With 12 games to go, the truth is that we simply don’t know who will end up being this team’s MVP, offensive player of the year, defensive player of the year, and rookie of the year. We do know who those players would be if the season ended today, however, and that’s where I’m going with this article. You could probably guess.
Here, I’ll look at the players I think are most deserving for these awards after four weeks, and who I think might win them at the end of the year. You’ll notice I’m very bullish on Devonta Freeman and De’Vondre Campbell, and a little less bullish on Matt Ryan pulling out of an unlucky early season slump enough to be considered the team’s most valuable player, even if I think he’s going to start putting up numbers very soon. I’ll be interested to see your choices, but for now, let’s get to mine.
MVP: Devonta Freeman
Steve Sarkisian has made a point of feeding Devonta Freeman, and while the carry-to-carry results haven’t always been stellar, he’s been a force for good for this offense. As always, Freeman is quick, decisive and powerful running the football, especially near the goal line, and he’s made the most of his touches in every game thus far, with only the Bears truly managing to bottle him up for the majority of the game. With Sark leaning on Freeman, I think he’ll wind up setting a career mark for touchdowns and putting together one of the finest seasons of his young career.
End of Season Prediction: Devonta Freeman
OPOY: Alex Mack
Only because I gave the MVP to Freeman, but still. Mack has been the best center in football through four games, giving quality play and stability to an offensive line that has otherwise seen injury and inconsistency rule the day. He’s been a tremendous free agent signing and will remain critically important to the success of this offense the rest of the way.
End of Season Prediction: Julio Jones
DPOY: De’Vondre Campbell
I’ve been extremely tempted all week to give this to Brooks Reed, who probably won’t keep his pace going and is the feel-good story of the first month of Falcons game. But it should be obvious that it’s either Grady Jarrett or De’Vondre Campbell for this award, and I’ve gone with Campbell because he’s been so impressive and impactful for this defense in a year where almost everyone else around him has had a rough game or two. His ability to make tough tackles and fly around the field makes him dangerous.
It’s a razor thin margin, though, and I expect to see lots of good arguments for Jarrett.
End of Season Prediction: De’Vondre Campbell
Rookie of the Year: Takkarist McKinley
It really couldn’t be anyone else, not with Takk putting up his first NFL sack and applying quality pressure at a quality clip every game. He’s only going to get better, and there’s no one else who has been remotely close to as good as him thus far, though Damontae Kazee had a fine first game and Duke Riley is going to get there.
End of Season Prediction: Takkarist McKinley
Who would be your choices for these four awards at the quarter season mark?