Daniel Dalenberg

Staff Writer

MVP: Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB:  After a rocky 2015 campaign, by Aaron Rodgers’ standards, the Packers QB looks to get back to MVP form during 2016.  Much of Rodgers’ 2015 struggles can be attributed to the preseason loss of star receiver Jordy Nelson.  Without Nelson on the field, Rodgers’ QBR fell from 82.0 to 62.4.  With a healthy receiving core, Rodgers should have a monster year, leading Green Bay to a NFC North title and a deep playoff run.

Defensive Player of the Year: Khalil Mack, OLB/DE, OAK:  After two straight years of Texans DE JJ Watt winning Defensive Player of the Year, look for the award to land in the hands of the Raiders’ 3rd year man, Khalil Mack.  Mack is coming off a monster 2015 campaign where he finished the season with 15 sacks and 77 tackles.  An improved Raiders secondary, with the additions of Reggie Nelson and Sean Smith, should help Mack add onto his sack total from last season.  Mack will anchor a defense that could lead the Raiders to their first playoff appearance since 2002.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, DAL: Coming off a huge year at Ohio State, where Elliott rushed for 1821 yards and 23 touchdowns, the 4th overall pick of the draft fell into the perfect situation to have an immediate impact in the NFL.  With an offensive line that is widely considered the best in the league, led by All-Pro’s Tyron Smith and Zack Martin, Elliott should rush for at least 1200 yards this season.

Defensive Rookie of the Year:  Jalen Ramsey, CB, JAX: The 4th overall pick of the draft, and the second defensive player off the board, the rookie out of Florida State looks fit to make an immediate impact on a budding Jaguars defense.  Ramsey did not allow a single completion his way in the Jaguars opener to the Packers, after Ramsey dared Aaron Rodgers to throw his way.  In a postgame tweet Ramsey said, “Lol people quick to want a story so here you go: ZERO completions on me. I back up my talk. I play for the Lord and my teammates! We fought!”  Hopefully Ramsey can continue to back up his talk and win Defensive Rookie of the Year


            MVP: Eli Manning, NYG.  AJ Green, CIN.

            Defensive Player of the Year: Eric Kendricks, MIN.  Ryan Shazier, PIT.

            Offensive Rookie of the Year: Will Fuller, HOU.  Sterling Shepard, NYG.

            Defensive Rookie of the Year: James Bradbury, CAR.  DeForest Buckner, SF.