The 2018 NFL season has finally come to an end. With just Super Bowl 53 left to be played between the New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams, we look back at what a great season it was. The 2018 season saw a fury of young talent rush onto the scene as multiple rookies and second year players had major impacts to their teams. This year might’ve showed what the future of the NFL holds. Of course, until ”old man Brady” decides to hang it up which most teams are praying for. The time has come to hand out some well deserved hardware.
Defensive Rookie of The Year: Darius Leonard
Darius Leonard, second round pick, 36th overall in the 2018 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts exploded onto the scene making a huge impact on the defensive side of ball. Leonard led not just rookies, but the ENTIRE NFL in tackles with 163 total tackles and he wasn’t just a 1 trick pony. He was also ranked second among rookies in sacks with 7, and tied in 7th in interceptions with 2. Those numbers earned Leonard a spot not only on the AFC Pro-Bowl team but 1st Team All-Pro as well. The Colts were one of the worst defenses in 2017 that ranked 30th in points allowed but made the leap all the way to 10th in 2018 in large part cause of Leonard. Derwin James and Bradley Chubb made this a close race but Darius Leonard’s season was just too impressive not to give him this award. Darius Leonard is the 2018 NFL Defensive Rookie of The Year.
Offensive Rookie of The Year: Saquon Barkley
Saquon Barkley, 1st round pick, 2nd overall in the 2018 NFL Draft by the New York Giants was just as good as advertised coming out of college if not even better! Barkley had spectacular runs one after the other just about every week. Not only did he do damage rushing the ball but was just as deadly catching the ball out of the backfield. Barkley lead all rookies in rushing with 1,307 yards and ranked second in the whole NFL behind just Ezekiel Elliot. Barkley also lead all rookies in catches with 91 which broke the single season record by a rookie running back of 88 by Reggie Bush. Not only was Barkley eating up yardage but he was also getting in the end-zone ranking number 1 in rookies with 15 total touchdowns. There were a lot of rookies who had great seasons such as Baker Mayfield, Phillip Lindsay and Nick Chubbs but Saquon Barkley’s season was too spectacular not to give him this award. Saquon Barkley is the 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of The Year.
Comeback Player of The Year: Andrew Luck
After battling injuries the past 2 seasons, Andrew Luck was able to stay healthy and perform like the 1st overall pick he was drafted as. It was tough for Luck to stay healthy due to the fact that his offensive line couldn’t even block me for crying out loud, but now that the O-line woes seemed to have been sorted out, Luck was only sacked 18 times this season compared to the average of 31 times per season the previous 5 seasons. Luck finished the season 2nd in touchdown passes with 39 and 5th in passing yards with 4,593 yards. The Colts (10-6) clinched a playoff birth where they would go on to win their first round match-up on the road against the Texans but later lose in the divisional round to the mighty Chiefs. Luck is a runaway winner for this award and I don’t even see how anyone can make a case for another winner. Andrew Luck is the 2018 NFL Comeback Player of The Year.
Defensive Player of The Year: Aaron Donald
If you ever had a nightmare then I’m sure Aaron Donald was in it. Donald continues to wreak havoc on the defensive side of the ball and has basically become unblockable. After winning the Defensive Player of The Year award in 2017, Donald followed that up with an even BETTER season. Donald lead the league in sacks with 20.5 which was an NFL record for a Defensive Tackle. It has become mandatory to double team Donald and that still might not be able to stop him as he lead the league in QB pressures with 106. Donald was named starting defensive tackle for the NFC Pro-Bowl team and 1st Team All-Pro. Aaron Donald is the 2018 NFL Defensive Player of The Year and it will be unanimous.
Most Valuable Player & Offensive Player of The Year: Patrick Mahomes
Is this even a question? The most exciting player in the league in 2018 and most likely for the next 10 years, Patrick Mahomes was on FIRE all season!! After only playing 1 game in 2017, Mahomes took the wheel for the Chiefs in 2018 after they traded away starter Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins in the off-season and nobody is questioning that move. Mahomes threw for a league leading 50 touchdowns in his first full season in the NFL with 2 magical games in which he threw 6 touchdown passes. Mahomes also led the league in QBR (82.0) and finished 2nd in passing yards with 5,097. Those numbers led to Mahomes being named the AFC starting quarterback in the Pro-Bowl and 1st Team ALL-Pro. There wasn’t a throw that Mahomes couldn’t make, no matter what angle or what side of the field he was on, if a receiver was open he would get them the ball. The combination of Patrick Mahomes and Tyreke Hill had defenses scrambling and scared for their lives as a touchdown can come at any point in the game. The Kansas City Chiefs finished 12-4 and the number 1 seed in the AFC. MVP Mahomes is on the road to greatness and will win these awards multiple times in the near future. Patrick Mahomes is the 2018 Most Valuable Player & Offensive Player of The Year.
Coach of The Year: Andy Reid
Andy Reid led the Kansas City Chiefs to the #1 seed in the AFC and had the #1 offense in the league after making a big decision to trade away starter Alex Smith and going with the young gunslinger Patrick Mahomes.
*NFL Award show Saturday Feb. 2nd 9pm.