In 2017 the Jaguars have had their first early season success since 2010. The team, as a whole, has exceeded the expectations of most. So have many of the individuals on the team. Let's take a look at some of the best and brightest through 8 games.
Here's our Jaguars Mid-Season Awards
Offensive Player of the Year: Leonard Fournette
This was one was . . . pretty damn easy. Leonard Fournette has been a revelation. Despite missing two games, there's still no question in my mind that Leonard Fournette has been the most important player on the offensive side of the ball. When he's in the game, defenses fear him, and at times, that's allowed Bortles and the passing game to find a rhythm. He's on pace to have one of the best seasons by a Jaguars running back of all time and is neck in neck with Kareem Hunt in the Rookie of the Year race. Fournette has been a game changer for the Jaguars and they'll need him to continue to be just that down the stretch.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jalen Ramsey
This one was much, much more difficult. But Ramsey has earned it. In his second year he's already the best CB in football. He plays with an unrivaled physicality and swagger. He doesn't allow anyone to beat him and regularly gets inside the head of his opponent. He's faced star WRs such as DeAndre Hopkins, Antonio Brown, TY Hilton, and AJ Green. He's won or held his own against all of them. Ramsey is the best player on the best secondary in football.
Most Improved Player: AJ Cann
Cann hasn't been perfect this year, but he has been far and away better than he was in 2016. During his rookie year (2015) Cann appeared to be a rising star at guard. But an ugly sophomore slump led many (including myself) to question whether or not Cann was the answer at right guard for the Jaguars. Well, through the first half of the season there's no question that Cann is the man. He's done well in run blocking and pass protection. Dave Caldwell had confidence in AJ when no one else did, and for that I must commend Caldwell. It appears he was right to believe in the third year offensive lineman.
Most Surprising Player: Dante Fowler Jr.
Dante has been a revelation in 2017. Despite dealing with a litany of off field issues and maturity questions on the field Fowler has found his way in this defense. While many were talking bust prior to the start of the season, Fowler has earned his keep and is putting up some impressive pass rush numbers, while being an excellent run defender. Fowler has 5.5 sacks on the year, which puts him at 18th in the entire NFL. He's on pace for 11 sacks in what is truly his second year. Fowler has benefited from playing next to some fantastic defensive lineman this year, but the rest of the D-Line has also benefitted from playing next to Fowler. He appears to be a star in the making.
And finally . . . .
The MVP goes to: Calais Campbell
What Calais Campbell brought with him from the desert of Arizona to the Jacksonville Jaguars is hard to properly put into words. He's helped immensely with the culture change. He's a leader on and off the field. He seemingly always does and says the right thing and is someone the rest of the team can follow. All of that is great, and really has been key for the Jaguars this season, but even more important: his play on the field. Campbell has been dominant against the run and even better as a pass rusher. He's opened up things for the rest of the defensive line and he himself is having one of the most dominant pass rushing seasons of all time. Through just eight games Campbell is one sack shy of the Jaguars single season record. He's on pace to rack up 22 sacks this year, which would put him .5 sacks away from the NFL all time single season record. The 6'8'' behemoth is the heartbeat of the best defense in the NFL.
Agree with our awards? Let us know in the comments below!
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