As we inch closer to the start of the NFL season, I wanted to write a couple of prediction articles and I decided to get the help of some of my colleagues here at LAFB. I collaborated with Ryan Dyrud, Ryan Anderson, Chase Bendel, Chauncey Telese, and Amar Desai to bring the first-ever LAFB Network’s 2022 NFL Awards Predictions!
Most Valuable Player
Steven – Josh Allen
I think Justin Herbert is absolutely a contender for this award. His critics will of course point to the Chargers missing the playoffs last year, but he was an elite performer in every passing metric you can find. Still, I think the voters will basically choose to give this award to the elite quarterback of whichever team comes out of the vaunted AFC with the #1 seed. I happen to think that will be the Bills, and therefore am choosing Josh Allen – the current betting favorite.
Chase – Justin Herbert
I tried my hardest to remove any bias from these predictions, but I really do believe this is the year for Herbert. With a very improved defense and the 2nd season in the same system, I see Herbert having a slight decrease in yards this year but an increased level of efficiency. The Chargers asked Herbert to Super Man far too often last year, but this year he should just be able to play free and be himself. Winning the daunting AFC West will seal the deal for Herbert’s case.
Chauncey – Patrick Mahomes
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are entering the season with more doubters than they ever have after the trade of Tyreek Hill. I believe this will prove to be a good move as it will force Mahome to be a more nuanced quarterback. This will ultimately give the Chiefs their best offense yet with this regime. It might not be as electrifying as his first MVP season but it’ll show he’s much more than a street ball quarterback.
Ryan A – Justin Herbert
Both Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are on the decline and will have down years, which will open the door for one of the league’s new faces. The race is tight between Herbert and Joe Burrow as the season chugs along. Herbert sets himself apart with definitive wins over the Chiefs, Broncos, and Rams. He finishes the 2022 season with 48 touchdowns, breaking his own Chargers passing record.
Ryan D – Justin Herbert
This is going to be a two-horse race between Herbert and Russell Wilson. The NFL loves comeback stories, and Russell is going to have a great year in Denver and lead them to the playoffs for the first time in 5 years, but ultimately, Herbert and the Chargers will have a better season.
Amar – Russell Wilson
Herbert is going to be the front-runner, but Wilson is going to have a sensational season that will put him in the MVP race for sure. Denver has a new head coach in Nathaniel Hackett, and he brought in Wilson to lead his offense. He’s surrounded by a plethora of weapons and should be able to make the most out of it while putting up career numbers in passing yards. The only time that Wilson will ever receive votes for MVP, he’s going to end up winning it.
Offensive Player Of The Year
Steven – Justin Jefferson
If not for the historical greatness from Herbert and Cooper Kupp over the last two seasons, Justin Jefferson would have a significantly shinier personal trophy case. Jefferson broke the rookie receiving record in 2020 and followed that up by increasing his catch total by 20, yardage total by 216, and touchdown total by three. Now he gets to take on Kupp’s role as a power slot (where he played in college) in Kevin O’Connell’s offense. 1,800+ yards and 15+ touchdowns are absolutely in the realm of possibilities this year.
Chase – Justin Jefferson
Two out of the last three years this award has gone to a receiver. With the way that receivers are being valued and utilized, I see one winning again this year. Jefferson has been one of the best receivers in the league ever since he stepped onto the field. I believe he takes another step to put up ridiculous numbers and ultimately wins this award.
Chauncey – Justin Jefferson
Under Kevin O’Connell, he’ll have his best season ever. Jefferson has flourished with a mediocre system his whole career but now he’ll be unlocked much like Kupp was for the Rams in 2021.
Ryan A – Jonathan Taylor
Taylor will continue to add to his superstar trajectory and will have a career season as the Colts upgrade from Carson Wentz to Matt Ryan at quarterback. A better team offense means even more opportunities for Taylor, who will rush for over 2000 yards and 20 touchdowns. But he will also be one of Ryan’s preferred passing targets. He’ll catch over 60 passes for 700 yards and another seven touchdowns. Record-breaking season.
Ryan D – Cooper Kupp
Cooper Kupp had one of the greatest seasons ever at the Wide Receiver position in 2021. I don’t expect him to replicate those numbers in 2022, especially with the addition of Allen Robinson, but if the Rams are going to have a shot at repeating, they are going to need another All-Pro season from Kupp. He will remain the best WR in football.
Amar – Justin Jefferson
Echoing the thoughts laid out by my colleague Steven Haglund, Jefferson is going to put on a show in the 2022 season. He’s already made Vikings fans forget about Stefon Diggs. The guy is still so early in his career and yet there’s really no telling where his career might continue to go in the future. There is one thing for sure is that Jefferson is one of the best offensive players in the league and he’s well on track to earn an award to validate that.
Defensive Player Of The Year
Steven – Nick Bosa
I believe that both of the Bosa brothers will be legitimate candidates for this award, but in the end, I went with the small bear. In a season coming off a serious ACL injury, Nick Bosa still finished sixth in ESPN’s pass rush win rate, and sixth in PFF’s. He also generated the fourth most total pressures (75) and was 4th in sacks (16). What he was able to accomplish coming off that injury does not get talked about enough in my opinion, but that will change when he wins this award.
Chase – Myles Garrett
This was the most difficult award to predict. I considered Joey Bosa, but the Chargers have so many other stars on defense with the ability to win the award, that it will make it difficult for any of them to win. Myles Garrett seems primed to have a record-breaking season with the Browns. I see him getting to 18 sacks this year and winning DPOY. Aaron Donald is still a very bad man too.
Chauncey – Micah Parsons
I want to pick Aaron Donald but unless he breaks the sack record he probably won’t win another one. So the pick is Micah Parsons. If the Cowboys are to repeat their 2021 defensive success and seriously contend for the title, Parsons will have to take another step forward in his hybrid pass rusher/linebacker role. I believe he has the talent to do so.
Ryan A – Aaron Donald
The answer to this question should be Aaron Donald every year until he retires. Plain and simple, he’s the baddest man on the planet. Period.
Ryan D – Aaron Donald
Until Aaron Donald retires, I’m not going to pick against him for this award. Most dominant defender in NFL history and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down
Amar – Micah Parsons
As much as I’d like to play the homer card here as the resident Niners fan and say Nick Bosa, Parsons has a good shot to build on his sensational rookie season when he took home the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Dallas plans to continue to allow Parsons to play his hybrid role, which will give him a chance to be the ultimate wrecking ball. Let’s just hope his appearances on First Take don’t derail his ascent to stardom.
Offensive Rookie Of The Year
Steven – Dameon Pierce
We are in the wide receiver golden era so this is another award that could start swinging their way. At the end of the day, this is an opportunity award, and to me, Dameon Pierce has the best chance at putting up the best numbers. He is the unquestioned lead back on a team, led by a defensive-minded head coach who will want to protect his young quarterback by running the ball. The Texans also have a very good offensive line. I love Pierce this year.
Chase – Breece Hall
If there was more certainty about Kenny Pickett starting or not, I would go with him. I think Breece Hall will ultimately win though. He will have to split some carries with Michael Carter this year but the Jets invested a lot in him to where they will need to give him the ball quite a bit. With no other good options for a quarterback, I like the odds of Hall winning.
Chauncey – Dameon Pierce
Pierce is the most logical pick. He’s going to have the best chance to have the good stats on a bad team and perhaps even drag the Texans to a few wins by himself. He’ll be a household star by this time next year.
Ryan A – George Pickens
Pickens balled out during training camp and in the Steelers’ preseason games, generating a ton of hype. The engine of the Steelers’ offense will have to continue to be the passing game this year. The biggest question will be if Pittsburgh’s quarterback(s) can get the ball to their fantastic trio of starting receivers. If they can, Pickens will continue his preseason form. This is an upside pick.
Ryan D – James Cook
Drake London would be an easy choice for me here if he had a better quarterback, but coming off an injury, and with Marcus Mariota throwing him the ball, he might not put up the numbers that push him over the top. I love James Cook and his situation in Buffalo. I ultimately think he ends up seizing the RB1 role for the Bills and then is in a better position to succeed than any of the other rookie running backs.
Amar – Tyler Allgeier
This one might be a long shot, but stranger things have happened in the NFL. Tyler Allgeier is the Falcons’ fifth-round selection from the 2022 NFL Draft but he’s going to be used in the offense as if he were a top-10 selection. Head coach Arthur Smith wants to use Cordarrelle Patterson more as a receiver this year and that means more carries are going to be relinquished to Allgeier. I expect the former BYU dynamo to get comfortable as the season rolls along and take home the award once the 2022 season comes to a close.
Defensive Rookie Of The Year
Steven – Quay Walker
This is my biggest wildcard pick. My heart wants me to pick former Utah legend Devin Lloyd in this spot. My brain says a pass rusher will win. Ultimately, I think Quay Walker is going to put up huge numbers for the best team in the NFC, and being a real difference maker on a contender will earn him a lot of votes when compared to his peers.
Chase – Kayvon Thibodeaux
Many people at the start of last college football season had Kayvon Thibodeaux penciled in for the first overall pick, many people over-thought his season and questioned his passion for the game. I think he is going to prove all the doubters wrong and have a stellar rookie season for the Giants.
Chauncey – Aidan Hutchinson
Aidan Hutchinson will eat plenty of kneecaps and propel the Lions towards something resembling relevance this season. They might not make the playoffs but they’ll flirt with it and defensively it all starts with Hutchinson, who will surpass double-digit sacks.
Ryan A – Kayvon Thibodeaux
The Giants’ new defensive coordinator, Wink Martindale likes to blitz quarterbacks. Last season with the Ravens, he sent 5 or more defenders 209 times, fourth-most in the league. The Giants also happen to play several teams with bad offensive lines. Thibodeaux will benefit from both the usage and playing against weaker opponents.
Ryan D – Devin Lloyd
A linebacker or an edge player has won the award the past four seasons in a row, and that trend continues in 2022. I initially went back and forth on Aidan Hutchinson and George Karlaftis, but ultimately think that Devin Lloyd has a monster season. He is one of the best true linebacker prospects that I have seen in quite some time, and he will be a mainstay in the Jacksonville rebuild that Urban Meyer tore down. I expect a Darius Leonard-type Rookie season from Lloyd.
Amar – Aidan Hutchinson
There’s a reason this guy was taken with the number two overall pick. Aidan Hutchinson will definitely help improve the league’s worst pass rush from 2021. The Lions are also going to be playing teams with weak offensive lines like the Giants, the Bears (twice), the Commanders, the Jets, and the Seahawks. Playing these weaker offense lines should lead to Hutchinson racking up good sack numbers and making the Defensive Rookie of the Year award conversation begin with him.
Coach Of The Year
Steven – Matt LaFleur
Narratives drive a large portion of award voting, and so do narrative-breaking results. There are a lot of folks around the media that believe the lion’s share of the Packers’ success over the last few seasons has been due to the MVP play from Aaron Rodgers and the statistical dominance of Davante Adams. The Packers earning the one seed in the NFC will go a long way for LaFleur’s legacy and I believe that happens on the shoulders of an elite rushing attack.
Chase – Brandon Staley
The narrative is a big thing with MVP and Coach of the year. I have Herbert winning MVP and winning the AFC West. If the Chargers have the type of success that I believe they will have, Brandon Staley should win this award.
Chauncey – Nick Siriani
Nick Siriani was perceived as a joke when he was hired and his first press conference was Ted Lasso-level farcical. Despite that, he found a way to make the playoffs in his first season. Now the team has legitimate star talent, a bad division, and an easy schedule. The Eagles could easily win enough games to land the one seed and earn Siriani this award.
Ryan A – Kevin O’Connell
There’s a lot of recent precedence for first-year head coaches winning this award. Kevin O’Connell is my favorite of the bunch. His offense will make Kirk Cousins look like a dynamic quarterback and their offense will finally be unleashing the weapons the Vikings have on offense, which leads to the Vikings’ return to the playoffs.
Ryan D – Brandon Staley
I was really close to giving this award to Dan Campbell because I love what he is building up there in Detroit, but the Lions are still probably a year away from making the playoffs and that is a must to win Coach of the Year. Brandon Staley is a football genius and he put that on display in his first head coaching season. He also made some costly mistakes, mistakes that he won’t make in year two. He has all the pieces for a deep playoff run and has the football IQ, candor, and charisma to put it all together. Staley for Coach of the Year and then President.
Amar – Brandon Staley
This Chargers team features a plethora of young playmakers on both sides of the ball and they’re going to put points on the board in bunches. This will lead to the Chargers winning the AFC West for the first time since 2009 and putting the rest of the league on notice. Staley had this team so close to a playoff spot in his rookie season, but he’s going to learn from his mistakes and make the Chargers a heavy favorite to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LVIII.
LAFB Network’s 2022 NFL Awards Predictions: Where will Justin Herbert, Aaron Donald, and Brandon Staley stack up? – Via Ty Nowell