Writers Make Their Own ‘NFL Honors’ Picks

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While the biggest trophy of them all will be awarded Sunday from Atlanta, a few individual awards will be doled out Saturday night.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame will announce its new inductees, which could include former Cowboys VP of player personnel Gil Brandt, who is one of two contributor finalists.

Also, a few current superstars will land some hardware as well at the annual NFL Honors Show.

Two years ago, the Cowboys racked up some awards as Dak Prescott won Offensive Rookie of the Year and Jason Garrett was named Coach of the Year.

The Cowboys probably will not have a player win an award this season, but there is an outside shot for a player such as Leighton Vander Esch.

Still, the staff writers of DallasCowboys.com decided to weigh in on seven of the top awards. It’s not a prediction of what will happen, but more of an opinion if they had say in the process.

See if you agree with their selections:

Award Bryan Lindsay Rob David Nick Mickey
MVP Brees Brees Mahomes Brees Mahomes Mahomes
OPOY Mahomes Mahomes Brees Mahomes Brees Gurley
DPOY Donald Donald Donald Donald Donald Donald
OROY Mayfield Barkley Mayfield Mayfield Nelson Barkley
DROY James Leonard Vander Esch James Leonard Vander Esch
Comeback Player Luck Luck Luck Luck Luck Luck
Coach of the Year Reich McVay Belichick Nagy Lynn Reich

Nick Eatman: For me, Pat Mahomes and Drew Brees were the two best players all year, so they both deserve to right there at the top. I think Brees is the MVP of that team, maybe the city. My rookie pick might be different, but we always forget the linemen. Quenton Nelson was an All-Pro at his spot. Let’s not overlook that. For the top coach, I went with Anthony Lynn. Always liked him when he was here at the Cowboys, but don’t forget the injuries the Chargers endured all year at RB, TE and at DE to start the year. He did a masterful job with that group.

Bryan Broaddus: Some quick thoughts. How old is Drew Brees? I don’t believe there is anything that Pat Mahomes can’t do with the ball. Aaron Donald is as rare as they come. Baker Mayfield has changed the culture in Cleveland. I had a gut feeling that coming into the draft that Derwin James had a chance to be a special player and he’s just that. Not going to lie – I thought Andrew Luck’s career was done. Don’t tell me that where you come from doesn’t matter. Frank Reich has had success in every coaching stop he’s made. The Colts are going to be a difficult club to deal with in the future with him at the helm.

David Helman:I basically vote for Brees as a lifetime achievement award. He’s one of the best to ever do it, and he deserves that honor before he retires — especially after such an outstanding season. Pat Mahomes is 23 years old and will have many opportunities to add to his trophy collection. I don’t care if you think my logic is flawed, this is my imaginary vote. I would vote for Baker Mayfield not just because he set a rookie record for touchdown passes and led Cleveland back to relevance, but he also completely changed the culture of a wayward franchise. You can’t underestimate that. Derwin James was a force as both a tackler and a cover guy and looks likely to be one of the league’s best safeties for the foreseeable future. As for Coach of the Year, the Bears hadn’t won more than eight games since 2010. They had a young quarterback and not a lot of proven talent. And Matt Nagy guided them to a 12-4 record and a divisional title. That’s a season deserving of recognition.

Lindsay Draper: The NFL trending toward high-powered offenses sure makes it a fun ride every Sunday, and no two were more electrifying to watch than Drew Brees and Pat Mahomes. On the other side of the ball, Aaron Donald continues to leave me in disbelief with his athleticism paired with his dedication to his craft. Quite the easy choice for Defensive Player of the Year. When the Cowboys faced the Colts in mid-December, I wasn’t ready for what they were bringing, and so much of this year’s success is from Andrew Luck’s persistence through such a grueling journey.

Rob Phillips: As terrific as Zeke Elliott was this season – he’s not getting enough credit in league circles – I’ll go with Drew Brees for Offensive Player of the Year because in many ways this was his most efficient season (career-high 74.4 completion percentage). Rookies of the year? I’ll take Baker Mayfield for his role in turning around the Browns and Leighton Vander Esch for doing what seemed impossible a year ago: keeping the Dallas defense rolling without Sean Lee. Is ‘Bill Belichick, Coach of the Year’ too boring? Too cliché? Don’t care. People wrote off the Pats midseason and look where they are … again.

Mickey Spagnola: In his first full year as an NFL starting quarterback, just his second NFL season, not only did Pat Mahomes take the Chiefs to the AFC title game, something the Chiefs had not appeared in since the 1993 season, but he did so with a 113.8 QB rating, second to only Drew Brees. Any arguments against giving Offensive Rookie of the Year to Saquon Barkley? The rookie finished second in rushing yards, third in non-kicker scoring and on top of that led the NFL in most yards from scrimmage with 2028, 27 more than Zeke. Not only did Leighton Vander Esch lead the Cowboys with 176 tackles but he also set the club’s single-season record for tackles by a rookie. Hands down, Frank Reich for Coach of the Year. The first-year head coach took a 4-12 team to 10-6 and into the playoffs as a first-time head coach at any level.

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