Analysis

2020 NFL season award picks: Analysts vote on MVP, Coach of the Year, more

This Saturday, Feb. 6, Steve Harvey will host the 10th edition of NFL Honors, which will be nationally televised on CBS at 9 p.m. ET. The annual event features the announcement of the Associated Press awards and the newest Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

Before the official hardware is handed out, our analysts provide their picks for the major individual awards:

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Rank
1
Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers · QB

(28 votes: Baldinger, Battista, Bergman, Bhanpuri, Blair, Brandt, Carr, Casserly, Chadiha, Filice, Frelund, Grant, Hall, Hanzus, Jones-Drew, Lewis, Mariucci, McGinest, O'Hara, Parr, Patra, Pioli, Ross, Sessler, Shook, Smith, Thomas, Zierlein)

2) Patrick Mahomes (4 votes: Burleson, Cersosimo, Rank, Rosenthal)

3) Derrick Henry (1 vote: Davis)


Why Judy Battista chose Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers' regular season -- remember, that is what is being honored here -- was simply out of this world. He led the league in completion percentage (70.7 percent), passing touchdowns (48), interception percentage (a microscopic 0.95 with just five interceptions in 526 pass attempts) and quarterback rating (121.5). His rating was the second-best EVER, behind only himself in 2011 (122.5). Even the mesmerizing Mahomes, who will win many more MVPs in his career, took a back seat to Rodgers this time.  

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Rank
1
Derrick Henry
Tennessee Titans · RB

(19 votes: Baldinger, Battista, Bergman, Bhanpuri, Blair, Brandt, Cersosimo, Chadiha, Filice, Hall, Hanzus, Jones-Drew, Mariucci, McGinest, Patra, Ross, Shook, Thomas, Zierlein)

2) Aaron Rodgers (4 votes: Casserly, Davis, Rank, Smith)

T-3) Josh Allen (2 votes: Grant, Sessler)

T-3) Stefon Diggs (2 votes: Burleson, Frelund)

T-3) Alvin Kamara (2 votes: Carr, O'Hara)

T-3) Travis Kelce (2 votes: Lewis, Parr)

7) Patrick Mahomes (1 vote: Pioli)


Why Maurice Jones-Drew chose Derrick Henry: There wasn't much Henry didn't do this season. He led the league in every major rushing category, including carries (378), yards (2,027), touchdowns (17), forced missed tackles (75) and yards after contact (1,490). King Henry has dominated the rushing ranks for two consecutive seasons and was undoubtedly the best offensive player in the NFL in 2020, as evidenced by his league-high 2,141 scrimmage yards. If I'm being honest, Henry should be in the MVP mix after what he accomplished this season.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Rank
1
Aaron Donald
Los Angeles Rams · DT

(15 votes: Bergman, Bhanpuri, Blair, Casserly, Chadiha, Filice, Frelund, Hall, Jones-Drew, Parr, Pioli, Rank, Rosenthal, Smith, Thomas)

2) T.J. Watt (14 votes: Battista, Brandt, Cersosimo, Davis, Grant, Hanzus, Mariucci, McGinest, O'Hara, Patra, Ross, Sessler, Shook, Zierlein)

3) Xavien Howard (4 votes: Baldinger, Burleson, Carr, Lewis)


Why Adam Rank chose Aaron Donald: If you're still trying to determine how freakin' good Donald was in the regular season, just take a look back at the Rams' defense in the NFC Divisional Round when Donald was barely there due to injury. I know a lot of people wanted to gush over Aaron Rodgers "dominating" the top defense in the league, but the top defense in the league isn't the top defense in the league when Donald isn't right. It was a lot like watching Hot Tub Time Machine 2. Sure, Adam Scott is great, but he's not John Cusack.

OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Rank
1
Justin Herbert
Los Angeles Chargers · QB

(21 votes: Battista, Bergman, Bhanpuri, Blair, Brandt, Burleson, Carr, Casserly, Chadiha, Filice, Hanzus, Lewis, Mariucci, O'Hara, Parr, Patra, Rosenthal, Ross, Sessler, Thomas, Zierlein)

2) Justin Jefferson (10 votes: Cersosimo, Davis, Frelund, Grant, Hall, Jones-Drew, McGinest, Pioli, Shook, Smith)

T-3) Jonathan Taylor (1 vote: Rank)

T-3) Tristan Wirfs (1 vote: Baldinger)


Why Jeffri Chadiha chose Justin Herbert: Herbert was thrown into emergency duty in Week 2 and wound up being everything the Chargers hoped he'd become over the course of his rookie year. The numbers -- 4,336 pass yards, 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions -- indicate that he's already on a path to stardom.

DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Rank
1
Chase Young
Washington Football Team · DE

(29 votes: Baldinger, Battista, Bergman, Bhanpuri, Blair, Brandt, Burleson, Carr, Casserly, Cersosimo, Chadiha, Davis, Filice, Frelund, Grant, Hall, Hanzus, Jones-Drew, Mariucci, McGinest, Parr, Patra, Rank, Rosenthal, Ross, Sessler, Shook, Thomas, Zierlein)

2) Jeremy Chinn (3 votes: O'Hara, Pioli, Smith)

3) L'Jarius Sneed (1 vote: Lewis)


Why Charley Casserly chose Chase Young: There was already a lot of hype surrounding the No. 2 overall pick coming into the season, and as Young got more experience, he become a player opposing offenses had to build their game plan around. He'll be a perennial Pro Bowler.

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Rank
1
Alex Smith
Washington Football Team · QB

UNANIMOUS SELECTION


Why David Carr chose Alex Smith: It never really mattered what Smith did on the field this season -- though I will point out he was 5-1 as a starter. It was all about his journey back to the gridiron after a gruesome injury required 17 surgeries to save his leg. More than deserving of a unanimous vote, Smith's story is nothing short of miraculous and so inspiring that maybe this award should now be called the "Alex Smith Comeback Player of the Year Award." 

COACH OF THE YEAR

Rank
1
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski looks on from the sidelines during an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Pittsburgh. Positive COVID-19 tests have knocked Stefanski out of Cleveland's wild-card game at Pittsburgh on Sunday night — the Browns' first playoff appearance since the 2002 season. (AP Photo/Justin Berl, File)
Kevin Stefanski
Cleveland Browns

(14 votes: Baldinger, Battista, Bergman, Blair, Brandt, Burleson, Chadiha, Hall, Jones-Drew, Mariucci, Rank, Sessler, Shook, Thomas)

2) Sean McDermott (8 votes: Filice, Frelund, Grant, Lewis, O'Hara, Patra, Pioli, Zierlein)

3) Brian Flores (4 votes: McGinest, Rosenthal, Ross, Smith)

T-4) Bruce Arians (3 votes: Bhanpuri, Casserly, Davis)

T-4) Ron Rivera (3 votes: Cersosimo, Hanzus, Parr)

6) Andy Reid (1 vote: Carr)

Why Marc Sessler chose Kevin Stefanski: I give Stefanski a slight edge over worthy candidates such as Sean McDermott and Brian Flores. The first-year head coach maximized Baker Mayfield and turned the Browns into a watchable playoff squad during the most off-kilter season in modern NFL history.

HOW EACH ANALYST VOTED

Table inside Article
Analyst MVP OPOY DPOY OROY DROY CPOY COTY
Brian Baldinger Aaron Rodgers Derrick Henry Xavien Howard Tristan Wirfs Chase Young Alex Smith Kevin Stefanski
Judy Battista Aaron Rodgers Derrick Henry T.J. Watt Justin Herbert Chase Young Alex Smith Kevin Stefanski
Jeremy Bergman Aaron Rodgers Derrick Henry Aaron Donald Justin Herbert Chase Young Alex Smith Kevin Stefanski
Ali Bhanpuri Aaron Rodgers Derrick Henry Aaron Donald Justin Herbert Chase Young Alex Smith Bruce Arians
Tom Blair Aaron Rodgers Derrick Henry Aaron Donald Justin Herbert Chase Young Alex Smith Kevin Stefanski
Gil Brandt Aaron Rodgers Derrick Henry T.J. Watt Justin Herbert Chase Young Alex Smith Kevin Stefanski
Nate Burleson Patrick Mahomes Stefon Diggs Xavien Howard Justin Herbert Chase Young Alex Smith Kevin Stefanski
David Carr Aaron Rodgers Alvin Kamara Xavien Howard Justin Herbert Chase Young Alex Smith Andy Reid
Charley Casserly Aaron Rodgers Aaron Rodgers Aaron Donald Justin Herbert Chase Young Alex Smith Bruce Arians
Brooke Cersosimo Patrick Mahomes Derrick Henry T.J. Watt Justin Jefferson Chase Young Alex Smith Ron Rivera
Jeffri Chadiha Aaron Rodgers Derrick Henry Aaron Donald Justin Herbert Chase Young Alex Smith Kevin Stefanski
Terrell Davis Derrick Henry Aaron Rodgers T.J. Watt Justin Jefferson Chase Young Alex Smith Bruce Arians
Gennaro Filice Aaron Rodgers Derrick Henry Aaron Donald Justin Herbert Chase Young Alex Smith Sean McDermott
Cynthia Frelund Aaron Rodgers Stefon Diggs Aaron Donald Justin Jefferson Chase Young Alex Smith Sean McDermott
Marcas Grant Aaron Rodgers Josh Allen T.J. Watt Justin Jefferson Chase Young Alex Smith Sean McDermott
DeAngelo Hall Aaron Rodgers Derrick Henry Aaron Donald Justin Jefferson Chase Young Alex Smith Kevin Stefanski
Dan Hanzus Aaron Rodgers Derrick Henry T.J. Watt Justin Herbert Chase Young Alex Smith Ron Rivera
Maurice Jones-Drew Aaron Rodgers Derrick Henry Aaron Donald Justin Jefferson Chase Young Alex Smith Kevin Stefanski
Rhett Lewis Aaron Rodgers Travis Kelce Xavien Howard Justin Herbert L'Jarius Sneed Alex Smith Sean McDermott
Steve Mariucci Aaron Rodgers Derrick Henry T.J. Watt Justin Herbert Chase Young Alex Smith Kevin Stefanski
Willie McGinest Aaron Rodgers Derrick Henry T.J. Watt Justin Jefferson Chase Young Alex Smith Brian Flores
Shaun O'Hara Aaron Rodgers Alvin Kamara T.J. Watt Justin Herbert Jeremy Chinn Alex Smith Sean McDermott
Dan Parr Aaron Rodgers Travis Kelce Aaron Donald Justin Herbert Chase Young Alex Smith Ron Rivera
Kevin Patra Aaron Rodgers Derrick Henry T.J. Watt Justin Herbert Chase Young Alex Smith Sean McDermott
Scott Pioli Aaron Rodgers Patrick Mahomes Aaron Donald Justin Jefferson Jeremy Chinn Alex Smith Sean McDermott
Adam Rank Patrick Mahomes Aaron Rodgers Aaron Donald Jonathan Taylor Chase Young Alex Smith Kevin Stefanski
Gregg Rosenthal Patrick Mahomes No vote Aaron Donald Justin Herbert Chase Young Alex Smith Brian Flores
Marc Ross Aaron Rodgers Derrick Henry T.J. Watt Justin Herbert Chase Young Alex Smith Brian Flores
Marc Sessler Aaron Rodgers Josh Allen T.J. Watt Justin Herbert Chase Young Alex Smith Kevin Stefanski
Nick Shook Aaron Rodgers Derrick Henry T.J. Watt Justin Jefferson Chase Young Alex Smith Kevin Stefanski
Steve Smith Sr. Aaron Rodgers Aaron Rodgers Aaron Donald Justin Jefferson Jeremy Chinn Alex Smith Brian Flores
Joe Thomas Aaron Rodgers Derrick Henry Aaron Donald Justin Herbert Chase Young Alex Smith Kevin Stefanski
Lance Zierlein Aaron Rodgers Derrick Henry T.J. Watt Justin Herbert Chase Young Alex Smith Sean McDermott

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