The Green Bay Packers have had a number of players take home NFL awards in recent years. Aaron Rodgers won MVP awards following his 2011 and 2014 seasons. Eddie Lacy took home the offensive rookie of the year award in 2013. Former Packer Charles Woodson was the defensive player of the year in 2009.
Overall, the Packers have been fortunate to have maintained high levels of talent over the last few seasons. Heading into 2015, Green Bay once again has a selection of players who have the potential to be honored at the end of the season. Which players on the Packers have the best chance to win each award?
Last Packer to win: Aaron Rodgers, 2014
Packer with best chance to win in 2015: Aaron Rodgers
This one was not difficult to figure out. Rodgers is still the best quarterback in the NFL heading into next season. In a league that has become increasingly dependent on the passing game, the quarterback position has become the most valuable almost by default. Seven of the past eight MVPs have been quarterbacks.
If Rodgers can maintain his efficiency and consistency that he has displayed over the past four seasons, he would be the player with the best chance to win in the entire league, not solely the Packer with the best chance. There is no reason to expect a substantial drop-off in his production, and he will likely be in the consideration for MVP throughout the season.
Offensive Player of the Year
Last Packer to win: Brett Favre, 1995
Packer with best chance to win in 2015: Eddie Lacy
Rodgers might again have a claim to this award, but his pure offensive production such as yards and touchdowns often falls short of other quarterbacks. The past two times he has won MVP, another player has won offensive player of the year. Rodgers won MVP due to the efficiency he maintained while having substantial production, even though the production alone was less than others.
For that reason, Lacy could have a better shot at the award than Rodgers in 2015. Lacy is entering the third season of his career, and has been a model of consistency at running back. He has rushed for over 1100 yards in both of his years in the NFL, and already has 24 touchdowns in his career. He will be running behind his best offensive line yet in 2015, while likely still maintaining roughly the same workload.
It would take a huge season for Lacy to win the award, but expectations remain high for the third-year back and he has the potential to put up a season worthy of offensive player of the year honors.
Defensive Player of the Year
Last Packer to win: Charles Woodson, 2009
Packer with best chance to win in 2015: Clay Matthews
Matthews is clearly the biggest star on the Green Bay defense. He is the biggest difference maker who truly has the potential to completely tilt the field. He has been injured frequently throughout his career, and the Packers’ defense is not the same without him.
Matthews was already the best defensive player for the Packers, and he will likely have an even more expanded role in 2015. He shifted almost seamlessly to playing an entirely new position last season and recorded 11 sacks and a career-high 61 tackles. His presence on the field and his ability to completely alter the course of a game make him the Packers’ best bet at defensive player of the year.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Last Packer to win: Eddie Lacy, 2013
Packer with best chance to win in 2015: Ty Montgomery
Montgomery is the Packer with the best chance at this award almost by default. Green Bay spent four of its draft picks on offensive players, but Montgomery appears to be the one who could have the biggest impact. He will contend to be the Packers’ primary returner and will also compete for the number four receiving job. The rest of the Packers’ offensive rookies will be either backups or bench players, while Montgomery could at least see the field in four (or five) receiver packages.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Last Packer to win: Willie Buchanon, 1972
Packer with best chance to win in 2015: Quinten Rollins
Both Rollins and Damarious Randall have high expectations for the Green Bay defense. Randall was the Packers’ first round pick, but Rollins has the highest ceiling of the Packers’ incoming class of rookies. He also got more time with the first-team defense when Randall was injured during OTAs, so he is already gaining valuable practice experience. His ability is largely unknown, but he has a huge amount of promise for the Packers.
Comeback Player of the Year
Last Packer to win: N/A
Packer with best chance to win in 2015: B.J. Raji
Raji is the Packers’ highest-profile player to have a story worthy of the comeback player. He missed the entirety of last season after he was expected to be Green Bay’s starting nose tackle. He has struggled since the Packers’ Super Bowl run, and expectations were high that 2014 would be the year he finally returned to form. If Raji can come back and anchor the team’s defensive line after missing an entire year, he could be in the running for the comeback player of the year.
The Green Bay Packers have a roster that is loaded with talent. The offense remains one of the best in the league and the defense has been improving steadily over the last few years. It is incredibly difficult to expect these players to perform well enough to merit these awards, but there are some players who do have realistic shots to be honored at the end of the NFL season for the Green Bay Packers.——————
Sean Blashe is a Packers fan who grew up in Bears territory and is currently a journalism and history major at Marquette University. Sean is a writer with PackersTalk.com and you can follow him on twitter at @SeanBlashe .