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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, February 26, 2024

The Hard Count: 2023 NFL award predictions

The 2023 Most Valuable Player, among other awards, is still a wide open race; who will take them home in the end?

Graphic for Reese Christian’s Column “the hard count”
Graphic by Molly Sullivan

The 2023 NFL season has been one of the most unpredictable and volatile in years, for individual players and for entire organizations. This puts many of the NFL’s major awards up in the air, so I’d like to offer my own predictions for these awards to close out the regular season columns.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: CJ Stroud, Houston Texans.

This one is a no-brainer. I’ve already written at length about Stroud’s historic rookie accomplishments this season, and he’s only continued to strengthen his case after the Texans took down the surging Denver Broncos last week. Enough said.

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

The Eagles rookie has quietly had a stellar year at defensive tackle, ranking as the top rookie in the NFL by Pro Football Focus’ rating (ahead of even Stroud). Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon is also a dark horse to win this one, but I’d be surprised if it ultimately went to anyone but Carter.

Offensive Player of the Year: Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins.

This one is essentially a two-man race between Hill and 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey, but I’m betting on Hill to ultimately win it. He is on pace to not just break, but potentially shatter, the single season receiving yards record with 2,098 yards (beating current record 1,964 yards by Calvin Johnson in 2012) while helping the Dolphins to become Super Bowl contenders. McCaffrey may make a late season surge, but Tyreek and the Dolphins offense has been too good all season.

Defensive Player of the Year: Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys.

Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett had been a shoo-in for this award, and many still think he is, but a shoulder injury and a near career-worst performance in Week 13 signals he may be fading. Combine this with Parsons’ pass rush stats that rivaled Garrett’s even before his injury, and I think he is well poised to seize his second major award after winning Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2021.

Coach of the Year: DeMeco Ryans, Houston Texans.

The Texans’ success is as much due to Ryans as it is due to CJ Stroud. The Lions’ Dan Campbell is currently the favorite for this one, but Ryans’ success as a first-year head coach with a rookie quarterback will be hard to ignore if the Texans ultimately make the playoffs, which they seem well positioned to do after defeating fellow wild-card contenders Broncos.

Most Valuable Player: Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins.

This is my boldest take by far, but I think Tyreek Hill will become the first wide receiver ever to take home the MVP award. A good MVP has strong narratives along with good stats, and Hill has both. Namely, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has had his two best career years with Hill on the roster in 2022 and 2023. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs have struggled to fill the hole in their offense that Hill left in his departure. Basically, Hill makes his quarterback and offense better, which is the definition of the most valuable player. With few consistently dominant quarterbacks to challenge him for the award, he could make history.