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NFL 2020 Regular Season Awards

And so, the NFL 2020 Regular Season has come to a close. This year was like no other; some players shined through the adversity, while others crumbled under the pressure. We saw records broken, rookies make immense impacts, and legends start to decline. We got it all in 2020, and there are players that should be rewarded for their triumphs.

Photo: Associated Press

Listed below are my personal picks for individual awards, First and Second Team All-Pro, and the Top 25 Rookies for 2020:

Co-Comeback Players of the Year:

Alex Smith - Quarterback - Washington Football Team

Aldon Smith - Edge Rusher - Dallas Cowboys

Runner up: David Andrews - Center - New England Patriots

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Chase Young - Defensive End - Washington Football Team

Runner up: Julian Blackmon - Safety - Indianapolis Colts

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Justin Jefferson - Wide Receiver - Minnesota Vikings

Runner up: Justin Herbert - Quarterback - Los Angeles Chargers

Defensive Player of the Year: TJ Watt - Outside Linebacker/Edge Rusher - Pittsburgh Steelers

Runner up: Xavien Howard - Cornerback - Miami Dolphins

Offensive Player of the Year: Davante Adams - Wide Receiver - Green Bay Packers

Runner up: Travis Kelce - Tight End - Kansas City Chiefs

Coach of the Year: Kevin Stefanski - Cleveland Browns

Runner up: Sean McDermott - Buffalo Bills

Most Valuable Player: Derrick Henry - Running Back - Tennessee Titans

Runner up: Aaron Rodgers - Quarterback - Green Bay Packers



I couldn't decide on just one winner. On one hand, Alex Smith almost died from his gruesome leg injury. It took him almost two years to come back and play in an NFL game. When he returned to the field, he went 5-1 and helped Washington win the NFC East. He also played some of the best football he has in years, proving that anyone can overcome adversity, even to the highest degree. On the other hand, Aldon Smith battled drug and alcohol abuse throughout his first few years in the NFL. After being suspended from the league, he found himself in rehabilitation centers through the next five years. This season, he was reinstated by the NFL and made an incredible return. Although some may say this isn't as great as what Alex Smith achieved, I believe that they have had two completely different struggles that could have resulted in a similar result; death. For both of these world class athletes, who dominated before the game was taken from them, to come back and even suit up says something. For these reasons, I award the Comeback Player of the Year to both Alex Smith and Aldon Smith.

For David Andrews runner up explanation, check my Midseason Awards article (posted at the bottom of the page)


Chase Young had a fantastic rookie campaign. Although his sack count (7) doesn't jump out at you, he was the face of a dominant Washington defense and generated more pressures than any other rookie; and it wasn't even close. His impact in the run game, which included 10 TFLs, also set the tone for the rest of the defense. 4 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, and 4 pass deflections also showed his dominance. Most of his production, however, can't be found on a stat sheet. His ability to close gaps playside and force the ball back into a swarming defense, take running backs off of their routes by hitting them as they go by, and stuffing the backside edge on run plays away from him, so blitzing linebackers and defensive backs can chase down the play just shows how menacing Chase Young truly is.

Julian Blackmon had a great rookie season, and would have been my pick for DROY if his last five games weren't as bad as they were. He made incredible plays all year long, stuffing screens, laying out blockers to open lanes for his linebackers, while leaping for interceptions and making big hits to force fumbles. He will be a force in the Colts defense for years to come.


This was actually one of the easier decisions for this list. Justin Jefferson had a monster season, putting him among some of the best wide receivers in the NFL within his first year. After posting 5 catches for 70 yards in his first two games combined, Jefferson went on a tear and showed opposing defensive backs why he is one of the best route runners in the league. Over the next 14 games, Justin would catch 83 passes for 1,330 yards and 7 TDs. He finished 4th in receiving yards in the league, and tied for 1st with receptions of 20+ yards (23). He broke the NFL rookie record for receiving yards in a season, and has proven to be a future great for the Minnesota Vikings.

Justin Herbert had a great season as well, as he broke the rookie record for TD passes in a season (31). He also finished 6th in passing yards with 4,336. Herbert also had 55 carries for 234 yards and 5 TDs. On the flip side, he threw 10 interceptions and posted a passer rating of 98.3, putting players like Lamar Jackson, Derek Carr, and Kirk Cousins ahead of him in this category. He also finished 15th in completion percentage (66.6%). Herbert had a fantastic rookie season, but did not have the same level of production or efficiency that Justin Jefferson had.


This is a no brainer, TJ Watt was unbelievable in all phases, run defense, pass defense, and rushing the passer. In the run, TJ generated a league leading 26 TFLs. He also had 7 pass deflections, tied for the most for an edge rusher (JJ Watt also had 7). TJ also led the league in sacks with 15. He only forced 2 fumbles, his lowest mark since his rookie year, but he did tally an interception. Combine this with 55 total pressures, TJ is the clear cut pick for the Defensive Player of the Year.

Xavien Howard had an incredible season, two years removed from his previous career high mark of 7 interceptions. This season, he made 10 interceptions, while deflection 20 other passes and forcing a fumble. He also allowed a passer rating of 48.3, the lowest of his career. He did allow 272 yards after the catch, the most he's allowed in his career, but he faced deep threats and speedy receivers all year long. His play brought the Dolphins defense up a level, but he saw a lot more opportunities than other corners like Jaire Alexander and Jalen Ramsey. Since Byron Jones was on the other side, QBs didn't have the chance to pick on only one side of the field. For these reasons, TJ is the only option for DPOY for me.

Photo: USA Today


Davante Adams is a man. After an offseason of "Why didn't they draft another receiver? Why didn't they give Rodgers more help?", Adams answered that question by showing everyone that the Packers don't need another offensive option. On the season, Davante brought in 115 catches, for 1,374 yards and 18 TDs. These are video game numbers, and it is even more impressive when you consider the Packers didn't have a true #2 receiver opposite him. His route running and run blocking were works of art, and he was virtually unstoppable.

Travis Kelce also had a great season, bringing in 105 catches for 1,416 yards, the most yards ever for a tight end. Kelce also caught 11 TDs, proving that he's far from done and is just hitting his prime at 30 years old. Given the other weapons on his offense, I gave the edge to Adams. Both players had fantastic seasons, and this was one of the harder awards to give out.


The Cleveland Browns made the playoffs for the first time since 2002. They had the 3rd best rushing offense and 17th best total defense. The Browns had a record for 4-3 against playoff teams, and 7-2 against non playoff teams. The Browns were exciting to watch for the first time in almost two decades. This is a no brainer, Kevin Stefanski is about to transform this franchise.

Sean McDermott deserves some recognition as well. He took a struggling Bills franchise and turned it into 3 playoff appearances in the past 4 seasons. He has improved Josh Allen's play tremendously and has made the Bills a franchise to fear over the next 5-10 seasons.


Controversy alert: Derrick Henry was the best football player in 2020. He became the 8th running back ever to eclipse 2,000 yards in a season. He finished with 2,027 yards, putting him almost 500 yards over the next closest running back, Dalvin Cook, who finished with 1,557 yards. Henry also lead the league in rushing touchdowns and first downs with 17 and 98 respectively. Pair that with 16 runs of 20+ yards, he dominated every other player at his position and almost every defense in the NFL.

Aaron Rodgers also had a great year, his best season of his career. 4,299 yards, 48 TDs while only throwing 5 interceptions is an incredible feat. He also had 14 games where he posted a passer rating of 100 or higher. He did all of this with Davante Adams as his only true passing weapon. Robert Tonyan got hot at the end of the year and teams were able to shut down Aaron Jones on occasion. So why Henry over Rodgers? Simple, the opponents they faced.

Henry had 4 games where he faced a top 10 rush defense and 8 games where he faced a bottom 10 rush defense, his opponents in the other 4 games were in the top half of the league (besides the Bills). Rodgers had 2 games where he faced a top 10 pass defense and 8 games where he faced a bottom 10 pass defense, his opponents in the other 6 games were in the bottom half of the league (besides the Eagles). Henry, relative to Rodgers, played 7 more games against tougher defenses. Despite this, Henry put himself 5th on the all-time season high list for rushing. Rodgers, who only had 2 games against top 10 pass defenses, finished 7th on the season for passing yards. Aaron Rodgers, to some degree, was outplayed by other players at his position, whereas Derrick Henry crushed his competition and the defenses he faced, even though he saw tougher opponents. For these reasons, Derrick Henry is my Most Valuable Player.


As I stated at the top, these are my awards and not what I believe will actually happen at the NFL Awards Show. Rodgers will most likely win MVP, Alex Smith will most likely be the only CPOY, and so on. Below is the same deal, this is who I would give the awards to for First and Second Team All Pro.

First Team All Pro:

QB - Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay Packers

HB - Derrick Henry - Minnesota Vikings

WR - Stefon Diggs - Buffalo Bills

WR - Davante Adams - Green Bay Packers

TE - Travis Kelce - Kansas City Chiefs

Flex - Alvin Kamara - New Orleans Saints

LT - Trent Williams - San Francisco 49ers

LG - Quenton Nelson - Indianapolis Colts

C - Corey Linsley - Green Bay Packers

RG - Shaq Mason - New England Patriots

RT - Jack Conklin - Cleveland Browns

Edge - Myles Garrett - Cleveland Browns

Edge - TJ Watt - Pittsburgh Steelers

IDL - Aaron Donald - Los Angeles Rams

IDL - DeForest Buckner - Indianapolis Colts

LB - Fred Warner - San Francisco 49ers

LB - Roquan Smith - Chicago Bears

LB - Devin White - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

CB - Xavien Howard - Miami Dolphins

CB - JC Jackson - New England Patriots

Safety - Budda Baker - Arizona Cardinals

Safety - Tyrann Mathieu - Kansas City Chiefs

DB - Jaire Alexander - Green Bay Packers

K - Younghoe Koo - Atlanta Falcons

P - Michael Dickson - Seattle Seahawks

KR - Cordarrelle Patterson - Chicago Bears

PR - Jakeem Grant - Miami Dolphins

ST - Ezekiel Turner - Arizona Cardinals

LS - Luke Rhodes - Indianapolis Colts

Photo: GettyImages

Second Team All Pro:

QB - Patrick Mahomes - Kansas City Chiefs

HB - Dalvin Cook - Minnesota Vikings

WR - DK Metcalf - Seattle Seahawks

WR - Tyreek Hill - Kansas City Chiefs

TE - Darren Waller - Las Vegas Raiders

Flex - DeAndre Hopkins - Arizona Cardinals

LT - David Bakhtiari - Green Bay Packers

LG - Michael Onwenu - New England Partiots

C - Frank Ragnow - Detroit Lions

RG - Wyatt Teller - Cleveland Browns

RT - Ryan Ramcyzk - New Orleans Saints

Edge - Khalil Mack - Chicago Bears

Edge - Za'Darius Smith - Green Bay Packers

IDL - Cameron Heyward - Pittsburgh Steelers

IDL - Chris Jones - Kansas City Chiefs

LB - Darius Leonard - Indianapolis Colts

LB - Bobby Wagner - Seattle Seahawks

LB - Blake Martinez - New York Giants

CB - Jalen Ramsey - Los Angeles Rams

CB - James Bradberry - New York Giants

Safety - Jamal Adams - Seattle Seahawks

Safety - Jessie Bates III -Cincinnati Bengals

DB - Justin Simmons - Denver Broncos

K - Jason Sanders - Miami Dolphins

P - Jake Bailey - New England Patriots

KR - Andre Roberts - Buffalo Bills

PR - Gunner Olszewski - New England Patriots

ST - George Odum - Indianapolis Colts

LS - Zach Triner - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Photo: San Francisco Chronicle

Honorable Mentions:


Josh Allen - Buffalo Bills


Aaron Jones - Green Bay Packers


Calvin Ridley - Atlanta Falcons, Justin Jefferson - Minnesota Vikings


Robert Tonyan - Green Bay Packers


Joel Bitonio - Cleveland Browns, Ryan Kelly - Indianapolis Colts,

Garrett Bolles - Denver Broncos


Leonard Williams - New York Giants, Stephon Tuitt - Pittsburgh Steelers


Haason Reddick - Arizona Cardinals, Trey Hendrickson - New Orleans Saints,

Jason Pierre-Paul - Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Lavonte David - Tampa Bay Buccaneers, KJ Wright - Seattle Seahawks


Tre'Davious White - Buffalo Bills, Marcus Peters - Baltimore Ravens


Harrison Smith - Minnesota Vikings, Minkah Fitzpatrick - Pittsburgh Steelers


Daniel Carlson - Las Vegas Raiders


Corey Bojorquez - Buffalo Bills


Isaiah Rodgers - Indianpolis Colts


Jamal Agnew - Detroit Lions


Matthew Slater - New England Patriots


Morgan Cox - Baltimore Ravens

Top 25 Rookies:

  1. Justin Jefferson - Wide Receiver - Minnesota Vikings

  2. Chase Young - Edge Rusher - Washington Football Team

  3. Justin Herbert - Quarterback - Los Angeles Chargers

  4. Tristian Wirfs - Offensive Tackle - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  5. Julian Blackmon - Safety - Indianapolis Colts

  6. Mekhi Becton - Offensive Tackle - New York Jets

  7. Michael Onwenu - Offensive Lineman - New England Patriots

  8. Johnathan Taylor - Running Back - Indianapolis Colts

  9. James Robinson - Running Back - Jacksonville Jaguars

  10. Tee Higgins - Wide Receiver - Cincinnati Bengals

  11. Antonio Gibson - Running Back - Washington Football Team

  12. Jeremy Chinn - Safety - Carolina Panthers

  13. Brandon Aiyuk - Wide Receiver - San Francisco 49ers

  14. Antoine Winfield Jr. - Safety - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  15. Chase Claypool - Wide Receiver - Pittsburgh Steelers

  16. CeeDee Lamb - Wide Receiver - Dallas Cowboys

  17. Clyde Edwards-Helaire - Running Back - Kansas City Chiefs

  18. Joe Burrow - Quarterback - Cincinnati Bengals

  19. L'Jarius Sneed - Cornerback - Kansas City Chiefs

  20. JK Dobbins - Running Back - Baltimore Ravens

  21. Damien Lewis - Offensive Guard - Seattle Seahawks

  22. Alex Highsmith - Edge Rusher - Pittsburgh Steelers

  23. Cam Akers - Running Back - Los Angeles Rams

  24. DeAndre Swift - Running Back - Detroit Lions

  25. Rodrigo Blankenship - Kicker - Indianapolis Colts

Photo: Norsemen News


Final Notes:

Through 17 weeks, the NFL played 256 out of 256 games in the middle of a pandemic. We got to enjoy football due to the NFL's tight protocols and due diligence of each player, coach, staff and front office personnel member. This season gave us some memorable moments, some crazy games, and incredible performances. The playoffs are up and running, giving us a few more chances to watch the greatest sport in the world. Let's not take it for granted, and let's enjoy one of the best football seasons in recent memory.


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