Top 10 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Candidates
Every year, an NFL player makes a huge comeback. They can go from worst to first in the span of one season. Some previous winners include Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady. Yes, there is a trend there, a quarterback has won the award the most times since it was re-introduced in 1998. Here are the Top 10 players who could take home the honor after the 2014 season.
10. Ike Taylor
As always, I had to get one homer pick in here. Sue me. Taylor went from the best corner on the Pittsburgh Steelers to one of the lowest ranked at the position in 2013. Pittsburgh is looking to get back to form on defense this season, and Taylor put himself through a rigorous offseason training regimen. At 34, the odds are against Taylor, but he sounds confident heading into training camp.
9. Clay Matthews
Matthews broke his thumb in October last season, missed six games, then broke it again in December. The Packers defense looks to be rejuvenated, and Matthews figures to be a big part of that. A double-digit sack campaign will thrust him him into the CBPOTY discussion.
8. Von Miller
Miller tore his ACL late in the 2013 season. His recovery probably won’t be as fast as the superhuman Adrian Peterson’s was, but Miller will most likely be back by week six. The talented linebacker has the ability to make up for lost time very quickly.
7. Ray Rice
Rice had the worst season of his career as a starter in 2013. For some ungodly reason, the Ravens decided to heap the offensive load on Joe Flacco, while ignoring their best offensive player. They hopefully learned their lesson, as I think Rice will once again be the focal point of the offense this season.
6. Jeremy Maclin
Maclin was one of the most productive receivers for the Eagles before an unfortunate string of injuries. Philly parted ways with DeSean Jackson, so expectations are high for Maclin to regain his form and produce. He’s easily a 1,000 yard receiver when healthy, and has looked great thus far in team activities.
5. DeMarcus Ware
Ware went through a nagging quad injury last year, after averaging a ridiculous 15.5 sacks from 2008 to 2012. Before the injury, it didn’t look like he had lost anything on his first step that has frustrated offensive linemen for years. He is now on a contender, and will be relied upon heavily by the Denver Broncos to terrorize opposing QB’s.
4. Rob Gronkowski
Tom Brady gets his favorite target back in the nearly un-coverable Gronk. Although the award has never been won by a tight end, a healthy Gronkowski puts up incredible numbers. The fact that Brady will still be throwing him the football immediately makes him a dark horse for the award.
3. Eli Manning
Quarterbacks have won the award 10 of the last 20 seasons. Manning had a dreadful 2013 campaign, tossing only 18 touchdowns to 27 interceptions as the Giants missed the playoffs. Look for a much, much better 2014 from Peyton’s little brother.
2. Julio Jones
Before Jones injured his foot last October, he was on pace for a phenomenal stat-line. Considered by many to be a top talent at the receiver position, a healthy Julio should put together a monster season and be right in the mix for the award.
1. Robert Griffin III
Everyone’s sexy pick to win the award is mine as well. Reports say that Griffin III is already back to the form that electrified the league when he won the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award in 2012. He is surrounded with a ton of talent on offense as well. The pieces are in place for RGIII to have a massive comeback season.