Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are the toast of the NFL and each have been mentioned as candidates for the NFL MVP and Offensive Rookie of the Year. How realistic are the chances of either of them landing one or both of the awards?
If I were voting and being as objective as possible, I could not vote for Prescott for MVP of the league. I say this despite believing that Prescott should and would be the team’s starting quarterback several weeks prior to Tony Romo returning from injury. Prescott has been phenomenal and is right there with Robert Griffin III and Dan Marino for having the best seasons ever for a rookie quarterback. The key is the qualifier…for a rookie quarterback. I think most NFL personnel men would agree that Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, likely among a few others, would make the Cowboys offense even more potent than it has been, especially against tougher defenses.
If you disagree, ask yourself this…based solely on productivity this season, would you trade the offensive personnel excluding the quarterbacks in Dallas for those in New England or Green Bay? I wouldn’t, and I wouldn’t make that trade with any team in the league. The closest competitors would likely include Oakland, Washington, Tennessee, and Green Bay. I believe Brady and Rodgers have been more valuable to their respective teams. Rodgers had a stretch of rough games similar to Prescott, and Brady was suspended for four games. If a voter values availability and more consistent contributions, Matt Ryan might be the guy. His lowest passer rating for any game this season was 78.7.
Ezekiel Elliott seems to be the stronger candidate for MVP. He ranks better against his competition at his position than Prescott. Elliott appears to me to be among the best runners in the league, and I’d probably give him the edge over LeVeon Bell purely as a runner. Bell and David Johnson have shown much more as receivers, although Elliott hasn’t been given the chance to run downfield routes and has been limited to mostly flare outs and dump offs and has done very well with the responsibilities he has been given. Even if he was showcased in those ways, it is doubtful that Elliott could match their phenomenal receiving prowess. However, Elliot has been nearly flawless in his pass blocking over the entire season, which has huge importance and is too often overlooked. While Elliott matches up well against fellow running backs, if I had to vote for an MVP based on who is actually the most valuable player, it would difficult to not vote for a quarterback considering the out-sized importance that quarterbacks have on their team’s success or failure.
An award that Elliott would be a better candidate for, if there was such an award, is best player. That type of award could go to players that excel the most, while not necessarily being the most valuable, which is heavily influenced by positional value. Think J.J. Watt over the past few seasons.
The Rookie of the Year award is the award that I believe should go to Dak Prescott, and I wouldn’t hesitate at all with that vote. While Elliott has had the better season in comparison to others at his position, Prescott has had an extremely impressive season as a rookie considering the position he is playing. It isn’t easy for rookie running backs to have immediate success in the NFL, but it is considerably more difficult for quarterbacks to have immediate success. Another contender is Tyreek Hill, who has made numerous big plays for the Chiefs.
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