We have an idea for most award candidates already; could we see a surprise winner at the end of the year?
Awards Are Meant For The Elite
We always see familiar faces when looking at award races before the season—Rodgers and Brady for MVP, Donald for DPOY, and others. But every once in a while, somebody comes out of the dark and surprises everyone by winning a significant award. It is possible, like Mahomes in 2018 or even Lamar Jackson in 2019. I’ll be going through every award and naming a potential “dark horse” who could come out of nowhere and win the prize.
MVP Darkhorse: Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
With the suspension of Deandre Hopkins, Kyler’s campaign started with a very rough start. The star receiver will be forced to miss six games due to illegal substances. Of course, you always want your star to have the tools necessary to succeed. In this case, he still has plenty of tools. The Cardinals traded for Marquise Brown, but they still have Zach Ertz and James Conner, not to mention an improved offensive line. While they did lose Chandler Jones, they have a few young defensive studs who will make up for his absence. All Murray needs to do is make the playoffs, and I think he’s got a chance to surprise many people.
OPOY Darkhorse: Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
With the Browns organization, there is just so much unknown about their future. Whether Watson will be suspended, will Baker be the starter? If Watson is, do they get their picks back? There is just a lot that you cant be sure of with that team. Nick Chubb is there and will continue to be their rock. Baker Mayfield had an awful season last year. To the point where despite all he did for the franchise, the Browns want to send him on his merry way. Chubb singlehandedly kept them in games. So, if Watson doesn’t play, they will likely lean on him again.
DPOY Darkhorse: Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers
It is crazy how many people have forgotten about this man. Whether it’s due to injuries or his brother upstaging him, Joey Bosa is still an absolute monster. While he wasn’t spectacular, the Chargers had almost no defensive talent around him, which allowed for coaches to game plan specifically at stopping him completely. Now, They obtained JC Jackson and Khalil Mack both in the off-season. Jackson will make certain offenses don’t want to throw through the air, and Mack will give coaches another player to worry about off the edge. Prepare for a big year from the older Bosa brother.
OROY Darkhorse: Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks
Walker was a monster at Michigan State, even making his way to New York as a Heisman award finalist. His big five touchdown game solidified that he’d be one of the first running backs taken off the board, and lucky for him, he went to Seattle. Seattle just traded their franchise cornerstone and leader Russel Wilson, which leaves a hole at quarterback. You do have Drew Lock or, best case scenario Baker Mayfield, but neither option is great. This means that they will definitely lean on the run game. I also have no doubt he should easily be able to win the job away from Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny.
DROY Darkhorse: Jordan Davis, Philadelphia Eagles
Our last player award is the defensive rookie of the year, and I feel like this could go to Jordan Davis for many reasons. First, he has one of the best possible teachers in the NFL, Fletcher Cox, next to him, teaching him along the way. Second, for this award, they love teams that win. So, if the Eagles can make a run and he has a great year stuffing the run, Davis could end up with the award over players whose team was very bad. Finally, he was pro-ready. He is coming off a national championship at Georgia; I feel he is one of the NFL’s best-prepared rookies in this draft class.
COTY Darkhorse: Brian Daboll, New York Giants
Daboll came to the big apple after leading the best offense in the NFL last year with Josh Allen. He is tasked with a big challenge, dragging the Giants out of the NFL’s gutter. However, the Giants have a substantial roster looking at it up and down, especially after the draft.
Daboll loves the big plays and allowing his guys to make the plays. The award also heavily favors new coaches, so armed with this and many men who want to prove themselves, Daboll could form a lethal team in New York. Of course, he will have to iron out a few kinks with injuries and Daniel Jones’ inconsistency, but if he does, they are destined for a good season and even a playoff appearance.