Handing out Green Bay Packers 2013 Regular-Season Awards
The Green Bay Packers' 2013 regular season is over. And with the end of the season, it's only logical to hand out awards.
The big winner from the 2013 season is none other than running back Eddie Lacy. Not only was he one of the best rookies in the entire NFL, but he proved to be an extremely important member of the Packers offense.
Let's hand out awards for every category we could think of following the 2013 season of the Packers.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Winner: Micah Hyde, Cornerback
This was the hardest award to give out simply because no defensive rookie made a huge impact. That means Hyde wins the award by default for having the biggest role.
Now Hyde did eventually get better as the season progressed. By the end of the year, Hyde was playing solid defense and really excelling at covering tight ends who were lined up in the slot.
He finished the year with 55 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. Hyde will continue to be a key member of the defense and should see great improvement during the offseason.
Runner-Up: Datone Jones, Defensive End
Jones' rookie season was mostly a disappointment. He was expected to come into the lineup as a first-round pick and make a big impact.
Unfortunately, Jones struggled to get on the field for the majority of the season, finishing with only 3.5 sacks. There is still plenty of potential for Jones, but he really struggled to reach it during his first year in the league.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Winner: Eddie Lacy, Running Back
This one is a no-brainer.
Lacy had one of the best rookie seasons in franchise history for the Green Bay Packers. When quarterback Aaron Rodgers got injured, Lacy's role in the offense increased and he didn't miss a single beat.
He finished the season as the fourth-best graded running back in the league, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Overall, Lacy proved that he's going to be a major part of the Packers offense in the seasons to come.
Runner-Up: David Bakhtiari, Offensive Tackle
No one really knew what to expect from Bakhtiari during his rookie season. The fourth-round pick was thrown into the starting lineup after Bryan Bulaga's season ended in training camp.
While there were times when Bakhtiari certainly looked like a rookie, he also had his moments of really strong football. It'll be interesting to see what the Packers do once Bulaga returns next season, but Bakhtiari's play this year has certainly earned him a shot at playing somewhere along the line in 2014.
Defensive Player of the Year
Winner: A.J. Hawk, Inside Linebacker
Not only did Hawk have the best defensive season of all the Green Bay Packers, but he also had a career year in 2013.
His five sacks were the most he's had in a single season. He also finished the year with 118 total tackles, one interception and one forced fumble.
Hawk also was a fantastic leader on defense and always showed up to play. He's finally living up to his high drafting and become the premier defensive player the Packers need.
Runner-Up: Mike Daniels, Defensive End
While Daniels had a quiet season nationally, few players were as impressive as he was. In fact, the only real reason he didn't win Defensive Player of the Year is because of playing time.
Daniels played sparingly for the majority of the season, but still managed to have a huge impact. He finished the year as the sixth-best 3-4 defensive end, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
There should be an increased role coming for Daniels in 2014 and he absolutely deserves it.
Offensive Player of the Year
Winner: Eddie Lacy, Running Back
Lacy takes home his second award of the season by being the best offensive player for the Green Bay Packers.
He finished the regular season with an impressive 1,178 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. His role for the offense was absolutely huge, and that shouldn't change anytime soon.
Lacy was the best offensive player over the course of the season, and it wasn't even really close.
Runner-Up: Jordy Nelson, Wide Receiver
Had quarterback Aaron Rodgers played the entire season, it's likely that Nelson would have had one of the most productive seasons in the NFL for a receiver.
Unfortunately, Nelson's production dropped in a big way without Rodgers in the lineup. He still managed to end the year with 85 receptions, 1,314 yards and eight touchdowns.
Nelson is one of the premier receivers in the league, and he proved it this year.
Most Surprising Player
Winner: Jarrett Boykin, Wide Receiver
When wide receiver Randall Cobb went down with a leg injury in Week 6, everyone expected the Green Bay Packers to take a hit on offense.
However, Boykin came into the lineup and instantly became a viable option for whoever was at quarterback. His final numbers on the year were 49 receptions, 681 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
What was most surprising about Boykin was how he became more confident with each week that passed. Boykin should continue to get plenty of looks even with Cobb back on the field, and that proves just how good he's been this year.
Runner-Up: Mike Daniels, Defensive End
We've already talked about how great of a season Daniels had, but it was also a surprising season.
The main reason for this is because Daniels is only in his second year in the league. His future is extremely bright, as he should become a dominant defensive end for the Green Bay Packers.
Most Disappointing Player
Winner: B.J. Raji, Defensive End
What in the world has happened to Raji?
He used to be one of the better defensive linemen in the league, but his 2013 season was a major disappointment. Raji finished the season as the third-worst 3-4 defensive end in the league, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Considering Raji is up for a new contract in the offseason, he really picked a terrible time for his play to digress so much.
Runner-Up: The Safeties
It was hard to pick just one safety as the runner-up for biggest disappointment, so we decided to give every safety on the roster a place here.
The safeties for the Green Bay Packers were comically bad all year long. Even Morgan Burnett wasn't able to make much of a positive impact.
There are going to be some major changes for this part of the football team after such disappointing seasons.
Play of the Year
Winner: The bomb to Randall Cobb
There are a number of reasons that Cobb's touchdown reception is the play of the year for the Green Bay Packers.
For starters, it was the first game that quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Cobb played together since Week 6. Both players were getting their first playing time after suffering major injuries.
Secondly, and more importantly, the touchdown pass came with the Packers down one with less than one minute remaining in the game. It was also the play that propelled Green Bay to the playoffs.
This play will go down as one of the most exciting plays we've seen from the Packers in a long time.
Runner-Up: Tony Romo's late interception
Sure, Romo isn't a member of the Packers, but it's always enjoyable to give him a little fault for his mistakes.
After the Packers made a huge comeback against the Dallas Cowboys, Romo had a chance to drive his team down the field to win the game. Unfortunately, Romo found the hands of cornerback Tramon Williams instead of his own receiver.
Had the Packers not beat the Cowboys, they would have likely missed out on the playoffs.
Most Valuable Player
Winner: Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback
It'd be easy to give this award to Eddie Lacy for all that he did for the Green Bay Packers during the regular season. However, Rodgers proved in Week 17 that he is absolutely this team's Most Valuable Player.
Without Rodgers in the lineup, the Packers only managed to go 2-4-1. Once Rodgers came back against the Chicago Bears, it was as if there was an entirely different team on the field.
Throw in his late-game heroics in Week 17 and it's easy to see why Rodgers will always be the MVP of the Packers.
Runner-Up: Eddie Lacy, Running Back
There really aren't words left to continue to praise just how awesome Lacy was during his rookie season.
He proved himself to be an elite running back in the NFL and should only get better with time.