Midseason NFL Awards I

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Dylan Becker, Staff Writer

 

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Jamarr Chase, WR – Cincinnati Bengals

Honorable Mentions: Mac Jones, QB – New England Patriots

Throughout the preseason, rookie wide receiver Jamarr Chase had critics worried about his hands as he dropped multiple passes. However through the start of the season, Chase has silenced these very critics. He has been exceptional through his first 9 games, producing commendable stats for a rookie receiver.

 

While he may have just 44 receptions this season making him 23rd in the league, he is one of only three receivers in the NFL currently over 800 receiving yards (835 to be exact), giving him an average of 19 yards per reception (both 3rd in the league). Chase also has 8 receiving touchdowns (tied for 4th in the league). 

 

If Chase continues to produce at this record setting pace, his season could be more than just an Offensive Rookie of the Year season, It could be historic. Through the first nine weeks, Chase is on pace to shatter former LSU teammate Justin Jefferson’s rookie record for receiving yards, set just last season. Chase, along with another former LSU and current Bengals teammate Joe Burrow, have led Cincinnati to their best season in years with a respectable record of 5-4. It’s pretty safe to say that, so far, Jamarr Chase has become the runaway favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

 

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Micah Parsons, LB – Dallas Cowboys

Honorable Mentions: Asante Samuel Jr, CB – L.A. Chargers  and Patrick Surtain II, CB – Denver Broncos

While no defensive rookie has emerged as the obvious choice for the award through the first half of the season, that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been some incredible performances by first-year players on the defensive side of the ball. Headlining the defensive rookies is Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons, who has adjusted well with the NFL despite draft analysts’ doubts. Unlike most young defenders, Parsons has been a great tackler currently standing with 38 solo tackles, good enough for second among all rookies. He is specifically best at tackling behind the line of scrimmage with 11 tackles for losses, making him fourth in the entire league. He also excels in getting to the quarterback, with 14 quarterback hits, placing him 11th in the league. He also has 5 sacks, sixth best by all inside linebackers. Parsons has had a great season so far to say the least, and has been a major factor in the Dallas Cowboys returning to become the “America’s Team” that we all know and hate.

 

Comeback Player of the Year: Dak Prescott, QB – Dallas Cowboys

The Comeback Player of the Year Award is given to the player who is best able to recover from a down season, whether from an injury or poor play. With this in mind, there’s only one man who could possibly take this award home. In week 5 of the 2020 NFL season, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle in a gruesome injury. Prescott was putting up MVP-type numbers at the time, but the injury sidelined him for the remainder of the 2020 season. Going into the 2021 season, fans were worried that he wouldn’t be able to reach that same level of play he had before the injury. As the stats show, it was not a problem. He has been exceptional in his return to the league, playing with the same fire he did last season. Prescott has thrown the sixth most touchdowns by any quarterback with 18, and he is already over 2000 yards passing and possesses a passer rating of 108.7, third best in the league (keep in mind he missed his week 8 game against the Vikings). After a heartbreaking injury and nearly a whole calendar year of rehab, Dak Prescott is back and better than ever. The Cowboys currently hold a 6-2 record, and look to make an impact toward the end of the season.