Just one day before the Super Bowl, the NFL awarded their players and coaches with top honors in their positions at the 2020 NFL Honors.
Pepsi Rookie of the Year/AP Defensive Rookie of the Year: Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers DE
Nick Bosa dominated through his first NFL season leading all rookies with nine sacks. In his first postseason, he’s recorded three sacks in two games. Hard to not believe this guy won’t be one of the best in the league in a few years.
FedEx Air and Ground Players of the Year: Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens QB (Air) and Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans RB (Ground)
Lamar Jackson had one of the most dominated seasons by a quarterback throwing for over 3,000 yards and rushing for 1,200 yards. No other quarterback has ever done that in history. Derrick Henry is starting to hit his stride as a starting running. Henry single-handedly carried the Titans to the AFC Title game. He led the league in rushing yards (1,540) and rushing touchdowns (16).
AP Defensive Player of the Year: Stephon Gilmore, New England Patriots CB
Signing Stephon Gilmore has silently become one of Bill Belichick’s best signings in New England. Gilmore shut down every receiver he covered and was one of the top corners in the league. He led the league in pass deflections (20) and interceptions (six).
AP Offensive Rookie of the Year: Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals QB
Despite what was a rough season for the Arizona Cardinals, Kyler Murray was a bright spot and developed nicely in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense in year one. Murray broke several franchise rookie records and carried the offense in several games. He racked up 4,266 total yards and 24 touchdowns.
AP Offensive Player of the Year: Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints WR
It was a historical season for Michael Thomas where he caught an NFL record 149 balls. Thomas also recorded 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns. He cemented his name as the best receiver in the NFL. There isn’t a pass that Thomas cannot make. He had one of the most dominate seasons as a receiver that fans have seen maybe since Jerry Rice.
AP Comeback Player of the Year: Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans QB
Talk about the perfect definition of comeback player of the year. Ryan Tannehill started the season as Marcus Mariotta’s backup as the team started 2-4. Tannehill jumps in as starter and takes the team to the AFC Championship game. He’s on his way to a big payday and looks to be the starter for awhile.
AP Assistant Coach of the Year: Greg Roman, Baltimore Ravens Offensive Coordinator
Greg Roman led one of the best offenses in the NFL. The Ravens were first in points per game (33.2), first in rushing yards, and second in total yards. Roman had two 1,000 yard rushers in Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram. He helped Jackson take a giant leap as a passer. He should be a head coaching candidate for years to come.
Deacon Jones Award: Shaquil Barrett, Tampa Bay Buccaneers DE
In his first five seasons with the Denver Broncos, Shaquil Barrett recorded 14 sacks in total. He moves to Tampa Bay and revives his career with a breakout season. He led the NFL with 19.5 sacks. A change of scenery seemed to be what Barrett needed.
AP Coach of the Year: Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh
Leading one of the top offenses and defenses in the league, John Harbaugh went from being on the hot seat just two years ago to being one of the best coaches in the league. He stuck to his guns with Lamar Jackson and traded beloved Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. The risk paid off. He now has one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Despite a quick exit from the playoffs, the Ravens look poised for dominance for years to come.
Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year presented by Nationwide: Calais Campbell, Jacksonville Jaguars DL
This is an award worth celebrating. Calais Campbell and his family started the CRC Foundation back in 2009 to help teach critical life skills to young people in the community. Campbell also started the Campbell’s Season of Giving in 2019 during which he donated $1,000 for every Jaguars win, $5,000 for each of his sacks, $2,500 for every half sack and $2,000 for every tackle for loss.
AP Most Valuable Player: Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens QB
Nobody has meant more to their team that Lamar Jackson has. He led the team in passing and rushing. That’s a had combination to accomplish. The team finished 14-2 and had the number one seed in the AFC Playoffs. If Jackson can get over the hump of the playoffs, the possibilities are endless for this team.