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The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

2023–24 NFL Honors predictions

Photo+by+Adrian+Curiel+on+Unsplash
Photo by Adrian Curiel on Unsplash

Editor’s Note: This article was written prior to NFL games on Sunday, Nov. 26.

 

After eleven weeks, it seems appropriate to make early end-of-season predictions for the NFL Honors. So, having already passed the halfway point in the NFL regular season, below are The UCSD Guardian’s picks to win each NFL Honors award.

 

Offensive Rookie of the Year: C.J. Stroud

C.J. Stroud has taken the NFL by storm this year. The rookie sensation set an NFL record for passing yards in a single game by a first-year quarterback with 470 yards in Week 9 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In that game, Stroud also became just the third quarterback in NFL history to throw for that many yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions. He even led a go-ahead touchdown drive in the final minute of the game to put the Texans ahead 39–37 with six seconds left in regulation.

 

Stroud has turned a 3–13 Texans team with no expectations into a Wild Card contender, with an outside chance at the AFC South title. After such a quick turnaround, Stroud’s name has even been thrown into the MVP discussion, although that may be premature. 

 

Nevertheless, Stroud has changed life in Houston, and he deserves to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.

 

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Jalen Carter

Jalen Carter has wreaked so much havoc in his first season that opponents double-team him over Pro Bowlers like Haason Reddick, who had sixteen sacks last season.

 

The former Georgia Bulldog has four sacks, two forced fumbles, and a near spiked-ball interception through the first nine games of his career. Carter is a freak athlete, capturing every offensive coordinator’s attention despite playing far fewer snaps than the average top-ten draft pick. 

 

Carter was ranked the No. 1 player in the 2023 NFL Draft but fell to the Eagles due to off-the-field concerns. So far, the risk to reward-ratio has looked pretty good if you’re an Eagles fan. Carter will be a game wrecker for years to come, and he deserves the 2023-24 Defensive Rookie of the Year.

 

Offensive Player of the Year: Tyreek Hill

Tyreek Hill is not only the runaway favorite to win Offensive Player of the Year, but he is also a worthy candidate for MVP. Hill is on pace to shatter Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving yards record (1,964). Hill must average 112.6 yards per game over the next six games to reach 2,000 receiving yards.

 

49ers running back Christian McCaffrey is a close runner-up, though. He has sixteen scores through eleven games, including eleven rushing touchdowns and five receiving touchdowns. McCaffrey’s 48 receptions for 389 yards, coupled with his league-best 939 rushing yards, make him the most prolific all-around back in the NFL.

 

However, if Tyreek Hill breaks the all-time receiving record, the committee cannot give the award to McCaffrey. The Cheetah deserves to win Offensive Player of the Year … and maybe even MVP.

 

Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Garrett

Myles Garrett is the best defensive player in the NFL. In Week 7, the Browns traveled to Indianapolis to take on the Colts, and Myles Garrett had the game of his life. He recorded seven tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, and one blocked field goal, where he hurdled the entire Colts’ offensive line to reach the kicker. Garrett is an astounding athlete who also leads the NFL with thirteen sacks and ranks second with four forced fumbles.

 

TJ Watt currently has 11.5 sacks, and Maxx Crosby has 10.5. If Watt or Crosby overtake Garrett later in the season, the race for DPOY will be very interesting. Until then, Garrett should be the favorite to win the award, as he is the leader of the best defense in the NFL.

 

Coach of the Year: DeMeco Ryans

DeMeco Ryans, a rookie head coach, has completely flipped the script in Houston. Last year, the Texans ranked 31st in total offense, 30th in total defense, and 13th in special teams. Through eleven weeks this year under Ryans, the Texans rank fourth in total offense, 19th in total defense, and fourth in special teams.

 

Ryans has turned last year’s 3–13 team into a playoff contender seemingly overnight. He proves pundits wrong week by week, and if Ryans can build a defense to go along with Stroud’s high-powered offense, the Texans will be a threat in the AFC for years to come.

 

Comeback Player of the Year: Tua Tagovailoa 

Tua Tagovailoa led MVP talks after Week 3 of the NFL season, and despite the Dolphins’ struggles against top teams, the southpaw is still in the MVP race. He ranks third in passing yards, second in passing touchdowns, and third in completion percentage. Tua and the Dolphins lead the league in passing yards, rushing yards, and total yards per game. They also rank second in total points per game (30.8).

 

Tua played just thirteen games last season due to multiple concussion injuries. His most notable injury came in Cincinnati, where he laid flat on the grass, seemingly without control of his extremities. Considering the severity of his concussions over the years, there were many doubts that he would ever play football again. Nevertheless, Tua has played the best football of his career in 2023, and he deserves to win the Comeback Player of the Year.

 

Some may argue that Damar Hamlin should win this award. Unfortunately, while it is a miracle that Hamlin has returned to the NFL after his life-threatening injury, the safety has not played enough snaps this season to justify a “comeback.” Hamlin has played in only two of Buffalo’s ten games this season, and he has registered just one tackle.

 

Damar Hamlin’s story should be celebrated, but Tua Tagovailoa is the 2023–24 Comeback Player of the Year.

 

Most Valuable Player: Jalen Hurts (by default).

 

The Philadelphia Eagles are an NFL best 9–1 this season, and their quarterback, by default, should win the MVP. 

 

If the Eagles finish as the No. 1 seed in the NFC for a second straight year, it will be nearly impossible to deny Hurts the MVP for a second consecutive year. Hurts has turned AJ Brown into an offensive player of the year candidate, and their connection, albeit inconsistent, is as potent as any quarterback-receiver combination in the NFL.

 

Hurts has proven to be an elite leader, clutch performer, and the ultimate winner. He and the Eagles have found themselves behind late in games countless times this season, and they simply find ways to win. Hurts will not shatter any records, nor will he throw for the most yards or have the highest completion percentage, but he is a winner. It may be by default, but Jalen Hurts deserves the 2023–24 NFL MVP.

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About the Contributor
Wyatt Bose, Staff Writer
Wyatt is a first-year political science student, an ardent sports-watcher, an impassioned Philadelphia sports fan, and the founder of his sports blog, "The Cogent Column."
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