Who should be the winners of the end of season awards?

The trophy every NFL player wants to lift will be hoisted in Arizona one week on Sunday, when the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.

The previous Thursday, a host of players and coaches will receive recognition for their individual efforts at the annual NFL Honors Ceremony.

The nominees for the awards are furiously debated throughout each season, although this year the field has been narrowed for each award with the NFL finalists listed for the first time.

In MVP’s case, the top two contenders are quarterbacks facing off in the Super Bowl, with Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts also vying for the game’s most illustrious award.

But according to advanced data from Stats Perform, who should be the recipients of the prizes offered at Symphony Hall in Phoenix? Here we name our winners for 2022, including one who is not among the finalists who will be on the red carpet next week.

MVP: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Although these were regular season accolades, Mahomes’ one-leg heroism in the AFC Championship game was the perfect illustration of why he is the most valuable player in the game. league.

Even when physically handicapped by a sprained ankle, Mahomes can produce magical air and ground plays in the greatest moments, and this season he’s elevated a supporting cast stripped of the threat of Tyreek Hill. .

Only Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen is averaging more yards than expected in real passing situations than Mahomes’ 1.66 (minimum 100 of those plays). Mahomes, however, had the advantage in accuracy, delivering a well-thrown ball on 82.1% of his pass attempts, outperforming both Allen (79.7%) and Hurts (81).

Passing 5,000 passing yards and 40 passing touchdowns in a single season for the second time in his career, Mahomes was the NFL’s best regular-season player in 2022, and the reality is, it wasn’t particularly close. .

Offensive Player of the Year: Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders’ acquisition of Adams in a blockbuster trade from the Packers didn’t produce the team results they wanted in 2022, but individually his first season with Las Vegas ranked among the best. of her career.

Adams’ 14 receiving touchdowns led the NFL, and while his 1,516 receiving yards trailed Justin Jefferson and Tyreek Hill, his combined open percentage on man and area coverage of 52.18 was superior. at Jefferson and Hill.

With 10 touchdown receptions of 20 or more yards in 2022, Adams has been the NFL’s most explosive receiving threat in a season where he once again reaffirmed his status as one of the best rushers in the game. road of his generation. The Raiders may want to forget this season in a hurry, but Adams’ campaign is worth remembering.

Defensive Player of the Year: Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs

That award will almost certainly go to Nick Bosa of the San Francisco 49ers next week, but there’s a strong case for Jones as a more impactful defenseman on a downside in 2022.

Indeed, Jones’ pass success rate of 58% and his defense win rate of 72.7% exceed those of Bosa, who finished a season in which he led the NFL in sacks. (18.5) with a passing success rate of 51.4. percent and 63.6 percent execution block success rate.

Like his quarterback, Jones shines when the situation is most pressurized, his ability to create a pass rush by working inside and out of the rim making him a relentless nightmare for opposing offensive lines. If the Chiefs are celebrating under confetti in Arizona next Sunday, Jones will likely have been a big reason.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers

Damn the sample size! Purdy not only kept the 49ers afloat after Jimmy Garoppolo joined Trey Lance in heading to the sideline with a serious injury, but helped the offense improve as San Francisco won all five of their starts in regular season on a 10-game winning streak. end the 17-game campaign.

While no doubt helped by the cavalcade of offensive talent at San Francisco’s disposal and head coach Kyle Shanahan’s call to play – Purdy has thrown at an open target on 84.7% of his attempts – the last pick of the 2022 draft driven to an offense that was remarkably effective in expected passing situations.

Purdy is averaging 1.2 yards more than expected in real passing situations, fifth among quarterbacks with at least 100 such plays.

Other rookies may have played well for a longer period, but in terms of the level of influence on his team’s performance, no first-year offensive player equals Purdy, who unfortunately faces a long recovery after torn an elbow ligament in the first offensive series of the Niners’ NFC Championship game loss in Philadelphia.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Sauce Gardner, New York Jets

Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner backed up his ostentatious nickname by quickly establishing himself as one of the best defenders in the league and a top-flight locking corner.

Gardner has lost just 19 of his 92 men’s coverage matchups and 24 of his 92 in the zone. His 18.8 combined open percentage allowed was bettered by just four defenders in the entire NFL.

Along with his remarkably impressive covering skills, Gardner showed a knack for finding the football in the air, recording a league-leading 20 pass breakups.

If he can improve his steals total by two, Gardner will be in the Defensive Player of the Year discussion for years to come.

Returning Player of the Year: Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks

From the forgotten man whose hopes of starting in the NFL seemed over, to the most accurate quarterback in professional football.

Smith led all quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts with an 87.1% completion rate, improbably guiding a Seahawks team that appeared to be rebuilding toward a playoff berth.

The former New York Jet also had the highest passer rating (125.8) on throws of at least 21 aerial yards among all flaggers with at least 10 such attempts. Smith has thrown for 13 touchdowns and one interception on his 52 attempts from that distance.

Smith unexpectedly emerged as the Seahawks’ answer to quarterback following the Russell Wilson trade. With a better ecosystem around him in 2023, he could be the front man of a real contender.

Coach of the Year: Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers

Brian Daboll and Doug Pederson deserve a lot of credit for turning teams into the playoffs in a short amount of time, while Nick Sirianni’s case is extremely compelling after making the Eagles the favorite to win the Super Bowl next week.

But for a combination of overcoming adversity and leading a team into Super Bowl contention, no coach can match Shanahan.

Shanahan calmly navigated his team through the turbulent waters of losing not one-by-two starting quarterbacks during the regular season, setting Purdy up for success, with the rookie preparation and support he has. received from the NFL’s best defense, a testament to the 49er’s head coach’s ability to build a top-tier staff.

Winning 13 games, 15 counting the pair of playoff wins, in the circumstances the 49ers have faced on offense is a remarkable achievement. San Francisco finished the season first in overall efficiency compared to expectations, doing so after being forced to turn to Purdy is a feat worthy of Coach of the Year recognition.

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