Sam Monson's 2023 NFL Award Predictions: Garrett Wilson, Bijan Robinson and more

2MAGC1G New York Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson (17) reacts after scoring the game winning touchdown during an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Kirk Irwin)

• Bijan Robinson for OROY: He is set to handle a significant workload in the NFL's most run-heavy offense. And his pass-catching ability is top-notch, too.

• Patrick Mahomes retains his MVP crown: Until proven otherwise, Mahomes is the best player in the NFL.

• Jalen Carter emerges among the DROY contenders: The Eagles let Javon Hargrave walk in free agency and will now look to Carter to fill the void.

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

NFL football starts THIS WEEK, so it’s time to lay down some predictions.

PFF remains, at its core, a player evaluation site, so this article will focus on player-specific awards and titles, beginning with the league’s most valuable player.

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MVP: QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

We’re not going out on a limb here. Mahomes is the best player in the NFL, and in any given season, you are going to start with the assumption that he will be the most valuable player until proven otherwise. It’s absolutely possible that Joe Burrow, Josh Allen or somebody else could surpass Mahomes in a single season, but the most likely thing is that Mahomes is the best and the Chiefs will be the favorite for the Super Bowl.

Last season, Mahomes had a 4.8% big-time throw rate of 4.8% and his most impressive feat was showing zero drop in performance in the postseason despite an injured ankle he could barely move around on.

Offensive Player of the Year: WR Garrett Wilson, New York Jets

I’m buying the Aaron Rodgers to Garrett Wilson hype. We saw plenty of flashes of it in training camp and preseason, and it looks like they already have the chemistry that has been a challenge for receivers to develop instantly with Rodgers in the past.

Wilson tallied more than 1,100 yards as a rookie despite a disastrous quarterback situation. He was on pace for 1,394 yards and eight touchdowns with anybody other than Zach Wilson as his quarterback, and Rodgers is a significant improvement over the combination of Joe Flacco and Mike White. Wilson has elite potential and can put up monster numbers as the primary target for the Jets.

Defensive Player of the Year: EDGE Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns

Myles Garrett has been playing at a Defensive Player of the Year kind of level for some time now, but the conditions required to get recognized haven’t been there. That should be different this year. Cleveland’s defensive line was disastrous last season outside of Garrett, but they added talent across the board in free agency, the draft and via trade to change that in 2023.

Garrett led the league in pass-rush win rate last year, at 22.2%, and now he has the help to ensure that should lead to even better production. If the Browns are real playoff contenders this season, that will only help Garrett get noticed.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: RB Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons

In the game’s most run-heavy offense, Bijan Robinson could lead the league in rushing as a rookie. Last season in college, he broke a PFF record with 104 missed tackles forced over the year. He is the best running prospect to enter the league in years, so much so that a team with four separate running backs averaging at least 4.8 yards per carry prioritized him in the top 10 of the draft.

On top of that rushing quality, Robinson boasts exceptional hands and route-running chops, so he doesn’t need to be kept off the field on passing downs.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: DI Jalen Carter, Philadelphia Eagles

This one is usually the toughest call to make before the season. Often, the best defensive rookie is somebody who was difficult to see coming, and there are several possible candidates this year. Jalen Carter has as much talent as any 2023 rookie, and the Eagles need him to contribute early, given that they allowed Javon Hargrave to leave in free agency.

Hargrave accounted for 809 snaps last season on the way to the Super Bowl and tallied 66 total pressures. Carter has the ability to be a dominant pass rusher, and the Eagles have the need for him to prove it sooner rather than later.

Rushing Leader: RB Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons

As noted earlier, the Falcons were the most run-heavy team in the NFL last season — the only offense to call run plays more often than pass plays. That’s not likely to change this year with Desmond Ridder at quarterback, and Robinson was brought in for what he could add in terms of value to an already potent rush attack.

He has the skill set to ensure he doesn’t need to come off the field, and the Falcons have the motivation to give him as much work as he can handle. There’s also a very limited pool of players likely to handle the needed workload to challenge him.

Receiving Leader: WR Garrett Wilson, New York Jets

Another double-up in prediction, Garrett Wilson has the skills to be the NFL’s leading receiver. He ranked 13th last season in terms of targets despite one of the worst quarterback situations in the league. Aaron Rodgers has typically loaded up his primary target, and there’s no reason he won’t continue to do the same in New York with Wilson.

As a bonus, Wilson may be better after the catch than any of Rodgers’ previous top targets. He broke 22 tackles with the ball in his hands as a rookie in 2022, trailing only Deebo Samuel among receivers.

Sack Leader: EDGE Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys

Myles Garrett will certainly be in this conversation, as will Nick Bosa and T.J. Watt if he can remain healthy, but Micah Parsons may be the player best suited to top this list. Parsons led the league last season with 90 total pressures — the best indicator of future sacks — and he got several of them against the best tackles in the game. Three came against Andrew Thomas and Christian Darrisaw.

Parsons also dropped into coverage more than 60 times compared to four for Bosa and Garrett, something set to change this season. Garrett may be my favorite for DPOY, but Parsons will be hot on his heels — and maybe with the league’s sack lead.


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