The Comeback Player of the Year in my opinion is the most resilient player on the field. But, the Comeback Player of the Year does not necessarily have to be someone who was injured. The award can also be given to a player who performed poorly and rebounded the next season.
So, here are some players to keep an eye out for next year to take home the gold:
Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
The Giants’ star running back went down in Week 2 after suffering a torn ACL. Before the injury, his Week 1 performance was not the best. He was mainly used in the passing game after totaling 6 yards on the ground on 15 attempts. Yes, this was a stingy Pittsburgh defense matched up with a young offensive Giants line, but the numbers were too hot.
Barkley is set to work out with Odell Beckham Jr. (who also suffered a season-ending injury) this offseason. The Giants have some young promise on the offensive line that may help Barkley in 2021. It’s a very young core with plenty of development to go. Barkley could benefit this year from not only a real training camp but as well as more work behind a line that seemed to solidify over the course of the season.
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
There might not be much help for Burrow in Cincy (especially the o-line), but Burrow is entering his second year. A QB can only do so much with what they’re given, and that’s a lot to ask a rookie QB to do. Regardless of who the receivers are, I can see Burrow becoming a top 15 QB in 2021. All he needs like any other rookie is time.
Landon Collins, S, Washington Football Team
Might be a little shocker here, but hear me out. Collins suffered a left Achilles Week 7 versus Dallas.
He is a 3-time Pro Bowler with a career total of 9 interceptions and 6 forced fumbles. He is also coming back to a defense that looked good in the later stretch of their games.
A motivated defense and Chase Young hyping up the team will only lead to a better defense. Collins could return to his Pro-Bowl form and be a key part of Washington’s defense in 2021.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
McCaffrey suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 2 and sat out for a month. He did return in Week 9 versus Kansas City but then suffered a shoulder injury. The Panthers running back was again on the bench to heal up.
In the games he did play, however, McCaffrey looked the star running back he is. In his 3 games, he totaled 225 yards for 5 touchdowns, as well as over 100 receiving yards a TD reception. With a long offseason, rest, and rehab, the Panthers’ lead back should be ready to go once again in 2021.
Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys
Dak suffered a brutal looking ankle injury Week 5 against their division rival Giants. It was confirmed to be a compound fracture and a dislocated right ankle.
Before the injury, Prescott was really proving why he should be earning top dollar in the NFL. He threw for over 400 yards in 3 of 5 games played, as well as 9 touchdowns. The numbers were looking good, but the team looked out of sync, likely due to not having a regular offseason with a new head coach. His contract situation is uncertain.
But, I think all the fans will consider him the early favorite for Comeback Player of the Year.
San Fransisco 49ers
Am I wrong? Their 49ers had a slew of injuries on both sides of the ball. Guys like Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Solomon Thomas, and Jimmy Garoppolo are some examples. Clearly, the team was depleted of their Super Bowl stars and their (6-10) finish to the season showed it.
Really everyone who was injured has a chance to come back and play stronger, but my top pick would probably be Nick Bosa. Still, a healthy recovery is needed for all these stars if they want to come back stronger.
Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Probably the biggest shocker here, but if Wentz is given a second chance and put in the right system, he could be back to his MVP-form. Although this is unlikely, it would be a heck of a storyline.