The season is over for the Jacksonville Jaguars, so it’s time to give away the team awards for the year. We’ll use all the major categories that NFL experts are currently casting their votes for league-wide. So with no further adieu…
- Most Valuable Player: Maurice Jones-Drew
Jones-Drew was considered for the league MVP title when the Jaguars produced that great run in the second half of the season, fueld by MJD’s six games with 100+ rushing yard in a row. Finishing with another 1000+ rushing season, he was elected to the Pro Bowl and Sporting News even put him on the All-Pro team. What makes it even more impressive is he did it on a bad knee that he injured during the pre-season.
Runner-up: Marcedes Lewis.
We already knew he was the best blocking tight-end in the NFL. In 2010, he proved to everyone he can catch as well. Marcedes caught 10 touchdown passes, which tied Reggie Williams’ franchise record. Marcedes became an integral piece of Jacksonville’s passing attack and received a well-deserved Pro Bowl selection (and will be the starter, due to Antonio Gates’ injury). He should also have a big, long-term contract in Jacksonville headed his way very soon (we hope).
- Offensive Player of the Year: Marcedes Lewis
I selected Marcedes because he deserves an award for the great performance he had in the past season. He became a true leader on and off the field and is a building block for this franchise. He is also the only 1st rounder from the Shack Harris era who wasn’t a complete bust. (Just for a second, imagine where this team would be if there were six more players like Marcedes on the Jaguars roster or even if just two to three of the first rounders had been successful). If there was any doubt before the season that he is the best all-around (catching, run blocking, pass protecting) tight-ends in the league, I think the skeptics have been silenced.
Runner-up: Mike Thomas
Mike Thomas proved that you can find playmaking wide receivers everywhere in the draft. With 66 catches and 820 receiving yards he lead the Jaguars’ pass catchers in 2010. He is a multi-functional weapon and although Mike Sims-Walker may have more talent, he was overshadowed by M80 all season. He even added a punt return touchdown vs. Indianapolis, the Jaguars’ first since 2002. He not only avoided a sophomore slump, he made a giant leap forward.
- Defensive Player of the Year: Terrance Knighton
He had a rough start to the season (with weight issues) and a not-so-great finish, but between that period Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton was one of the most dominant defensive tackles in the whole league. He was consistently double-teamed and oftentimes that still wasn’t enough to stop him. He recorded 4 sacks, an interception, and a fumble returned by a touchdown that was stripped away by a horrible helmet-to-helmet call on William Middleton. Pot Roast also showed his leadership ability, become the heart and voice of the defensive line after Aaron Kampman was injured. Many experts (SI’s Peter King and ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky, for example) think that he and Tyson Alualu are ascending quickly to become one of the best defensive tackle tandems in the league. Knighton is another building block the Jaguars can count on for a long time.
Runners-up: Aaron Kampman, Jeremy Mincey, and Daryl Smith
All three of these players made a big impact at points during the season, but for one reason or another, were unable to do so all season long. Kampman was obviously hindered by his mid-season ACL tear that put him on Injured Reserve. Before then, he was not only the most dangerous defensive player on the team (with 4 sacks and 30 QB hits and hurries), but almost instantly became the leader of this defense, despite only being a Jaguars for a few short months. He has been worth every penny of the contract he got last spring and everyone is hoping he can return in the same shape this season as he entered last. Jeremy Mincey was Kampman’s replacement and he pushed the threshold of his abilities in every game he started. Despite a broken arm and playing in a cast that did not allow him to fully use his hand, he recorded a team high 5 sacks and became the primary pass-rushing threat for the Jaguars in the second half of 2010. With both he and Kampman in the starting lineup and Tyson Alualu and Terrance Knighton in the middle, the Jaguars’ D-line could be extremely formidable. Daryl Smith earned his way into the mix, as well. He had a monstrous start to the season but went into a bit of a lull after that. He did come through big in crunch time, playing at a superb level for the last three sames with 31 tackles, many of which were big stops. He also improved in the pass rush, with 2 sacks in the second half of the season. He is the only linebacker currently on the team who is assured of being back in 2011 and that’s been earned through his play, not his contract.
More awards after the jump…