I asked Denver Broncos fans and the Mile High Report staff which players deserve the quarter season awards for offensive player, defensive, most improved, and MVP. I decided to leave out coaching because of how bad the coaching has been outside of Ejiro Evero.
Starting off with what the fans picked for their awards.
MVP and Defensive Player - Pat Surtain II
Pat Surtain II won the fan vote by a very wide margin, picking up 85% of the vote. The sophomore player has allowed 21 catches for 165 yards. On 33 targets, Surtain has also had six pass breakups, which is fourth in the league. He allows 7.9 yards per catch, which is fifth in the NFL.
Surtain’s best game so far is a little hard to pick in my opinion. It is either the 49ers game when he lined up against Brandon Aiyuk for most of the game and on four targets gave up zero catches and had two pass break-ups, or against the Raiders lining up against one of if not the best wide receivers in the NFL in Davante Adams. Against Adams, Surtain allowed seven catches for 61 yards on 12 targets but also had four pass breakups in that game.
Surtain is only in his second year in the NFL and to be named the team MVP at this point is massive for the Broncos. Going forward they really nailed this pick.
Other players voted on for the top defensive player through one quarter of the season included Randy Gregory, Bradley Chubb, and D.J. Jones.
Offensive Player - Courtland Sutton
In yet another landslide for the Broncos with 87% of the vote, the fans named Courtland Sutton the best offensive player so far. This one is a no brainer as the offense has really struggled so far this year, but Sutton has been one of the best bright spots. Through Week 5, Sutton has 29 catches for 417 yards, which is sixth in the NFL, and he gets 14 yards per catch, which is the 25th most in the NFL.
Sutton’s best game this year came against the Texans when he had seven catches for 122 yards on 11 targets, against very talented rookie cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. Sutton has really burst onto the scene as a player; hopefully the offense can still turn things around this year.
Most Improved Player- Caden Sterns
Many players could have gotten this award, including punter Corliss Waitman, Baron Browning, or even Randy Gregory. It was a little closer, but Caden Sterns won it. Sterns has been filling in for injured Justin Simmons, and he has really stepped up, especially in the Colts game when he intercepted Matt Ryan twice. Sterns has allowed just only four catches so far also, and PFF gave him a grade this year of 76.7.
Now onto the staff votes, which were not that much different from the fans.
MHR’s MVP and Defensive Player - Pat Surtain II
Surtain once again won the team MVP and defensive player of the year. He has really made an argument to be the best cornerback in the league.
Surtain has also been graded an 86.7 by PFF this year, and the highest-graded defender by PFF is not that far in front of Surtain with only a 91.9. Surtain’s coverage grade is at 88.1, which is first out of all cornerbacks.
Other players mentioned in MVP voting were kicker Brandon McManus.
Other players mentioned in the defensive player of the year voting were Chubb and Gregory.
MHR’s Offensive Player - Courtland Sutton
Sutton won the staff vote in a clean sweep. Sutton has continued to make strides forward this year. Without Jerry Jeudy last year, he was the outright No. 1 receiver but struggled with subpar quarterbacks. He had only 58 catches for 776 yards and only two touchdowns. Sutton is more than well on his way to having way better numbers than he did last year.
Other players mentioned in the offensive player of the year voting: ♂️
MHR’s Most Improved - Baron Browning
Baron Browning took the staff vote as the most improved. Browning is coming off a game against the Colts where he had the highest pressure rate (50%) and pass rush win rate (60%) in the PFF era.
And that was his first-ever NFL start at outside linebacker.
Moving Browning from middle linebacker to outside linebacker has been very good for the Broncos so far this year as he has been playing at a high level.
Other players mentioned were Bradley Chubb and Caden Sterns.