This difficult year has caused many players to opt-out or decline in productivity. Other players have improved significantly this season. While the most improved player award is only in the NBA, several NFL players are worthy of the award this season. These are players that have helped their teams compete for the NFL Playoffs. They are also players that are who have given themselves to prove their worth on an NFL roster with a more significant contract. There are the NFL’s Most Improved Players for the 2020 NFL season.
Candidates for 2020 NFL’s Most Improved Players
Josh Allen – Quarterback – Buffalo Bills
There have been high expectations for Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen Since being drafted in the 2018 NFL Draft. Each season, Allen has been progressing as a more efficient quarterback. This season, Allen has not only been playing like a Pro-Bowl caliber quarterback, but he is also playing at an MVP level. He’s passed for 4,320 yards, 34 touchdowns, and nine interceptions on 378 completions (out of 547 passing attempts). This is more significant than last year when he passed for 3,089 yards, 20 touchdowns, and nine interceptions on a completion percentage of 58.8 percent. The biggest reason for the significant increase in productivity is the addition of a wide receiver Stefon Diggs. On Monday night’s game at the New England Patriots, Allen threw for 320 yards, four touchdowns, and a QBR of 97.3 on 27 completions (out of 36 passing attempts).
D.K. Metcalf – Wide Receiver – Seattle Seahawks
In just two short seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, wide receiver D.K. Metcalf has turned into a star in the league. Last year, he started 15 of the 16 games he played in while catching 58 receptions for 900 yards and seven touchdowns. This season, Metcalf has caught 80 receptions for 1,282 yards and 10 touchdowns. While he is not the fastest wide receiver on the field for the Seahawks or among the other top producing receivers, he is one of the most consistent. He is a reliable receiver that can win highly contested throws against aggressive defensive backs. Metcalf was selected to his first Pro-Bowl this season. He is already showing signs of becoming one of the elite receivers in the NFL just in his second season.
T.J. Hockenson – Tight End – Detroit Lions
Like Metcalf, Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson is a player that has been growing as a playmaker. Hockenson was the eighth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft for the Lions and was given a lot of pressure. He started seven of the 12 games he played last year before he suffered a season-ending ankle injury. He caught 32 receptions for 367 yards and two touchdowns last season. This season, after a full offseason training with quarterback Matthew Stafford, he became more of a dynamic playmaker. In 15 games this season, Hockenson caught 64 receptions for 698 yards and six touchdowns. He was named to his first Pro Bowl this season after a solid year of production for the Lions. He was the most reliable receiver just behind wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr.
Trey Hendrickson – EDGE – New Orleans Saints
One of the most significant improvements on the defensive side of the ball this season is from New Orleans Saints defensive end Trey Hendrickson. In the first three seasons in the league, Hendrickson has started in three of the 30 games. In those 30 games, he accumulated 40 total tackles, 25 solo tackles, 6.5 sacks, six tackles for loss, and 18 quarterback hits. This year in his fourth season, Hendrickson has contributed much more significantly for a talented Saints defense. Hendrickson has accounted for 24 total tackles, 21 solo tackles, 12.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, and 24 quarterback hits. He currently leads the team in sacks accounted for this season. While five of his teammates were selected for the 2021 Pro Bowl, Hendrickson was not among one of them. His contributions to the team and increased productivity has not gone unnoticed.
Garrett Bolles – Offensive Tackle – Denver Broncos
Offensive linemen are not giving much love for awards but are quick to be blamed when their performances are poor. The first couple of years for Garrett Bolles in the league was not a completely smooth transition. Despite being named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team in 2017, he allowed his quarterback to be sacked eight times. In the next two years as the starting left tackle for the Broncos, Bolles received a Pro Football Focus overall score of 72.8 in 2018 and 76.1 in 2019. This season, Bolles’ consistency as a pass protector and run blocker improved significantly. Bolles currently has an overall graded performance rating of 90.1 with no sacks allowed. His performance boost allowed him to sign an extension with the Broncos on a four-year, $68 million extension.
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