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NFL Awards: Staff Picks

The Queen’s Guard is ramping up NFL coverage with the season starting up. That said, here are the staff picks at each and every NFL award (and more).

Offensive Player of the Year

Josh: Saquon Barkley, RB, NY Giants

Barkley is going to get a lot of touches with either Eli Manning or Daniel Jones at QB so expect big numbers. 1700 yards rushing isn’t out the question in my opinion.

Euan: Saquon Barkley, RB, NY Giants

Barkley managed to put up the most all-purpose yards in the league last season despite being in one of the worst offensive situations in the league and I expect him to be even better this upcoming year. Returning for his 2nd year in the same offense, with an improved Oline and more dependency on the run game, expect Saquon to put up some all-time numbers should he fulfill all 16 Games.

Steve: Saquon Barkley, RB, NY Giants

I honestly considered him as my MVP pick but we all know running backs don’t win that award anymore. So he’ll get the next best thing. With Odell gone and basically all of the Giants receivers being injured, I would expect Barkley to basically be the entire offense. His numbers this year might be absolutely insane.

Mike: Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

Alvin Kamara is the best running back in football. He just never had the workload to prove it. Now with Mark Ingram in Baltimore, Kamara should see more work in the Saints high powered offense (yes, they brought in Latavius Murray, but I don’t think he sees the same work that Ingram did). Kamara is lightning in a bottle in both the ground game and passing game on one of the best offenses in football.

Dylan: Saquon Barkley, RB, NY Giants

Saquon Barkley is an exceptional talent. He is, without a doubt, the most talented halfback in the NFL. In an offense without Odell Beckham Jr., Barkley could near the 2,000-yard mark, and in a media market as large as New York, that is bound to get the attention of voters.

Defensive Player of the Year

Josh: Aaron Donald, DL, Los Angeles Rams

The best defensive player in the league. Not much else to say here.

Euan: Aaron Donald, DL, Los Angeles Rams

The way things stand, it’s hard to see anyone else winning this award for the foreseeable future. Having just been voted the best player in the NFL by his peers, and at the age of only 28, don’t expect Donald’s dominance to be stopping anytime soon.

Steve: Aaron Donald, DL, Los Angeles Rams

Dude is just a freak and quite possibly the best player in the entire league.

Mike: Khalil Mack, OLB/DE, Chicago Bears

I’m still in disbelief that Mack didn’t win DPOY last year. If you watched the Bears defense at all last year there’s nothing I need to say here. He’s a monster (and I don’t want him to hurt me for not picking him).

Dylan: Aaron Donald, DL, Los Angeles Rams

Aaron Donald is the clear-cut best defensive lineman in football. Last season, Donald had 20.5 sacks as an interior pass rusher, which is unheard of. At only 28-years old, Donald should have no problem having the same impact on the field as last year.

Coach of the Year

Josh: John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens

Really like the Ravens chances this year with Lamar Jackson being handed the reins and their pick up of Earl Thomas. Think I see 11-5 this year and a coach of the year win.

Euan: Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers

In each of the last 4 seasons, the coach winning this award has led their team to at least 7 wins more than the season before. With Shanahan being one of the most talented offensive minds in the league, expect his 49er team to make a real push for double-digit wins with the return of starting Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Steve: Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

I don’t like this pick, but if the Browns actually have a good season as we all expect them too then he should come away with this award.

Mike: Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

For those that don’t know, I live in Cleveland and I hate the Browns so this one hurts. However, I understand how over-reactionary the NFL would be if the Browns were to make the playoffs. That’s *all* (easier said than done) they have to do for Freddie to be the coach of the year.

Dylan: Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

Freddie Kitchens entered last season as the offensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns. He grew internally and made a case to become the head coach. Now, he gets to utilize the talents of Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, and Nick Chubb on offense. Not to mention, Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, and Damarious Randall on defense. I expect the Browns to make a play for a high seed in the AFC this season.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Josh: Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals

They’re handing him the reins this year and he should thrive in this offense. Pretty high on Kyler and I can see him having a big year.

Euan: Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Having been given the keys to the team as the day 1 starter, Kyler Murray is in the driver’s seat to take home this year’s award. Whilst Arizona may not have a very successful season this year, new Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury should be able to put Kyler in good enough situations offensively for him to have a successful year and put up some impressive numbers for a first-year Quarterback.

Steve: Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals

This is a Kyler Stan account. This years number one pick will live up to expectation. His team won’t be good but he’ll be flashy enough to receive the votes.

Mike: Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals

In the past 12 years, there have been three quarterbacks drafted in the top 2 with incredible rushing abilities. All three went on to win OROY: Robert Griffin, Cam Newton, and Vince Young. Not only does Murray run, but he is a much better passer than all three of those players. Kyler Murray in the air raid system plus his rushing potential makes him an easy pick for ROY.

Dylan: David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears

Look, I know that Montgomery has to split time with Tarik Cohen. That still won’t stop me from putting him here. With Mitch Trubisky at quarterback and Montgomery filling out a Jordan Howard-type role (with a little extra pass-catching), it isn’t out of the question that Montgomery gets 220+ touches. If he can get that amount with at least average efficiency, Montgomery will look like a premier RB in the NFL. Similar to Kareem Hunt for Kansas City.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Euan: Brian Burns, OLB/DE, Carolina Panthers

Another homer pick but man he looked terrific in the preseason. I can see him easily starting this year and making a lot of noise as the Panthers switch to a 3-4.

Euan: Devin Bush, ILB, Pittsburgh Steelers

There may not have been a better fit in this past draft than Devin Bush going to the Pittsburgh Steelers at number 10 overall. After rave reviews coming out throughout training camp and the preseason, Bush looks poised to follow in the footsteps of the great AFC North Linebackers before him and help Pittsburgh work towards a bounce-back season after 2018 drama-filled campaign.

Steve: Brian Burns, OLB/DE, Carolina Panthers

The homer in me once again. Burns is already looking like he’s ready to bust out with a 15 sack season.

Mike: Josh Allen, OLB/DE, Jacksonville Jaguars

Allen joins the Jacksonville Jaguars defense, one of the best defenses in football. Allen’s versatility will allow him to play all over the field, and I expect the Jags to disguise him for easy playmaking opportunities. Now you put him in defense with Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, Calais Campbell, and Yannik Nagkoue? Good Lord.

Dylan: Quinnen Williams, DL, New York Jets

Covering the draft for the Queen’s guard, Williams was the top overall player on my big board. That said, he’s one of the best interior linemen I’ve seen play college football. He should have an impact on the Jets defense. I would expect somewhere between 6-8 sacks (which is spectacular for a rookie interior linemen (Aaron Donald had nine his rookie year).

Breakout Player Prediction

Josh: Curtis Samuel, WR, Carolina Panthers

WR1. This is the pick I believe in the most. Samuel is going to have a big year and all Panther fans know it. The guy has all the skills you want in an elite receiver and he’s going to put them on display. 1200 yds and 10 TDs this year at least.

Euan: Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

Cook was seen as one of the steals of the 2017 NFL Draft after falling out of the 1st round and eventually being selected 41st overall by the Vikings. However, injuries have plagued his first 2 seasons in the NFL along with having to share a backfield with other talented backs – but coming into 2019 Cook looks poised to be a major part of the Vikings offense as the no doubt number 1 ball carrier on the team. Should his body hold up, Cook will see some major work this season and has the opportunity to have a huge year as one of the league’s breakout stars.

Steve: Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans

I’m assuming everyone else will pick Curtis Samuel so I’ll go with Corey Davis. We all know who Davis is but he hasn’t quite lived up to being a top 5 draft pick yet. He had a solid 2018 season and is looking to build off of that. Expect him to make some noise this year.

Mike: Sam Darnold, QB, NY Jets

Sam Darnold’s rookie season overall wasn’t good totaling 2800 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 15 picks. However, once Darnold came back from his injury in week 14 it’s like the game slowed down for him entirely. Over the four-game stretch to end the season Darnold put up 80/125 (64%), 931 yards, six touchdowns, and one interception. With an upgraded receiving core, the addition of Leveon Bell, and QB friendly coach Adam Gase Darnold has the tools to break out this season.

Dylan: Dede Westbrook, Wide Receiver, Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bortles was not good at football. It’s as simple as that. Nick Foles is better at football. He may not be the inevitable savior of this football team, but Foles is for damn sure better than Blake Bortles. As a slot man, Westbrook’s main strength is on short throws towards the middle of the field. Bortles seldom threw over the middle. Nick Foles, however, thrives in that area. As the most talented pass-catcher on the Jaguars with a competent quarterback, it would not surprise me to see Westbrook go north of 1,000 yards with ten touchdowns. It may not be superstar numbers, but any team would love that production from one of their receivers.

Most Valuable Player

Josh: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

Homer pick obviously but I really do believe in this one. Cam has his best set of weapons since he’s been at Carolina and has improved his throwing mechanics. You can book 3500 yards and 35 TDs if he’s healthy.

Euan: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

After back to back seasons struggling with form and injury, I refuse to believe the best quarterback of all time will spend 3 consecutive years outside of the post-season. I expect Aaron to return with a vengeance in 2019 playing in Matt LaFleur’s more modern offense.

Steve: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

The homer in me is loud this season and I just can’t stray away from it. I want to put Patrick Mahomes here but I just can’t see a repeat happening and I feel as if a Brady/Brees fall off will happen. I think Newton is in the perfect position to have his team firing on all cylinders. He’s supposedly healthy, we know how good he was last year, was even in the MVP discussion before going down to injury. If Cam can return to that form and deliver a complete season with the added addition of actually being able to throw the ball further than 15 yards, then he could very well walk away with this award.

Mike: DeShaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans

I don’t know if people fully realize how unbelievable Deshaun Watson is. And now with running back Lamar Miller already out for the year with a torn ACL, there is more put on the plate of Watson to carry the load. He also has an incredible wide receiver room with Deandre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and Keke Coutee.

Dylan: DeShaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans

DeShaun Watson is an incredible football player with incredible talent at the wide receiver position with DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and Keke Coutee. The Houston Texans are also going to be forced to throw the ball more than they want to with franchise RB Lamar Miller out for the season with a torn ACL. Should the Texans clinch a top-3 seed in the AFC with Watson scoring 40+ total touchdowns (passing and rushing combined), he will have a great case to be crowned MVP.

Super Bowl Prediction

Josh: Panthers Win Over Patriots

We get our revenge. I’m all in on us this year.

Euan: Patriots Win Over Eagles

A rematch of the Super Bowl from 2 years ago where an offensive showdown ended up with the Eagles winning their first Championship in franchise history. I predict they won’t be so fortunate this time though, as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will work their way to another title as well as solidifying their already strong cases as the greatest Quarterback and Coach of all time.

Steve: Panthers Win Over Chiefs

Carolina gets back to the promised land led by MVP Cam Newton and this time to finish the job against last years MVP Patrick Mahomes and his Kansas City Chiefs. Speak it into existence am I right

Mike: Saints Win Over Chiefs

I’m a big believer in knowing when something is about to happen due to previous events. Astros winning the world series after Hurricane Harvey? Check. UNC basketball winning in 2017 after losing the previous year on a buzzer-beater? Check. Are the Saints missing out on a Super Bowl berth because of the worst no-call in NFL history? This seems like one of those moments.

Dylan: Texans Win Over Bears

Defense wins championships, and both of these teams have incredible defenses. Though the Texans may lose Jadaveon Clowney, they still have an incredible defense with JJ Watt, Whitney Mercilus, Jordan Reid, DJ Reader, and more. The Texans also have world-class talent at wide receiver along with one of the best pass-catching RBs in football. If they can put it all together, the Texans will be a force.

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