2019 NFL Season MVP, ROY, COY, DPOY Awards ‘Tournament’ (AFC West)
To name our award winners in the four main categories (MVP, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year), we are going to go through an entire division to launch one candidate in each category to a final 8 tournament…battling head to head with candidates, advancing a winner each round until we have one man left standing.
We’re going division by division to find our final eight candidates and then we’ll play it from there to find a winner.
Today’s division – the AFC West
KC = Patrick Mahomes
Everything changes with healthy Mahomes vs. out with a kneecap issue Mahomes vs. Mahomes coming back with a kneecap issue needing recovery/possible clean up surgery. Mahomes can win this year’s Super Bowl just by putting the team on his back.
OAK = Darren Waller
He was the pass game option. He was the player defenses eventually focused on trying to shut down as the season went on. Josh Jacobs was important, but Waller was irreplaceable.
DEN = Courtland Sutton
He became that #1 WR that I said he would be back in 2018…up to that point, I had said, he was the best WR prospect I’ve ever scouted with my eyes, and our computer model grades were strong as well. He became the centerpiece of the offense in 2019, the leader, the go-to.
LAC = Austin Ekeler
Starred as the lead back with Melvin Gordon holding out. Starred when Gordon came back. Somehow, a UDFA RB out of Western State has become a top producing NFL back…given the chance many other similarly talented backs could thrive in this role as well, but Ekeler got that chance and delivered in 2019.
WINNER = Waller and Sutton and Ekeler were nice but their teams could’ve had the same season without them. Whereas Mahomes is going to be a perpetual MVP for years to come. Mahomes was 11-3 as a starter this season with just 5 picks and only 2 lost fumbles. That game in the snow against Denver Week 15 was maybe one of the greatest QB performances I’ve ever seen. The winner is Patrick Mahomes.
Rookie of the Year:
KC = DB Juan Thornhill
Started 16 games and had 57 tackles, 3 interceptions and one for a TD return. As the Chiefs defense improved 2nd-half of the season, Thornhill seemed to be in the middle of a lot of action/plays.
OAK = DE Maxx Crosby
I started to put Josh Jacobs in without even thinking, and then as I looked at the 2019 draft list…I was embarrassed that I didn’t automatically think of Crosby. You could’ve got the same season Jacobs produced out of 50 backup/waiver wire RBs this season if they got that workload. But Crosby – 10.0 sacks, 16 TFLs, 4 forced fumbles, 46 tackles…heck, he almost had more sacks this season than the Raiders had all of 2018. It wasn’t because of Clelin Ferrell or scheme…it was Crosby being the force he was back at Eastern Michigan. He’s just a good-great player who plays with the dial at ‘10’ every play. When the Raiders made their midseason run it was Crosby starting to pressure the QB that changed the sad defense into something respectable.
DEN = OT Dalton Risner
This was a draft pick that will be easy to forget and then we’ll look back over time and realize it was a steal. Starter 16 games for Denver and is arguably the best OL prospect from this draft.
LAC = LB Drue Tranquill
In the disaster known as the Chargers’ 2019 NFL Draft, a college safety pushed to linebacker played about 40-60% of the snaps in games this season, and therefore qualifies as the best rookie for LAC in 2019. Yikes.
WINNER = Hands down it is Maxx Crosby. Thornhill and Risner were good but you could see/feel the difference Crosby made, watching the games, when he became the starter (and when he came off the field, how fast the pass rush went dark).
Coach of the Year:
KC = D-C Steve Spagnuolo
People were wanting him fired by midseason…”KC can’t win because they have no defense,” the experts said. Did they apologize after the Chiefs help opponents to 11.5 PPG their final six games of 2019…a six-game win streak and run to get the #2 seed? Nope. They just move on to start a new irresponsible fire on whatever wasn’t working that very moment to their liking.
OAK = HC Jon Gruden
Oakland had a serious chance to earn a wild card with 6 games left in the season, and then they blew it. They even had a chance at the very end/Week 17, but that longshot never materialized. Who thought Oakland had any chance at a wild card when this season began? No one.
DEN = O-C Rich Scangarello
My winner…got fired after one season. I liked Scangarello’s play calling and some of his unique setups/play calls – trying to use the guys he should – like jet sweeps with Noah Fant and option passes with Courtland Sutton, etc. It was the defense that failed Denver early on and they couldn’t fully recover. The offense played well enough to be a contender and won four of their last 5 games…which is amazing considering going through three QBs and multiple O-Line injuries and various WR injuries/a trade away of Emmanuel Sanders.
LAC = none
This was a pathetic season from a pathetic coaching staff -- I cannot find one guy to laud…they should’ve all been fired. They weren’t. Enjoy Chargers fan…if such a thing exists.
WINNER = What Jon Gruden did considering the Antonio Brown chaos in the preseason…it was a near-miracle. This was a tough-out team that wasn’t lucky – they played smart, they used what they had, they out-planned teams considering the Raiders lack of talent across the board in many games. I thought Gruden would be Coach of the Year after the 1st-half of the season, but a weak finish put a damper on that.
Defensive Player of the Year:
KC = DE Frank Clark
Battled injuries all year, missed a few games, played hurt…and still got 8.0 sacks and 12 TFLs along with 4 PDs and 3 forced fumbles…in 14 games. When he’s healthy he makes a huge difference.
OAK = DE Maxx Crosby
Total game changer player for the Raiders. A defensive standout on a bad defense…and he carried them to some wins by his sheer presence/pressure.
DEN = CB Chris Harris
As good a corner as there is in the NFL. One of the five best shut down CBs still, I think.
LAC = DE Joey Bosa
Someone had to win. 11.5 sacks in what felt like a very quiet year. I don’t think Bosa is a big impact player, but I don’t have anyone else from that defense that stood out. At least Bosa registered sacks.
WINNER = It’s between Crosby and Harris, and I’ll go Harris. Denver had a ton of key defensive injuries this season, and yet they were running top 5 in pass defense, before flaming out late…but still good and were a top 10 PPG allowed defense. Harris made a difference on a good defense, statistically…whereas Crosby was great on a terrible defense – so, I give the nod to Chris Harris.
Tomorrow we look at the AFC North.
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