Could Von Miller Sack His Way To NFL Awards In 2021?

Posted By Ian St. Clair on June 15, 2021

Colorado sports fans have been put through the ringer the last two weeks.

The Colorado Avalanche lost four-straight games to the Las Vegas Golden Knights and the season-long Stanley Cup favorite is now playing golf.

The Denver Nuggets got swept by the Phoenix Suns, and are now playing golf.

At least there’s the Colorado Rockies … oh, wait. That’s right, the Rockies are on pace for 100 losses.

In terms of “local” sports and teams, that leaves the Denver Broncos. As Broncos Country continues to hold out hope for Aaron Rodgers to find his way to Denver, the start of mandatory minicamp will become the focus. Namely the quarterback competition between Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock.

But it also marks the return of two Broncos who could have a big impact on the team, Von Miller and Courtland Sutton. Both were lost to season-ending injuries in 2020, Miller before the season even started.

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Von Miller NFL awards odds

If a “current” member of the franchise is going to win an award, it’s likely going to be Miller.

Since he’s coming off injury, he’ll be in the running for NFL Comeback Player of the Year. As it stands now at DraftKings Sportsbook Colorado, the Broncos edge is at +1,600. If you were wondering about Sutton, he’s not listed as an option.

Before you place your bet on this, however, keep in mind Miller winning is incredibly unlikely. That is unless he has a monster year. We’re talking about setting the NFL single-season sack record of 22.5 set by Hall of Famer Michael Strahan in 2001.

Short of Miller pulling that off this season, he’s not winning it.

Chew on this, since The Associated Press started giving the award again in 1998, a defensive player has won Comeback Player of the Year three times. Defensive end Joe Johnson (2000), defensive end Greg Ellis (2007) and safety Eric Berry (2015). For Berry, he was coming back from cancer. So that sets the bar pretty high for a defensive player.

Miller more likely for Defensive Player of the Year

Miller will also be in contention for Defensive Player of the Year. This is far more likely, and it comes at a better price for those betting on the NFL in Colorado. Miller currently sits at +3,300 at DraftKings.

Prior to his injury, the reports out of Broncos training camp last year were that Miller was a beast. He looked like he was back to his form of the 2015 playoffs that resulted in him winning Super Bowl 50 MVP. Now he’s coming off an injury and wants to prove he still has “it.”

Based on those odds, it might be worth the gamble, so to speak. And if Denver makes a trade for Rodgers? Miller will have a great shot at the award.

The only other member of the Broncos who could have a shot at Defensive Player of the Year, at least at DraftKings, is edge Bradley Chubb (+4,000).

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Staying on defense, first-round pick Patrick Surtain is an intriguing option for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Given how good the Broncos defense could be in 2021, Surtain could play a big role, especially with the defensive system he will play in.

And the cornerback from Alabama has impressed since his arrival. As James Palmer with NFL Network tweeted:

“Patrick Surtain doesn’t look like a rookie. Isn’t being treated like a rookie either. He has walked in NFL ready and Denver seems to obviously see that.”

Surtain is +1,400 at DraftKings to win the award.

Javonte Williams as Offensive Rookie of the Year?

On the offensive side of the ball, the selection of running back Javonte Williams was one of the most lauded picks by Denver.

Then there’s the report by Josina Anderson a few hours before the Broncos traded up to get him in the second round that only adds to the fervor:

“He’s the best running back in the Draft. He has the ability to be a 1,000 yard rusher and receiver like Christian McCaffrey. He’s as physical as Nick Chubb, as gifted as Alvin Kamara on third down and as patient as Le’Veon Bell. He’s the MF truth.”

If Williams is anywhere close to that, you might want to think about placing a wager on him for Offensive Rookie of the Year. He sits at +2,000 at DraftKings. To win the award, he would have to play like all three of those running backs. The skepticism might come from current Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and how he utilizes the rookie running back.

Head Coach of the Year

The only other award someone in Denver is up for that isn’t a complete longshot is Broncos head coach Vic Fangio. While it’s “unlikely,” it’s not out of the realm of possibility. If Denver is able to, gasp, win the AFC West and top the Kansas City Chiefs, it could happen. A certain trade would need to be made first, of course, to spur that along.

Fangio currently sits at +2,200 to win the award.

Broncos longshots

As noted earlier, the Broncos have their longshots for various awards (odds from DraftKings).

NFL MVP

  • Bridewater and Lock +15,000
  • Williams +25,000
  • Melvin Gordon +50,000

Offensive Player of the Year

  • Gordon +5,000
  • Sutton +10,000
  • Jerry Jeudy +15,000
  • Bridewater +20,000
  • Lock +25,000

What if the Rodgers trade happens?

Since the Colorado online sports betting market has been through enough, let’s end on a positive note and assume Denver trades for Rodgers. In terms of an update, Broncos insider Benjamin Allbright put the odds at 60/40 that the quarterback ends up in Denver.

Obviously, the current odds are for him playing with the Green Bay Packers this season, so it’d be interesting to see how they change, if at all. Not to mention how the odds for other members of the Broncos would change.

But right now, Rodgers is tied with Josh Allen at +1,000 to win NFL MVP, behind Patrick Mahomes at +400. Remember, Rodgers is the reigning MVP.

In terms of Offensive Player of the Year, Rodgers is at +1,600.

Photo by AP / Mike Roemer
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Ian St. Clair

Ian St. Clair is an award-winning sports journalist. He is a University of Northern Colorado graduate, Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. Ian does a segment each Saturday on Klahr and Kompany on Denver radio station ESPN 1600 AM.

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