Analysis

2020 NFL season award picks: Analysts vote on MVP, Coach of the Year, more

This Saturday, Feb. 6, Steve Harvey will host the 10th edition of NFL Honors, which will be nationally televised on CBS at 9 p.m. ET. The annual event features the announcement of the Associated Press awards and the newest Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

Before the official hardware is handed out, our analysts provide their picks for the major individual awards:

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Rank
1
Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers · QB

(28 votes: Baldinger, Battista, Bergman, Bhanpuri, Blair, Brandt, Carr, Casserly, Chadiha, Filice, Frelund, Grant, Hall, Hanzus, Jones-Drew, Lewis, Mariucci, McGinest, O'Hara, Parr, Patra, Pioli, Ross, Sessler, Shook, Smith, Thomas, Zierlein)

2) Patrick Mahomes (4 votes: Burleson, Cersosimo, Rank, Rosenthal)

3) Derrick Henry (1 vote: Davis)


Why Judy Battista chose Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers' regular season -- remember, that is what is being honored here -- was simply out of this world. He led the league in completion percentage (70.7 percent), passing touchdowns (48), interception percentage (a microscopic 0.95 with just five interceptions in 526 pass attempts) and quarterback rating (121.5). His rating was the second-best EVER, behind only himself in 2011 (122.5). Even the mesmerizing Mahomes, who will win many more MVPs in his career, took a back seat to Rodgers this time.  

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Rank
1
Derrick Henry
Tennessee Titans · RB

(19 votes: Baldinger, Battista, Bergman, Bhanpuri, Blair, Brandt, Cersosimo, Chadiha, Filice, Hall, Hanzus, Jones-Drew, Mariucci, McGinest, Patra, Ross, Shook, Thomas, Zierlein)

2) Aaron Rodgers (4 votes: Casserly, Davis, Rank, Smith)

T-3) Josh Allen (2 votes: Grant, Sessler)

T-3) Stefon Diggs (2 votes: Burleson, Frelund)

T-3) Alvin Kamara (2 votes: Carr, O'Hara)

T-3) Travis Kelce (2 votes: Lewis, Parr)

7) Patrick Mahomes (1 vote: Pioli)


Why Maurice Jones-Drew chose Derrick Henry: There wasn't much Henry didn't do this season. He led the league in every major rushing category, including carries (378), yards (2,027), touchdowns (17), forced missed tackles (75) and yards after contact (1,490). King Henry has dominated the rushing ranks for two consecutive seasons and was undoubtedly the best offensive player in the NFL in 2020, as evidenced by his league-high 2,141 scrimmage yards. If I'm being honest, Henry should be in the MVP mix after what he accomplished this season.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Rank
1
Aaron Donald
Los Angeles Rams · DT

(15 votes: Bergman, Bhanpuri, Blair, Casserly, Chadiha, Filice, Frelund, Hall, Jones-Drew, Parr, Pioli, Rank, Rosenthal, Smith, Thomas)

2) T.J. Watt (14 votes: Battista, Brandt, Cersosimo, Davis, Grant, Hanzus, Mariucci, McGinest, O'Hara, Patra, Ross, Sessler, Shook, Zierlein)

3) Xavien Howard (4 votes: Baldinger, Burleson, Carr, Lewis)


Why Adam Rank chose Aaron Donald: If you're still trying to determine how freakin' good Donald was in the regular season, just take a look back at the Rams' defense in the NFC Divisional Round when Donald was barely there due to injury. I know a lot of people wanted to gush over Aaron Rodgers "dominating" the top defense in the league, but the top defense in the league isn't the top defense in the league when Donald isn't right. It was a lot like watching Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Sure, Adam Scott is great, but he's not John Cusack.

OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Rank
1
Justin Herbert
Los Angeles Chargers · QB

(21 votes: Battista, Bergman, Bhanpuri, Blair, Brandt, Burleson, Carr, Casserly, Chadiha, Filice, Hanzus, Lewis, Mariucci, O'Hara, Parr, Patra, Rosenthal, Ross, Sessler, Thomas, Zierlein)

2) Justin Jefferson (10 votes: Cersosimo, Davis, Frelund, Grant, Hall, Jones-Drew, McGinest, Pioli, Shook, Smith)

T-3) Jonathan Taylor (1 vote: Rank)

T-3) Tristan Wirfs (1 vote: Baldinger)


Why Jeffri Chadiha chose Justin Herbert: Herbert was thrown into emergency duty in Week 2 and wound up being everything the Chargers hoped he'd become over the course of his rookie year. The numbers -- 4,336 pass yards, 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions -- indicate that he's already on a path to stardom.

DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Rank
1
Chase Young
Washington Football Team · DE

(29 votes: Baldinger, Battista, Bergman, Bhanpuri, Blair, Brandt, Burleson, Carr, Casserly, Cersosimo, Chadiha, Davis, Filice, Frelund, Grant, Hall, Hanzus, Jones-Drew, Mariucci, McGinest, Parr, Patra, Rank, Rosenthal, Ross, Sessler, Shook, Thomas, Zierlein)

2) Jeremy Chinn (3 votes: O'Hara, Pioli, Smith)

3) L'Jarius Sneed (1 vote: Lewis)


Why Charley Casserly chose Chase Young: There was already a lot of hype surrounding the No. 2 overall pick coming into the season, and as Young got more experience, he become a player opposing offenses had to build their game plan around. He'll be a perennial Pro Bowler.

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Rank
1
Alex Smith
Washington Football Team · QB

UNANIMOUS SELECTION


Why David Carr chose Alex Smith: It never really mattered what Smith did on the field this season -- though I will point out he was 5-1 as a starter. It was all about his journey back to the gridiron after a gruesome injury required 17 surgeries to save his leg. More than deserving of a unanimous vote, Smith's story is nothing short of miraculous and so inspiring that maybe this award should now be called the "Alex Smith Comeback Player of the Year Award." 

COACH OF THE YEAR

Rank
1
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski looks on from the sidelines during an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Pittsburgh. Positive COVID-19 tests have knocked Stefanski out of Cleveland's wild-card game at Pittsburgh on Sunday night — the Browns' first playoff appearance since the 2002 season. (AP Photo/Justin Berl, File)
Kevin Stefanski
Cleveland Browns

(14 votes: Baldinger, Battista, Bergman, Blair, Brandt, Burleson, Chadiha, Hall, Jones-Drew, Mariucci, Rank, Sessler, Shook, Thomas)

2) Sean McDermott (8 votes: Filice, Frelund, Grant, Lewis, O'Hara, Patra, Pioli, Zierlein)

3) Brian Flores (4 votes: McGinest, Rosenthal, Ross, Smith)

T-4) Bruce Arians (3 votes: Bhanpuri, Casserly, Davis)

T-4) Ron Rivera (3 votes: Cersosimo, Hanzus, Parr)

6) Andy Reid (1 vote: Carr)

Why Marc Sessler chose Kevin Stefanski: I give Stefanski a slight edge over worthy candidates such as Sean McDermott and Brian Flores. The first-year head coach maximized Baker Mayfield and turned the Browns into a watchable playoff squad during the most off-kilter season in modern NFL history.

HOW EACH ANALYST VOTED

Table inside Article
AnalystMVPOPOYDPOYOROYDROYCPOYCOTY
Brian BaldingerAaron RodgersDerrick HenryXavien HowardTristan WirfsChase YoungAlex SmithKevin Stefanski
Judy BattistaAaron RodgersDerrick HenryT.J. WattJustin HerbertChase YoungAlex SmithKevin Stefanski
Jeremy BergmanAaron RodgersDerrick HenryAaron DonaldJustin HerbertChase YoungAlex SmithKevin Stefanski
Ali BhanpuriAaron RodgersDerrick HenryAaron DonaldJustin HerbertChase YoungAlex SmithBruce Arians
Tom BlairAaron RodgersDerrick HenryAaron DonaldJustin HerbertChase YoungAlex SmithKevin Stefanski
Gil BrandtAaron RodgersDerrick HenryT.J. WattJustin HerbertChase YoungAlex SmithKevin Stefanski
Nate BurlesonPatrick MahomesStefon DiggsXavien HowardJustin HerbertChase YoungAlex SmithKevin Stefanski
David CarrAaron RodgersAlvin KamaraXavien HowardJustin HerbertChase YoungAlex SmithAndy Reid
Charley CasserlyAaron RodgersAaron RodgersAaron DonaldJustin HerbertChase YoungAlex SmithBruce Arians
Brooke CersosimoPatrick MahomesDerrick HenryT.J. WattJustin JeffersonChase YoungAlex SmithRon Rivera
Jeffri ChadihaAaron RodgersDerrick HenryAaron DonaldJustin HerbertChase YoungAlex SmithKevin Stefanski
Terrell DavisDerrick HenryAaron RodgersT.J. WattJustin JeffersonChase YoungAlex SmithBruce Arians
Gennaro FiliceAaron RodgersDerrick HenryAaron DonaldJustin HerbertChase YoungAlex SmithSean McDermott
Cynthia FrelundAaron RodgersStefon DiggsAaron DonaldJustin JeffersonChase YoungAlex SmithSean McDermott
Marcas GrantAaron RodgersJosh AllenT.J. WattJustin JeffersonChase YoungAlex SmithSean McDermott
DeAngelo HallAaron RodgersDerrick HenryAaron DonaldJustin JeffersonChase YoungAlex SmithKevin Stefanski
Dan HanzusAaron RodgersDerrick HenryT.J. WattJustin HerbertChase YoungAlex SmithRon Rivera
Maurice Jones-DrewAaron RodgersDerrick HenryAaron DonaldJustin JeffersonChase YoungAlex SmithKevin Stefanski
Rhett LewisAaron RodgersTravis KelceXavien HowardJustin HerbertL'Jarius SneedAlex SmithSean McDermott
Steve MariucciAaron RodgersDerrick HenryT.J. WattJustin HerbertChase YoungAlex SmithKevin Stefanski
Willie McGinestAaron RodgersDerrick HenryT.J. WattJustin JeffersonChase YoungAlex SmithBrian Flores
Shaun O'HaraAaron RodgersAlvin KamaraT.J. WattJustin HerbertJeremy ChinnAlex SmithSean McDermott
Dan ParrAaron RodgersTravis KelceAaron DonaldJustin HerbertChase YoungAlex SmithRon Rivera
Kevin PatraAaron RodgersDerrick HenryT.J. WattJustin HerbertChase YoungAlex SmithSean McDermott
Scott PioliAaron RodgersPatrick MahomesAaron DonaldJustin JeffersonJeremy ChinnAlex SmithSean McDermott
Adam RankPatrick MahomesAaron RodgersAaron DonaldJonathan TaylorChase YoungAlex SmithKevin Stefanski
Gregg RosenthalPatrick MahomesNo voteAaron DonaldJustin HerbertChase YoungAlex SmithBrian Flores
Marc RossAaron RodgersDerrick HenryT.J. WattJustin HerbertChase YoungAlex SmithBrian Flores
Marc SesslerAaron RodgersJosh AllenT.J. WattJustin HerbertChase YoungAlex SmithKevin Stefanski
Nick ShookAaron RodgersDerrick HenryT.J. WattJustin JeffersonChase YoungAlex SmithKevin Stefanski
Steve Smith Sr.Aaron RodgersAaron RodgersAaron DonaldJustin JeffersonJeremy ChinnAlex SmithBrian Flores
Joe ThomasAaron RodgersDerrick HenryAaron DonaldJustin HerbertChase YoungAlex SmithKevin Stefanski
Lance ZierleinAaron RodgersDerrick HenryT.J. WattJustin HerbertChase YoungAlex SmithSean McDermott

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