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NFL Analysis

NFL Honors Awards Votes and Pro Football Hall of Fame Ballot



Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson runs with the ball against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in Baltimore. The Ravens won the NFL game 37-31 in overtime. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

NFL Honors ceremony takes place tonight before in a nationally televised event. Awards will be handed out to the league’s best performers of the 2023 season. The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024 will also be introduced. The Associated Press votes on seven of the awards.

Here is a look at this writer’s votes for both the AP awards and the Hall of Fame inductees.

Most Valuable Player

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

The 2019 NFL MVP should take home his second award tonight. Lamar Jackson led the Ravens to the league’s best regular season record, going 13-3 before sitting out the season finale. His numbers were not as dominant as when he won his first MVP but they were still impressive. Jackson finished with 3,678 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He also rushed for 821 yards and five touchdowns, with a league-leading 5.5 yards per carry.

Offensive Player of the Year

Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers

McCaffrey and teammate Brock Purdy are among the five finalists for NFL MVP, but Christian McCaffrey earned this award. He led the NFL in both rushing yards (1,459) and yards from scrimmage (2,023). McCaffrey scored 21 touchdowns, finding the end zone in 13 of the 16 games he played in. He added 67 receptions for 564 receiving yards.

Defensive Player of the Year

T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers

Watt had a solid argument to be a Most Valuable Player finalist. He led the Steelers to a playoff berth despite having no Pro Bowl players on Pittsburgh’s offensive and only safety Mikah Fitzpatrick joining him from the defense. T.J. Watt led the NFL in sacks (19.0) and QB hits (36). Watt also registered four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, an interception, and scored a defensive touchdown. He won the award in 2021.

Offensive Rookie of the Year

C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans

The top three candidates in this group are all incredible. Puka Nacua of the Rams had one of the best rookie seasons for a wide receiver in NFL history. Likewise for Sam LaPorta of the Lions as far as tight ends are concerned. But C.J. Stroud excelled as a rookie at the most difficult position in football to do so. He led the Texans to the NFL Playoffs. The No. 2 pick of the 2023 NFL Draft led Houston to a 9-6 record in his 15 starts. He passed for 4,108 yards, 23 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He also rushed for three touchdowns.

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Will Anderson, Houston Texans

Four candidates could win this award. In addition to Anderson, Jalen Carter (Eagles), Kobie Turner (Rams), and Devon Witherspoon (Seahawks) all had exceptional rookie campaigns. Will Anderson gets the nod here by a slim margin over the field. He finished his first season in Houston with 45 tackles, including 10 for a loss. Anderson also recorded 7.0 sacks, and according to Pro Football Focus led all NFL rookies in QB hits, hurries, and pressures.

Comeback Player of the Year

Damar Hamlin, Buffalo Bills

This award is difficult to gauge because the potential recipients are so broad. It is given to the player “who overcomes adversity to return to remarkable performance, in the form of not being in the NFL the previous year, a severe injury, or simply poor performance.” So this is a Comeback Player of the Year and Most Improved Player Award combined. The vote here goes to Damar Hamlin. He nearly died on the football field on Jan. 2, 2023. It looked like he might not live, never mind playing professional football again. By Oct. 1 Hamlin was back playing in an NFL game for Buffalo. With all due respect, that comeback trumps anything any other candidate accomplished.

Coach of the Year

John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens

Harbaugh is considered a long shot to win the actual award tonight. The Ravens are so consistently in contention, that many forget expectations for Baltimore were not high before the season. Las Vegas odds had the Ravens over/under for wins at 8.5, a .500 team. Instead, John Harbaugh helped lead the Ravens to a 13-4 record, which included a loss in the season finale playing mostly backups. This earned Baltimore the No. 1 seed in the AFC Playoffs and garnered Harbaugh the vote here for Coach of the Year.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024

There will be up to five Modern Era finalists selected to be part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024. Of the 15 finalists, these five receive a vote here:

Antonio Gates, TE (Chargers)

Rodney Harrison, DB (Chargers, Patriots)

Andre Johnson, WR (Texans, Colts, Titans)

Julius Peppers, DE (Panthers, Bears, Packers)

Reggie Wayne, WR (Colts)

The ten finalists not on the final ballot are all extremely deserving as well. There were only two or three names from the group that did not garner serious consideration to be part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024.

Note from On Thursday, Feb. 8, Keegan-Michael Key will host the 13th annual NFL Honors, which will air live at 9 p.m. ET on CBS and NFL Network and stream on Paramount+ and NFL+ from the Resorts World Theatre in Las Vegas. The annual event features the announcement of the Associated Press awards and the newest class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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