The 2021 Las Vegas Raiders season was arguably the most adversity-ridden year any team has ever faced in NFL history. Despite all the turmoil, Las Vegas still found a way to secure a highly-coveted playoff berth. Even though they came up short in the Wild-Card round, this Raiders team accomplished way more than anyone expected them to. A foundation of young and talented players is now in place for whoever ends up with the head coaching job. With that in mind, let us shift our attention to the players worthy of these Las Vegas Raiders 2021 season team awards.
Las Vegas Raiders 2021 Season Team Awards
Most Valuable Player: Maxx Crosby, Defensive End
Raiders fans will forever remember 2021 as the year Maxx Crosby ascended to “elite” status in the NFL. According to P.F.F., he led the NFL with an astonishing 100 quarterback pressures this season. The only two players who have ever posted higher pressures in a single season are J.J. Watt and Aaron Donald.
Now that Crosby has solidified himself as one of the best pass rushers in the league, the next order of business is a contract extension. On the season, Crosby recorded 56 combined tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and eight sacks. He also registered 30 quarterback hits and seven pass deflections.
Offensive Player of the Year: Hunter Renfrow, Wide Receiver
A common theme of this list of Las Vegas Raiders 2021 season team awards is players who have taken the next step in their development. Hunter Renfrow is a prime example. He flashed elite-level separation and route-running skills this season, especially when lined up in the slot. This was despite often shaky quarterback play from Derek Carr.
Due to size limitations, Renfrow will likely never receive consideration for being the best receiver in the league. Regardless, going forward there is no one more reliable than him when lining up in the slot. On the season, Renfrow recorded 103 receptions, 1,038 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns. He averaged eight yards per target and sported an impressive catch percentage of 80.5.
Defensive Player of the Year: Denzel Perryman, Inside Linebacker
While Maxx Crosby was arguably the most valuable player, the impact Denzel Perryman had on the defense cannot be understated. Las Vegas acquired him in a trade with the Carolina Panthers before the start of the season. When you consider they only gave up a 2022 sixth-round draft pick to get him, it is truly remarkable how well he played.
Perryman officially earned the first Pro Bowl nomination of his career after leading the league in tackles. He has always been considered a tackling machine, but he elevated his game to a whole new level this season. It would be hard to find anyone to dispute Perryman’s Pro Bowl bid this year. On the season, Perryman registered 154 combined tackles, 108 solo tackles, and five tackles for loss. He also recorded three pass deflections, three quarterback hits, and one forced fumble.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Trevon Moehrig, Safety
Almost every draft pick from the second round and afterward panned out well for Las Vegas this season. The first such player was second-round draft pick Trevon Moehrig. If you were to swap the draft places of Moehrig and Alex Leatherwood, the Raiders draft looks much better on paper. Moehrig was named to the NFL’s All-Rookie Team after capping off a season in which he surrendered under 200 receiving yards.
This is, especially for a rookie, an extremely difficult feat to accomplish in today’s league, which is geared toward throwing the football. On the season, Moehrig recorded 55 combined tackles, 36 solo tackles, and six pass deflections. He also registered one interception and earned P.F.F.’s third-best defensive grade among rookie defensive backs.
Most Improved Player: Daniel Carlson, Kicker
One could easily title this section “Most Clutch Player” and Daniel Carlson would still fit the bill. Irresponsible fan voting is the only reason Carlson did not make the Pro Bowl this season. He arguably deserved the nomination over Justin Tucker and it honestly is not even that close. Carlson is the first kicker ever to win four Player of the Week awards in a single season.
Tucker earned his Pro Bowl bid on name recognition alone. Carlson was the superior kicker this year. On the season, Carlson made 40 of his 43 field goal attempts. Six of those field goals were made from beyond 50 yards. He also made 30 of his 33 extra-point attempts. His numbers do not tell the full story, however, as he made numerous go-ahead and game-winning kicks. His place on this list of Las Vegas Raiders 2021 season team awards is indisputable.
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