2014 NFL Player of Year Awards: #PTP Style

Now that the NFL regular season is over, and the time for all post season awards is coming up, I decided to do my own award piece to give props to a great NFL football season.

After polling approximately 25 knowledgeable NFL fans, writers and other sources, I have compiled a list of great NFL players deserving of a post season award. The categories are:

  1. Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year
  2. MVP
  3. Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year
  4. Best Free Agent Pickup of 2014
  5. Fantasy Football Player of the Year
  6. The Most Regressed Player of the Year

With a talented class of players, the 2014 draft class will go down in history as one of the richest drafts for talent that was able to produce right away. With multiple wide receivers taking starting roles on their respective teams such as Donte Moncreif for the Indianapolis Colts and the emergence of starting running backs such as Jeremy Hill of the Cincinnati Bengals, picking a rookie of the year for offense is all but easy.

Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU (Drafted Round 2 by Bengals)

Jeremy Hill

Jeremy Hill

Hill was a force to be reckoned with after starting running back Giovanni Bernard went down with an injury during the middle of the season. Racking up 1,124 yards in 222 carries with 9 touchdowns, Hill was 3rd in the NFL in rushing touchdowns and helped the Bengals make the playoffs in his first season with the team.

Mike Evans, WR, TAMU (Drafted Round 1 by Buccaneers)

Everyone wondered how Evans would do in the NFL without former QB Johnny Manziel throwing him the ball. However Evans set out to prove that it was him, and not Manziel making plays in college. Evans managed to gain 1,051 receiving yards with only 68 catches and 12 touchdowns. These numbers were good enough to make him rank at No. 4 in touchdown receptions, all coming from two very subpar quarterbacks in Josh McCown and Mike Glennon.

NFL: Preseason-Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, FSU (Drafted Round 1 by Panthers)

As bad as Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers offense looked for a majority of the season, one bright spot always shined for the Panthers, and that was rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin. Benjamin was famous for grabbing passes over great defenders in his first season in the NFL. With 73 catches for 1,008 yards and 9 touchdowns, Benjamin left his mark, showing that he could be a top receiver in the NFL one day.

Kelvin

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU (Drafted Round 1 by Giants)

After missing the first four games of his rookie season, Beckham (also known as OBJ), made sure to leave his mark. After a signature one handed catch over the Dallas Cowboys, OBJ instantly rose to super stardom. Racking up 1,305 yards on 91 catches and scoring 12 touchdowns, OBJ became one of Eli Manning’s favorite, if not only targets during their 2014 campaign. These numbers were good enough to tie OBJ with Mike Evans for 4th in the NFL with 12 touchdown catches. However, OBJ also led the NFL in yards per game with 108.8 yards a game.

OBJ whip

The Offensive Rookie of the Year: Odell Beckham Jr.

OBJ combine

Beckham Jr. stole the show in only 12 games as a rookie, and his resume for winning is quite self explanatory.

The famous catch.

The famous catch.

While the 2014 class seemed to be just about offense, a handful of rookie defensive players stood out for their teams as well.

Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo (Drafted Round 1 by Raiders)

k mackkhalil-mack-OOO_7938

Khalil Mack was the most sought out linebacker heading into the 2014 draft and was picked No. 5 by the Oakland Raiders. Mack stepped in to become a vocal leader for the Raiders, and played big roles in each other the Raiders 3 victories, including a forced fumble against the San Francisco 49ers. Mack had 75 tackles and a forced fumble in his first season and will only get better as he grows in the NFL.

C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama (Drafted Round 1 by Ravens)

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C.J. Mosley was a force to be reckoned with in college for Alabama, and continued to be a force during his first season in the NFL. With 133 total tackles, 1 forced fumble and two interceptions, Mosley drew numerous comparisons to Ray Lewis.

The Defensive Rookie of the Year: C.J. Mosley

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Mosley was hands down, the best player drafter on defense in the 2014 draft. If it was not for Mosley, the Ravens easily do not make the playoffs.

Most Valuable Player: Aaron Rodgers

aaron-rodgers-5

With only two nominees for the Most Valuable Player, I will spare the long winded write ups on both.

With J.J. Watt and Aaron Rodgers as the two options, I’m inclined to select Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers as the 2014 NFL MVP.

Rodgers and his team started the season 1-2, and after taking a blasting from the media, Rodgers calmly told the media to “r-e-l-a-x” and proceeded to torch defenses all season. Scoring 3 or more touchdowns in 8 of 16 games, including a 6 touchdown performance over the Chicago Bears, Rodgers was the best quarterback all season, leading the Packers to a 12-4 record. Rodgers finished the regular season with 4,381 yards and a 65.6% completion percentage. Rodgers threw 38 touchdown passes and only 5 interceptions.

Rodgers-Packers-outlast-Saints-CHC9GD7-x-large

Defensive Player of the Year: J.J. Watt, DE Houston Texans

jj watt

Without question, J.J. Watt was the best player across the NFL every Sunday. This season, Watt aimed to show people that he wasn’t just a beast on defense, but could also catch touchdown passes, catching a total of 3 touchdown passes on offense. Those three touchdowns, added to his two defensive touchdowns gave Watt a total of five touchdowns for the year. Watt had 77 total tackles, including four forced fumbles and 20.5 sacks. The only reason why J.J. Watt isn’t the league MVP for this post is simply because the Texans did not make the playoffs.

jj watt 2

Offensive Player of the Year

Aaron Rodgers, QB Green Bay Packers

Rodgers-Packers-outlast-Saints-CHC9GD7-x-large

Aaron Rodgers was the best player on offense for at least 8 games this season. As mentioned previously, he was a force to be reckoned with. (See above MVP post for qualifications)

Demarco Murray, RB Dallas Cowboys

DeMarco-Murray-6

Murray played 2014 in the last year of a contract, which could be the reason why the running back had a breakout year in the NFL. Murray has been known for missing games due to injury, but not this season. Murray gained a league best 1,845 yards on 392 attempts and played in every game, including a game immediately after surgery to repair his broken hand. Murray also had 13 rushing touchdowns. Murray led the NFL in every stat a running back can lead in, including rushing touchdowns, yards for the season and yards per game.  Murray’s numbers helped lead the Dallas Cowboys to a 12-4 regular season record.

Antonio Brown, WR Pittsburg Steelers

Antonio Brown, Spencer Lanning

Brown was a player to watch this season from the start, giving fans a hilarious memory. In his first game, Brown tried to hurdle a Cleveland Browns punter and in turn, judo kicked him on a punt return. After catching a league leading 129 catches for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns, Brown was the best receiver in the NFL this season. Brown helped lead the Steelers to a division title, in addition to a playoff berth.

Offensive Player of the Year: Demarco Murray

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks

Without the running of Murray, the Cowboys would not have been the team they were this season. While Rodgers was the captain of the Packers offense and Brown was a force for the Steelers, Rodgers had tons of help from running back Eddie Lacy, as did Brown have the help of an outstanding season by running back Le’veon Bell.

Best Free Agent Pick-Up

This is specifically to show love to a player that gave his new team the most life, after being left for dead by his former squad.

Devin Hester, WR Atlanta Falcons, Former Team Chicago Bears

devin hester

After being dumped by Chicago, Hester signed a low-risk deal with the Atlanta Falcons. Hester shined on special teams for the Falcons, averaging a league leading 13.3 punt return average, with a touchdown and 25 yards per kickoff average. But unlike the Chicago Bears, the Falcons found a way to also include Hester on offense as a receiver. Hester caught 38 catches for 508 yards and two touchdowns playing a role in Atlanta’s passing offense.

Steve Smith, WR Baltimore Ravens, Former Team Carolina Panthers

steve smith

After being drafted by the Panthers in the third round of the 2001 draft, Smith was told by the team that he was too old for them to resign him. Smith vowed to destroy the Panthers during Week 4, when his new team, the Baltimore Ravens, played them. In that game alone, Smith caught 7 catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns. For the season, the 35- year old receiver caught 79 catches for 1,065 yards and six touchdowns, becoming QB Joe Flacco’s favorite target, over Ravens veteran Torrey Smith who only caught 49 balls.

Emmanuel Sanders, WR Denver Broncos, Former Team Pittsburgh Steelers

emmanuel-sanders-denver-broncos_20141023-e1414121497987

With the option to test the free agency market, Sanders departed Pittsburgh seeking a bigger contract and found himself a home in Denver with Peyton Manning. Although Manning had weapons in Demariyus Thomas and Julius Thomas already, Sanders became an instant factor for the Broncos after Wes Welker missed the first four games due to a suspension and concussion. Sanders complied 101 catches for 1,401 yards and 9 touchdowns, coming in at second on the team to Demariyus Thomas’ 111 catches for 1,619 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Justin Forsett, RB Baltimore Ravens, Former Team Jacksonville Jaguars

justin-forsett-nfl-carolina-panthers-baltimore-ravens1-850x560

At the age of 29, Forsett was released from his third NFL team. After being drafted in the 7th round by the Seattle Seahawks in 2008, Forsett was a member of the Houston Texans and lastly the Jaguars before the Ravens added him as extra insurance at RB spot after the famous Ray Rice situation. Forsett rose up the Ravens depth chart, taking over for preseason favorite Bernard Pierce as the teams starter in Week 1. On 235 attempts, Forsett gained 1,266 yards and scored a team leading eight rushing touchdowns.

Free Agent Pick-up of the Year: Emmanuel Sanders

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Simply put, Sanders made the biggest impression on his new team. Sanders gained enough yards to be a No. 1 receiver on any team in the NFL and yet he started the preseason as the Broncos’ No. 3 receiver.

Fantasy Player of the Year

Using NFL.com ranking from standard scoring leagues, in addition to data on final championship standings and a peoples vote, the following players have been selected as nominees for this award:

Demarco Murray, RB Dallas Cowboys (1,845 yards, 416 receiving yards, 13 touchdowns, 10 fumbles {5 lost}, 279 total points)

DeMarco-Murray-6

Andrew Luck, QB Indianapolis Colts (4,761 yards, 40 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, 271 yards rushing, 3 rushing touchdowns, 27 sacks, 13 fumbles {lost 6}, 321 total points)

Buffalo Bills v Indianapolis Colts

Aaron Rodgers, QB Green Bay Packers (4,381 yards, 38 touchdowns, five interceptions, 269 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 28 sacks, 10 fumbles {2 lost}, 349 total points)

aaron-rodgers-5

Le’Veon Bell, RB Pittsburgh Steelers (1,361 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns, 854 receiving yards, three receiving touchdowns, zero fumbles, 290 total points)

le

Fantasy Player of the Year: Le’Veon Bell

Fantasy Football is all about consistency. Every game this season, Bell was a must play. With an 18.1 point average per game, Bell helped a lot of teams win games in horrible year for fantasy running backs. While Aaron Rodgers had the most points all around, Rodgers had three games with less than nine fantasy points, including a fantasy playoff week dud week 15 with three total points. And get this; Bell did not post a fumble in any game this season.

LeVeon-Bell-Weed-DUI-

Most Regressed Player of the Year

Being a reliable player ever year is essential to being a player in the NFL. This category is for those players who performed underwhelming, in comparison to the 2013 season.

Peyton Manning, QB Denver Broncos

Peyton-Manning

Achieving unbelievable numbers in the 2013 season, Peyton Manning was made human in the final eight games of the 2014 season. Manning went from 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns (10 ints) in 2013, to 4,727 yards and only 39 touchdowns (15 ints) in 2014. Not only did his numbers falter in the regular season, but Manning had an abysmal playoff loss, seeing a QBR of 27.

Colin Kaepernick, QB San Francisco 49ers

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While it may seem that Kaepernick was a bad QB in 2014, his numbers contrarily do not show that. Kaepernick increased his completion percentage from 58.4% in 2013 to 60.5% in 2014, in addition to increasing his passing yards by 200 yards. Kaepernick threw just two more interceptions in 2014, with 10, compared to eight in 2013. Kaepernick did however throw two less touchdowns in 2014 with 19, while throwing 21 in 2013. Watching Kaepernick play does show a different side though. Kaepernick had plenty of games where he over threw receivers by 10 yards or more, and was unable to get his team to the playoffs, while two other teams in the NFC West (Cardinals and Seahawks) made the playoffs.

Most Regressed Player of the Year: Peyton Manning

Peyton-Manning-Emmanuel-Sanders-Broncos-2014-training-camp

Let’s face it, Peyton Manning is getting old. At 38 years old, Manning had a bad year overall, not just in his stats, but as far as what the Broncos needed to accomplish, especially after reaching the Super Bowl in 2013.

This concludes the #PTP players of the year awards for the NFL season. I hope you enjoyed the analysis. Feel free, and I almost beg you, to comment and leave your thoughts on who you’d like to see win these awards in the real life.

As always, sharing this post with your friends, family and followers is much appreciated!

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