Who will win NFL MVP in 2021?
By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)
With the 2021 NFL season less than three months away, now is a good time to take a look at some of the season-long individual awards and predict who will win each one. The betting odds used in this article are according to the Draft Kings Sportsbook.
MVP: Josh Allen (+1000)
Quarterback Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills is currently the co-second favorite with Aaron Rodgers behind only Patrick Mahomes (+400) to win the NFL MVP this upcoming season. Allen had an incredible 2020 season and ranked towards the top of the NFL in almost every statistical passing category. He was 5th in passing yards with 4544, 5th in passing touchdowns with 37, 4th in completion percentage with 69.2, 3rd in QBR with 81.7, and 4th in rating with 107.2. He also chipped in an additional 421 yards and 8 touchdowns in the rushing game.
This was a true breakout season for Allen. He played exponentially better than he did in his first two seasons and there is a great reason to believe that he will be as good or better this upcoming year. The Bills organization is committed to him and his development, and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has designed the offensive scheme specifically for him to succeed. They play according to his strengths and have built and very solid offensive around him.
This offseason they have continued to improve their offensive line and also signed Emmanuel Sanders as an additional weapon in the passing game. With another year of chemistry with the players on the roster last year, as well as the coaching staff, the future looks extremely bright for Allen. He is the main reason why the Bills are one of the favorites to win it all heading into this season and it will be exciting to see if he can build off of his breakout season.
Throwing accuracy was the biggest issue in his first two seasons but he actually turned it into a strength last year when he had the third-best completion percentage in the entire NFL. If he has really fixed that problem with his game, he is one of the most dangerous weapons in the league and will be that way for many years to come. All signs point to another huge year for Allen. The NFL MVP award this season is well within his reach.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Justin Fields (+700)
When the Chicago Bears selected Justin Fields out of Ohio State with the 11th overall pick in the NFL Draft it was not to be a backup to Andy Dalton, but to be the starter and the quarterback of the future. Even if Fields is not the week one starter, which he may or may not be, he will almost definitely take over the job very early in the season. He was an absolute superstar in college and could be considered a steal where he was drafted, especially considering he was a projected second overall pick for about two full years.
Fields is now in a favorable situation in Chicago on a Bears team that just made the playoffs last year. The biggest problem for them last season was the absolutely terrible quarterback play so Fields has a real shot to be a solution there. He will operate in an offense with a superstar wide receiver in Allen Robinson and a breakout running back in David Montgomery. Fields is set up for success and has a real chance to make a statement right away.
Trevor Lawrence (+400) is the favorite to win the award, which is fair because of his astronomical talent and being the first overall pick, but he is on a Jaguars team that has a serious lack of talent and that could really hold him back a bit initially. Najee Harris (+500) will be sharing the workload in Pittsburgh and is on a pass-heavy team while Trey Lance (+600) is in a quarterback competition with Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco. All things considered, Fields is the best bet to take home the award right now.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Micah Parsons (+500)
Drafted 12th overall out of Penn State by the Dallas Cowboys, Micah Parsons is a truly unique defensive weapon with a very wide skill set. He has the ability to contribute in a number of ways and has no real weaknesses in his game. He can rush the passer, help in run defense, and is solid in pass coverage as well. He can line up at multiple positions and provides excellent versatility. He is the betting favorite to win the award and rightfully so.
Parsons will join a Dallas defensive unit that already features DeMarcus Lawrence and Jaylon Smith. New defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will be able to be very creative with his defensive schemes and use Parsons all over the field in different ways. Quinn is a highly respected defensive coach and found a ton of success in Seattle as the main facilitator of the famous Legion of Boom. He can be trusted to get the best out of Parsons and if he plays up to his full potential then he has a great chance to win the award.
Defensive Player of the Year: Derwin James (+2500)
After Derwin James was selected 17th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Chargers, the extremely versatile safety out of Florida State made an immediate impact. He quickly became not only one of the top rookies in his class, but one of the best defensive players in the entire league. In fact, a very strong case can be made that he is already the best safety in the NFL. He filled the stat sheet for the defense of the Chargers and contributed in a wide variety of ways his rookie season. He accounted for 105 tackles, 3 interceptions, 3.5 sacks, and 13 passes defended.
His incredible season earned him a selection as a first-team All-Pro. Additionally, he received consideration for both Defensive Rookie of the Year and even Defensive Player of the Year. This was obviously an amazing year for James and the fact that it was just his rookie season made it even more impressive. Fair expectations can be made that we haven’t even seen the best version of him yet and that is a very exciting concept for the potential of his future.
Unfortunately, he missed almost the entire next two seasons due to injury. The wait for his return is now over as James is fully recovered and ready to go for the 2021 campaign. As long as he can stay healthy this year, and is able to get back to his usual form, James will resume being one of the best defensive players in the NFL. His unique skill set allows him to contribute in every defensive aspect and he truly is one of a kind player in the league right now. Nobody can do what he does on the level he does it and that’s what makes him so special. He is currently the 8th favorite according to betting odds but it would be no surprise at all if he won the award when it’s all said and done this year.