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2017 NFL Midseason Awards: Los Angeles Rams Edition

Which Rams should pick up some silverware based on their performances to this point in 2017?

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Seattle Seahawks v Los Angeles Ram Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams just now finished their eighth game of the season. What better time to take a look at some midseason awards?

SB Nation’s NFL team put out their awards last week, but now that we’ve crossed the halfway point on our schedule we can look at the Rams specifically and compare them to my Rams-specific awards.

Coach of the Year: Sean McVay

(SBN: Sean McVay, Head Coach, Los Angeles Rams)

The Rams were 4-12 last season averaging a paltry 14.0 PPG. They were terrible. Nothing looked positive, a roster littered with holes, certain players far over-paid, and a depleted selection of draft picks. Then comes along the 30-year old wonder, Sean McVay. The Rams are currently in first in the NFC West at 6-2, averaging a league high 32.9 PPG, and the future/current situation has never looked better. Sure, Doug Pederson could also be the pick here, but what Sean McVay has done can’t be understated. This should be a shoe-in, for whatever my opinion’s worth.

Here’s what 3k had to say about McVay after winning the SBN NFL midseason award:

What McVay has done in his first year as head coach of the Los Angeles Rams is remarkable. That he's done as much as a first-year head coach and the youngest head coach in modern NFL history is practically unbelievable. It's worth considering what the scope of the challenge was to boot. Taking over the NFL's worst offense without a first-round pick and the sunk costs of the trade the Rams worked with the Tennessee Titanslast year that they used to take Goff. Not only has McVay made good on the hire, he's done so in just seven games. The Rams are 5-2 for the first time since 2003 when they finished 12-4 under Mike Martz. They tried three head coaches thereafter. The fourth has been a home run to this point. McVay and the Rams' biggest challenges are yet to come ... but he's gotten them this far. And that's deserving of the accolade.

Rookie of the Year: Cooper Kupp, WR

(SBN: Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans)

With a lack of a first-round pick, this selection was relatively simple. Sure, you could have went with TE Gerald Everett or even SS John Johnson III, but they haven’t played enough yet to warrant the selection. For me, it’s the Rams most important rookie thus far, rookie slot WR, Cooper Kupp. Kupp currently has a 26-370-3 line, but his play has been so much more important than his stat line. Multiple catches have come on third downs, and his ability to move the chains is superb. It’s part of the reason the Rams lead the league in third down conversion rate at 49%. Kupp could have already entrenched himself a Ram legend with a last second TD drop against the Seahawks, but that’s just a small blunder in a largely impressive rookie season.

Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald, DE

(SBN: Calais Campbell, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars)

Could you really go any other way here? Even after missing the entire offseason (and week one), Aaron Donald re-entered the lineup in week two, and never skipped a beat. In seven games, Aaron Donald has officially registered four sacks (would be six if not for defensive penalties), two FF’s (would be three), and 19 tackles. Pro Football Focus has taken notice (as always), in which Donald is slaughtering the league as an interior pass rusher, here’s the blurb:

PFF Grade: 95.3

PFF Pass-Rush Productivity: 15.9

Donald has yet again proven why he’s one of the best players in the NFL. In an era where getting after the quarterback quickly is as paramount as ever, Donald has accumulated 40 total pressures, three more than any other defender and nine clear of the next interior defender. His 94.8 pass-rush grade is far and away the best in the NFL with DeForest Buckner checking in at second with an 88.8.

Just when you thought Aaron Donald couldn’t become better, he has. Wade Phillips was not lying when he said he gets his best pass rushers isolated with 1-on-1’s, and it’s shown. Aaron Donald may be in line for a career year.

MVP: Todd Gurley, RB

(SBN: Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles)

This was probably the toughest decision to have. If you chose to go with the most important position here, that’s totally acceptable. Not to take away from anything QB Jared Goff has done, because he’s been magnificent. His improvement has been incredible, but I have to go with the guy that makes the offense run. Everything in this offense runs through #30, and it shows. Gurley has not only been one of the best runners in the league, but his impact in the passing game has been equally effective. Todd is currently second in the NFL with 1,024 yards from scrimmage to only Kareem Hunt (who has one more game played due to the bye week). Gurley’s currently averaging 128.0 combined YPG, and has a league-leading 10 touchdowns. Gurley is on a tear, and with the Rams looking to make a playoff push in this second half of the season, they’re going to need to rely on Todd to shoulder his way to some tough wins.