NFL Awards 2020: The MMQB’s Picks for MVP, Rookies of the Year, Coach of the Year and More

MMQB staffers vote on the league's best players on both sides of the ball, plus coaches, comeback players and more.
Author:
Publish date:

The MMQB's eight-member panel has voted for our choices to win the NFL's major awards. Unlike the AP awards, we do a top-five ballot for every award, awarding five points for a first-place vote, four points for a second-place vote, etc.

Greg Bishop, Senior Writer
Albert Breer, Senior NFL Reporter
Andrew Brandt, Business of Football Columnist
Gary Gramling, Senior Editor
Mitch Goldich, Editor/Writer
Conor Orr, Staff Writer
Michael Rosenberg, Senior Writer
Jenny Vrentas, Senior Writer

Here are our 2020 award winners for eight different NFL honors.

2020-mmqb-nfl-awards-rodgers-henry-donald-smith

MVP

1. Aaron Rodgers: 39 points (7 firsts, 1 second)
2. Patrick Mahomes: 31 points (7 seconds, 1 third)
3. Josh Allen: 23 points (7 thirds, 1 fourth)
4. Derrick Henry: 13 points (1 first, 2 fourths, 4 fifths)
T-5. Tom Brady: 5 points (1 fourth, 3 fifths)
T-5. Deshaun Watson: 5 points (2 fourths, 1 fifth)
T-7. Davante Adams: 2 points (1 fourth)
T-7. Lamar Jackson: 2 points (1 fourth)

The race is much tighter than the near-unanimous decision for Aaron Rodgers would indicate, but most of The MMQB staff was surely swayed by one last chance to vote a non-Patrick Mahomes MVP in their lifetimes. Derrick Henry, not Mahomes, received the final first-place vote—surely bulletin board material for the now downtrodden Chiefs QB, who would otherwise be disinterested in winning the Super Bowl again—and Davante Adams was the only other non-QB to get in on the fun.

* * *

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

1. Derrick Henry: 34 points (5 firsts, 1 second, 1 third, 1 fourth)
2. Aaron Rodgers: 18 points (2 firsts, 2 seconds)
3. Stefon Diggs: 16 points (2 seconds, 2 thirds)
4. Travis Kelce: 15 points (1 first, 1 second, 1 third, 1 fourth, 1 fifth)
5. Patrick Mahomes: 14 points (2 seconds, 2 thirds)
6. Davante Adams: 10 points (2 thirds, 1 fourth, 2 fifths)
7. Alvin Kamara: 6 points (2 fourths, 2 fifths)
T-8. Josh Allen: 2 points (1 fourth)
T-8. Dalvin Cook: 2 points (1 fourth)
T-8. Darren Waller: 2 points (1 fourth)
11. Wyatt Teller: 1 point (1 fifth)

Most of the staff took this as an opportunity to vote “best non-QB,” as the OPOY award continues to confuse many and delight few. Derrick Henry was the only player to appear on all eight ballots. By position, Henry was the top running back, Stefon Diggs the No. 1 receiver, Travis Kelce led tight ends and Wyatt Teller was the lone vote-getter among offensive linemen.

* * *

aaron-donald-sacks-russell-wilson

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

1. Aaron Donald: 37 points (5 firsts, 3 seconds)
2. T.J. Watt: 35 points (3 firsts, 5 seconds)
3. DeForest Buckner: 14 points (3 thirds, 2 fourths, 1 fifth)
4. Myles Garrett: 11 points (2 thirds, 1 fourth, 3 fifths)
5. Khalil Mack: 9 points (2 thirds, 1 fourth, 1 fifth)
6. Xavien Howard: 8 points (1 third, 2 fourths, 1 fifth)
7. Jalen Ramsey: 5 points (2 fourths, 1 fifth)
8. Fred Warner: 1 point (1 fifth)

It was a two-man race, with Aaron Donald and T.J. Watt bogarting all first- and second-place votes, coming one away from splitting the award. Ultimately, Donald took the award for the 412th time in his career. One year after Stephon Gilmore won this honor, only two defensive backs received votes: Xavien Howard and Jalen Ramsey.

* * *

OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

1. Justin Herbert: 39 points (7 firsts, 1 second)
2. Justin Jefferson: 33 points (1 first, 7 seconds)
T-3. Joe Burrow: 14 points (3 thirds, 2 fourths, 1 fifth)
T-3. Jonathan Taylor: 14 points (3 thirds, 2 fourth 1 fifth)
5. Tristan Wirfs: 7 points (1 third, 4 fifths)
6. James Robinson: 5 points (2 fourths, 1 fifth)
7. Mekhi Becton: 4 points (2 fourths)
8. Michael Onwenu: 3 points (1 third)
9. Jedrick Wills Jr: 1 point (1 fifth)

Positional value won out as Justin Herbert took seven of the eight first-place votes. Justin Jefferson was the lone vote-getter among the celebrated receiver draft class of 2020. Outraged senior editor Gary Gramling remarks, “Draft-slot bias is alive and well on the offensive line, with Tristan Wirfs (13th overall) and Mekhi Becton (11th overall) getting more love than the superior Mike Onwenu (182nd overall).”

* * *

The Weak-Side Podcast now has its own feed! Subscribe to listen to Conor Orr and Jenny Vrentas every week. 

* * *

DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

1. Chase Young: 40 points (8 firsts)
2. Jeremy Chinn: 30 points (7 seconds, 1 fourth)
3. Antoine Winfield Jr.: 18 points (4 thirds, 2 fourths, 2 fifths)
4. Julian Blackmon: 17 points (1 second, 1 third, 4 fourths, 2 fifths)
5. Patrick Queen: 10 points (2 thirds, 4 fifths)
6. L’Jarius Sneed: 3 points (1 third)
7. Kyle Dugger: 2 points (1 fourth)

Welp, the race for second was close. Jeremy Chinn managed to grab the runner-up spot and accompanying $5 Panera gift card. He and fellow safeties Antoine Winfield Jr. and Julian Blackmon appeared on all eight ballots along with Chase Young.

* * *

kevin-stefanski-cleveland-browns-coach-of-the-year-candidate

COACH OF THE YEAR

1. Kevin Stefanski: 29 points (2 firsts, 2 seconds, 3 thirds, 1 fourth)
2. Sean McDermott: 27 points (2 firsts, 2 seconds, 3 thirds)
3. Matt LaFleur: 21 points (2 firsts, 2 seconds, 1 third)
4. Brian Flores: 17 points (1 first, 1 third, 4 fourths, 1 fifth)
5. Mike Tomlin: 9 points (2 second, 2 fourths, 1 fifth)
T-6. Sean Payton: 6 points (1 second, 2 fifths)
T-6. Ron Rivera: 6 points (1 first, 1 fifth)
8. Andy Reid: 3 points (1 fourth, 1 fifth)
T-9. Joe Judge: 1 point (1 fifth)
T-9. Frank Reich: 1 point (1 fifth)

For exorcising the Cleveland Browns’ demons, Kevin Stefanski edged out Sean McDermott as the people’s choice, while Matt LaFleur will have to go cry into his 26-6 career record and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Brian Flores and Joe Judge were the only coaches from non-playoff teams to receive votes.

* * *

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

1. Alex Smith: 35 points (7 firsts)
2. Garett Bolles: 17 points (3 seconds, 1 third, 1 fifth)
T-3. Trent Williams: 13 points (1 second, 2 thirds, 1 fourth, 1 fifth)
T-3. Jason Verrett: 13 points (1 first, 1 second, 1 third, 1 fifth)
5. Rob Gronkowski: 10 points (1 third, 3 fourths, 1 fifth)
6. Rigoberto Sanchez: 8 points (2 seconds, 1 fifth)
T-7. Xavier Rhodes: 8 points (2 thirds, 1 fourth)
T-7. Ben Roethlisberger: 8 points (1 second, 1 third, 1 fifth)
9. Drew Brees: 5 points (2 fourths, 1 fifth)
10. J.J. Watt: 2 points (1 fourth)
11. Younghoe Koo: 1 point (1 fifth)

Smith’s inspiring comeback overwhelms the Football Team’s less-than-inspiring play on offense, as the CPOY votes were, as usual, a mix of players returning from injury, players who improved their play over last year, and the obligatory Younghoe Koo appearance.