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ESPN Poll: NFL Execs Predict Josh Allen as 2021 MVP, T.J. Watt as DPOY, More

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 8, 2021

AP Photo/Joshua Bessex

People around the NFL do not think Josh Allen's 2020 breakout was a one-year fluke.

Jeremy Fowler of ESPN spoke to executives, scouts and coaches around the NFL to get their preseason awards predictions, with Allen standing out as the MVP favorite. 

Here is a look at every award prediction:


MVP: Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
Offensive Player of the Year: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
Defensive Player of the Year: T.J. Watt, OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Mac Jones, QB, New England Patriots / Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Micah Parsons, LB, Dallas Cowboys
Comeback Player of the Year: Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
Coach of the Year: Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers


Allen threw for 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns against 10 interceptions and added 421 yards and eight scores on the ground last season. It was a largely unexpected breakout after Allen struggled with accuracy his first two NFL seasons but a welcomed one for the Bills, who enter the 2021 campaign as Super Bowl contenders.

McCaffrey is coming off a lost 2020 season that saw him limited to just three games. The NFL's most versatile running back when healthy, McCaffrey will need to stay in the lineup to make good on the lofty expectations. A running back has won Offensive Player of the Year four of the last 10 seasons, including Derrick Henry in 2020.

Barkley, like McCaffrey, greatly disappointed his fantasy owners last season through no fault of his own. A Week 2 ACL tear ended the Penn State product's year prematurely and caused him to miss most of training camp. Though not yet cleared for Week 1, Barkley has a good chance to rebound in a better Giants offense. 

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Watt was viewed by some as a snub last season, barely losing to three-time DPOY Aaron Donald. The Steelers star has recorded at least 13 sacks in each of the last three seasons.

The rookie breakdown is the expected suspects. Jones and Lawrence will be Week 1 rookie starting quarterbacks; there's an inherent advantage they have over the field simply due to the position they play. 

Parsons, despite sitting out his final season at Penn State, looked every bit like a surefire star in Happy Valley and should translate instantly to a Cowboys defense in desperate need of his tackling prowess. 

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