The 2022-23 NFL regular season was filled with uncertainty. Many teams overperformed, and many underperformed. Many players had excellent seasons, making it difficult to determine who deserves to win each NFL award. These are my predictions for the NFL’s most prestigious awards.
Most Valuable Player: Patrick Mahomes (QB, Kansas City Chiefs)
It’s not the most exciting pick, but he deserves it. Mahomes lost arguably the best wide receiver in the league this year and didn’t miss a beat. Even without Tyreek Hill, he led the Kansas City Chiefs to the No. 1 seed in the AFC and was the reason they were the best offense in the NFL this season. He led the league with 5,250 passing yards and 41 touchdowns, and also led in total quarterback rating (77.7) and expected points added (132.8). Mahomes was among the top five in nearly every stat measured for quarterbacks. His IQ, pocket awareness and uncanny ability to make something out of nothing is unmatched.
Offensive Player of the Year: Justin Jefferson (WR, Minnesota Vikings)
Jefferson emerged as a rookie two years ago and has only gotten better since. The young star led the league in receptions, receiving yards and yards after catch. He also averaged over three yards of separation per route and had some of the most impressive catches of the year, most notably his one-handed catch over the Bills’ Cam Lewis in Week 9. The combination of his length, speed, route running, body control and hands are what make him one of the best and most exciting receivers in the league.
Defensive Player of the Year: Nick Bosa (DE, San Francisco 49ers)
Bosa is by far and away the consensus pick for DPOY, but it’s extremely hard to vote for anyone else. Not only is he the best player on the best defense in the league, but he led the entire NFL in both sacks (18.5) and pressures (56). Bosa had 2.5 sacks and nine pressures more than the next closest players in those respective stat categories. He must be double-teamed if teams want any chance of containing him. But even then, his strength and speed make it nearly impossible for offensive linemen to stop him.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Garrett Wilson (WR, New York Jets)
Kenneth Walker is the betting favorite to win this award, but I would argue that Wilson is more deserving. Wilson had an amazing rookie season despite being in one of the worst quarterback situations as he put up an impressive 83 catches for 1,103 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Not only can Wilson get open, but what he does after the catch makes him that much better. He was a top 10 receiver in broken tackles and tallied nearly 400 yards after catch. Wilson’s speed and ability to switch directions is truly phenomenal and leaves him with a bright future ahead. This time next year, more people will be talking about him as a top 10 wide receiver.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Sauce Gardner (CB, New York Jets)
The Jets have the best offensive and defensive rookies in all of football. Defensive backs are extremely hard to evaluate when it comes to statistics, but Gardner finished first this year in one of the most valuable DB stats — passes defensed — with 20. Gardner and Wilson are similar in a lot of ways when it comes to their physical attributes. Both are extremely quick and have impressive control over their bodies and switching directions. Gardner moves with such fluid motion, making it easier for him to adapt to certain routes and make quick recoveries on some of the league’s best receivers.
Comeback Player of the Year: Geno Smith (QB, Seattle Seahawks)
“They wrote me off, I ain’t write back though.” These words were uttered by Smith following Seattle’s Week 1 victory over former Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos. Nothing could ring more true for Geno Smith. He had a rocky start to his career as he started for the Jets for two years but didn’t pan out to be the stud he was expected to be. Since then, he’s had stints with the Jets, Chargers and Seahawks as a backup, and no one expected him to be a starter again. However, with Wilson being traded and Seattle not drafting a quarterback, Smith was the next man up and he did not disappoint. This Seattle team was expected to be among the worst in the league, but Smith led the team to the playoffs with a 9-8 record, while also setting a franchise record for passing yards in a single season. This one is a no-brainer.
Written By: Cade Michaelson