With the 2019 NFL season approximately half way through, conversations are starting to spring up around who may win the coveted NFL end of season awards. I take a look at my ‘Under the Radar’ awards, honouring those who have had excellent seasons so far but are unlikely to be in the running come the ‘big’ awards.
Defensive Rookie – Josh Allen
Whilst, quite rightly, all the hype has been around Nick Bosa’s explosive start to his NFL career. However, Jaguars first round pick Allen has quietly gone about business. His 16 tackles ranks only 1 behind behind Bosa’s total. They are equal in sacks at an impressive 7. Allen has also created 2 forced fumbles. Those stat lines for any rookie pass rusher are impressive. In any other year, the former Kentucky Wildcat would surely be a front runner for the award
Honourable mentions: Tyler Rapp (LAR), Juan Thornhill (KC)
Offensive Rookie – Eric McCoy
Lets face it, no Centre is going to win offensive rookie of the year. Running backs, wide receivers and quarterbacks are the sexy picks. In fact you have to go all the way back to 1973 for someone outwith these 3 positions to win – Eagles TE Charle Young. However, McCoy, a 2nd round pick from Texas A&M, has slotted into Max Unger’s role in an impressive Saints offensive line with consummate ease. Adept in both the passing and run game on a stellar Saints offence, McCoy should be a fixture in their o-line for the next decade.
Honourable mentions: Cody Ford (BUF), Miles Sanders (PHI)
Defensive Player – Jamie Collins
The New England Patriots defence is good, historically good. The resigning of LB Jamie Collins from the Browns may just prove to be the best off season move by any team ths year. 44 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery is elite level production. If Collins continues to produce as he has done so far, will he continue to dip under the radar?
Honourable Mentions: Whitney Mercilus (HOU), Logan Ryan (TEN)
Offensive Player – Matt Stafford
The Lions QB, a former first overall pick, is undoubtedly talented. However, he has often been surrounded by mediocrity, particularly in the running game. The year Stafford has a 105 passing rater and a 16:4 TD:INT ratio. The Lions passing game has looked good with receivers Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola and Marvin Hall all big contributors. If the 2nd half of the season follows the same trajectory, then Stafford could be on course for one of his best seasons under centre
Honourable Mentions: Leonard Fournette (JAX) Austin Ekeler (LAC)
Coach – Jon Gruden
The Oakland Raiders may be sitting on a 3-4 record at this stage, but this is better than some had envisioned. May no mistake about it, this Raiders roster is very limited. Other than Josh Jacobs they arent particularly dynamic on offense, whilst on the othernside of the ball they aren’t awash with star talent. However, even in defeat they have been competitive. Gruden has coached the hell out of this to maximise everything he can get. He has a gameplan, and with more talent they may just progress. The next few years of recruitment will be crucial in the Jon Gruden experiment.
Honourable mentions: Kliff Kingsbury (ARI), Mike Zimner (MIN)
Title image: Sports Illustrated