, outside, at nose, wherever you want. He’s simply a beast, and routinely wrecks games all by his lonesome. Hopefully he’s able to escape Los Angeles at some point, because Donald is good enough to be a Hall of Fame player.

OROY: Ezekiel Elliott - Elliott took the league by storm this year, running wild behind a dominant offensive line in Dallas. He’s shown the burst, patience, and speed of a perennial All-Pro RB throughout his rookie season. Best of all, he’s just a rookie: it’s likely the best of Elliott is still ahead of us.

DROY: Deion Jones - Somebody has to give Jones some love in these awards. Bosa was great, but he didn’t play the whole season, which makes me lean towards Jones. He was a force throughout every game this season, showing off his other-worldy speed and coverage ability with two pick-sixes. Jones still has room to improve in run defense and could stand to add some bulk to his frame, but his athletic traits will consistently bail him out of mistakes.

Comeback Player of the Year: Jordy Nelson - You have to tip your cap to Jordy, who came back from a debilitating injury to post an excellent year. He’s still not quite the burner he once was, but his technique is impeccable and he’s an extremely savvy player. Nelson’s determination and drive to play through a slow start to the year add even more credence to his case.