NFL awards: Winners, players of year honors

NFL awards season is here. Our players and coaches of the year were voted upon by their own peers during the last month of the season. Here are the winners.

NFL awards: Winners, players of the year

NFL players and coaches have spoken.

Sporting News’ annual NFL awards provide those in the league a voice at the end of each season — a chance to recognize the best among their pro-football peers. Over the last month of the 2017 season, players submitted ballots with their choices for Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. Head coaches submitted ballots with their choices for Coach of the Year, Coordinator of the Year and SN’s All-Pro team.

Based on voting results, here are SN’s NFL award winners and All-Pro Team selections for the 2017 season.

MORE: All of SN's NFL awards

Offensive Player of the Year

Voting for Offensive Player of the Year in 2017 became complicated when front-runner Carson Wentz was lost for the season with a knee injury in December. But that doesn't mean Wentz's peers didn't recognize the impact the quarterback had for the eventual NFC-champion Eagles.

Among other strong candidates for Offensive Player of the Year were Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who had yet another MVP-caliber season at age 40, and Antonio Brown, who also had his season cut short by an injury. The Steelers wide receiver likely would have set new career-high marks in receiving yards and touchdowns had he played all 16 games.

In the end, injuries aside, players voted for who they thought was the best offensive player of the season in a close vote.

READ: SN Offensive Player of the Year

Defensive Player of the Year

The race for Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 came as a bit of a surprise considering the names that were involved. That's what happens when players like J.J. Watt are lost for year during a season that was defined by injuries to All-Pro-level players.

So welcome to Defensive Player of the Year candidacy, Calais Campbell, Demarcus Lawrence, Chandler Jones and Everson Griffen. Your career-best seasons in 2017 were on par with those of the likes of Bobby Wagner, Aaron Donald and Luke Kuechly in the eyes of your peers.

However, the winner of SN's award dominated the voting, and it's well deserved.

READ: SN Defensive Player of the Year

Rookie of the Year

Considering Ezekiel Elliott's breakout in 2016, whew knew 2017 would end up with better qualification as "the year of the rookie running back?" Alvin Kamara of the Saints, Kareem Hunt of the Chiefs, Leonard Fournette of the Jaguars, Christian McCaffrey of the Panthers and Tarik Cohen of the Bears all broke out as talented running backs in their first seasons. Hunt even won the NFL's rushing title.

There were impressive 2017 rookies at other positions, too. Deshaun Watson before a season-ending knee injury broke out as the Texans' franchise quarterback. Marshon Lattimore arrived quickly as the shutdown cornerback the Saints desperately needed. JuJu Smith-Schuster and T.J. Watt made big plays for the Steelers.

All that said, voting for Rookie of the Year in 2017 was not close. It was an easy call for NFL players.

READ: SN Rookie of the Year

Comeback Player of the Year

This is an award nobody wants to win given the fact that the winner is rebounding from either injury or poor play (or both). But it's a nod to the player's resiliency, an admirable trait in any profession, let alone one as physically imposing as NFL football.

There were several strong candidates due to injuries suffered in 2016. Keenan Allen of the Chargers, Earl Thomas of the Seahawks and Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots were among them. Todd Gurley and Case Keenum both rebounded from bad seasons with the Rams and exploded for LA and Minnesota, respectively. Josh Gordon finally returned to the Browns for the first time since 2014 and, somehow, picked up right where he left off.

But, again, this one wasn't close.

READ: SN Comeback Player of the Year

More NFL awards winners

Coach of the Year

Coordinator of the Year

2017 All-Pro Team