By: Eli Silverstone
The 2024 NFL season is moving along and with week 10 wrapped up, we are slightly past the halfway mark. At this point in the season, we are starting to get an idea of the teams and players who are for real. When it comes to individual players, a comprehensive and fun way to evaluate that is to hand out some way-too-early hardware. So, let’s have a look at NFL Award candidates as of Week 10.
MVP: Tua Tagovailoa
Runner up: Patrick Mahomes
For most awards, the player with the clear statistical advantage usually wins. But when it comes to franchise quarterbacks, the wins and losses matter just as much. That’s a fair argument if you prefer last year's MVP, Patrick Mahomes. The Kansas City Chiefs have one more win than the Miami Dolphins, but Mahomes falls behind Tagovailoa in multiple important statistical categories, including Passing Yards, Completion %, and QB Rating. Tua currently leads the league in touchdowns with 19 (two more than Mahomes) and has fewer interceptions than Mahomes (eight INTs to seven). The Dolphins have definitely struggled against playoff contenders this year but have also built an extremely fast and exciting system that Tagovailoa is excelling in.
Offensive Player of the Year: Tyreek Hill
Runner up: Christian McCaffrey
I promise this article is not just Dolphins propaganda. It’s just that Hill has taken his game to another level this season. In Week 8, the dynamic wide receiver became the first player in 62 years to record over 1,000 receiving yards before the halfway point. He’s leading all WRs in receiving yards and TDs and despite being a Pro-Bowler every season of his career, this is looking like his best year yet.
McCaffrey has been fantastic as well, leading all RBs in rushing yards and currently in second place in the entire NFL in TDs. The only person ahead of him is another Dolphin, running back Raheem Mostert.
Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Garrett
Runner up: Danielle Hunter
Garrett has been the catalyst for arguably the best defence in the NFL and is tied for the most sacks and forced fumbles in the NFL so far. After back-to-back 16-sack seasons, Garrett is on pace to approach twenty once again. Danielle Hunter has a shot, but it is hard to look away from Garrett.
Runner-up Danielle Hunter is having a fantastic season, just edging out superstars Maxx Crosby and TJ Watt, and is tied with Garrett for the NFL sack lead while also leading the league in tackles for loss.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: CJ Stroud
Runner up: Puka Nacua
This is by far the easiest selection of any of these awards. Stroud got off to a hot start by breaking the all-time record for most pass attempts without an interception to start a career. Stroud threw almost 200 passes before finally being picked and a couple of weeks later, he has thrown for 15 touchdowns with just two interceptions for the season, while cementing himself in second in the league in passing yards. The Texans finished 3-14 last season but with Stroud at the helm, they already have a much better 5-4 record. After all the terrible Deshaun Watson vibes and two uninspiring seasons of Davis Mills, the Texans got their guy.
Runner-up Puka Nacua has slowed down in recent weeks but he is still 11th in the league in receptions and sixth in receiving yards. Not bad for a fifth-round rookie.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Devon Witherspoon
Runner up: Jalen Carter
Fifth-overall-pick Witherspoon has come flying out of the gates and formed a great young DB duo with last year's DROTY nominee, Tariq Woolen. The hard-hitting Witherspoon leads the NFL in pass breakups and is the second-highest-graded cornerback in the NFL via PFF. He had a breakout game against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football when he recorded two sacks and a 97-yard pick-six.
Ninth-overall pick Jalen Carter has been extremely impactful as well, posting four sacks and two forced fumbles as part of a dominant Philadelphia Eagles defensive line, but Witherspoon gets the edge.
Comeback Player of the Year: Damar Hamlin
Runner up: Tua Tagovoiloa
One of the scariest events in sports history turned into a fantastic comeback story when Hamlin returned last Monday and played defensive snaps for the first time since he fell into cardiac arrest less than a year ago. If anyone deserves an award based on a comeback story, it’s Hamlin.
Still, Tagovoiloa is worth mentioning, as he suffered multiple concussions last season, including having to be carted off during a Thursday night game against the Bengals. He has returned and played at an MVP-caliber level this season.
Coach of the Year: Mike Tomlin
Runner up: Dan Campbell
Tomlin’s record of finishing .500 or better for 16 consecutive seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers appears set to reach 17. The Steelers currently sit at 6-3, above the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals in the competitive AFC North. Without Tomlin, that record would be unlikely. Kenny Pickett and the offence have been brutal this season, ranking in the bottom five in passing yards and passing TDs and all six of their wins have been won by seven points or less, pointing to Tomlin’s ability to make the right call down the stretch.
Campbell, on the other hand, has taken a Detroit team with immense potential to a 7-2 start, including an opening night win over the Chiefs in Kansas City.