Peter King shares his picks for the winners, and runners up, of the top NFL awards in 2020:
MVP: Patrick Mahomes, quarterback, Kansas City (2. Dak Prescott, 3. Tom Brady, 4. Lamar Jackson). MVPs go to big winners or guys with stats far better than others. Mahomes could do both. You see Brady on the list, and for him to have a chance, I’d guess the Bucs would need to win around 11 games, and Brady would need to be a top-three quarterback. Could be a fascinating race. Darkhorse: Matthew Stafford.
Coach: Mike McCarthy, Dallas (2. Brian Flores, 3. John Harbaugh, 4. Kliff Kingsbury). Jerry Jones hired McCarthy for his contending pedigree, and if Dallas wins the NFC’s top seed, McCarthy proved Jones right. I also think McCarthy’s quarterback-nerdiness will be a great add for Dak Prescott, who will have his best NFL season.
Offensive player: DeAndre Hopkins, wide receiver, Arizona (2. Patrick Mahomes, 3. Dak Prescott, 4. Clyde Edwards-Helaire). Edges Michael Thomas in receptions and yards, and becomes the heir to Larry Fitzgerald as the big weapon for Kyler Murray over the next five years. Voters often like to give the offensive player to a different guy than the MVP (Todd Gurley in 2017, Michael Thomas in 2019), and this continues the recent trend.
Defensive player: Aaron Donald, defensive tackle, Rams (2. T.J. Watt, 3. Khalil Mack, 4. Aldon Smith). J.J. Watt won three DPOYs by the time he was 26. If Donald wins, he’d have three by age 29. He’s been so dominant, obviously, and I see nothing standing in the way of him doing just what Watt did: win three DPOYs in a span of four seasons.
Offensive rookie: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, running back, Kansas City (2. Henry Ruggs, 3. CeeDee Lamb, 4. Michael Pittman). The 32nd pick in April will have every chance to fill the role Kareem Hunt did as a rookie: 325 rushes/receptions, 1,782 yards, 11 touchdowns, an NFL rushing title. With 20 chances per game (my projection, not necessarily Andy Reid’s) in Kansas City’s spread scheme, it’s a gold mine of production waiting to happen.
Defensive rookie: Josh Uche, linebacker, New England (2. Chase Young, 3. Jeff Okudah, 4. Willie Gay). The 60th pick in the draft is intriguing because he’s a little undersized (6-3, 230) and he played only 53 percent of the defensive snaps at Michigan last year. He may not play more than that in Foxboro, but his production around the edge could mimic Kyle Van Noy’s last year in the best season of Van Noy’s life. The Michigan tape of Uche (pronounced “OO-chay”) suggests the versatility and production Bill Belichick demands from his linebackers.
Comeback player: Aldon Smith, pass-rusher, Dallas (2. Alex Smith, 3. Ben Roethlisberger, 4. A.J. Green). If Alex Smith plays one snap this year, I might change my mind. His comeback is one for the ages. Aldon Smith hasn’t played in the NFL since November 2015. He abused himself out of football, and he’s going to have a chance to be the disruptive pass-rusher he once was this fall on a good team. Reports out of Cowboys camp are raves.
Executive: Jason Licht, GM, Tampa Bay (2. Eric DeCosta, 3. Chris Grier, 4. Mike Mayock). Signed Tom Brady. Traded for Ron Gronkowski. Pilfered Leonard Fournette. Good enough for me. There’s this added COVID note: Licht survived a Zoom draft night when, in the middle of trade talks with the Raiders, he paused while one of his children shrieked from outside his faux draft room, “MOMMY!!!!”
Read more in Peter King’s Football Morning in America column