For the sake of structure, I’ll be going through each of the NFL’s seven end-of-season awards (but since you and I both know nobody on the Jaguars will actually win, I’ll be sure to include a few alternate bets to consider as well).
Most Valuable Player
Trevor Lawrence (+8000)
If Jacksonville had drafted a wide receiver early in the 2022 NFL Draft I likely would’ve locked in Lawrence MVP tickets the next day. But that didn’t happen, and though the Jaguars added new starters in Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Evan Engram this offseason, the lack of a true no. 1 option concerns me.
Along with the rest of the football world, I expect the rising sophomore to improve from last year. I’d even go so far as to call myself one of Lawrence’s bigger believers at the pro level. However, I’m not yet at the point where I believe in a world where he can lift an improving but still-bad Jaguars roster to the playoffs AND finish near the top of the league in touchdown passes. Especially with a receiving corps featuring Kirk, Jones, Engram, and the corpse of Marvin Jones (respectfully).
A top-two playoff seed and league-leading scoring stats are essentially requirements to bring home the Associated Press’s Most Valuable Player trophy. Lawrence is an MVP-caliber player in my eyes but still needs a better team around him to be a true candidate.
If you’re looking to bet on Sunshine I’d recommend taking the over on his season-long passing touchdowns prop (22.5). Lawrence will likely improve in just about every statistical area in 2022, but especially touchdowns -- he threw just four TDs in the final 10 games of 2021, and Jacksonville was the fifth-worst offense at converting red zone opportunities into touchdowns.
Justin Herbert (+900), Lamar Jackson (+2000), Tua Tagovailoa (+5000), and Jameis Winston (+8000) are my favorite MVP bets at various odds.
Offensive Player of the Year
Travis Etienne (+10000)
2021 first-round pick Travis Etienne has yet to play an NFL down; is rostered by a Jaguars team that ranked dead last in points scored last season; and will split touches with a certifiably good running back in James Robinson.
However -- Etienne is also fast as shit.
If you’re betting on Lawrence to win MVP, you’re pretty much ignoring all logic and focusing solely on individual talent. Etienne for OPOY is the same deal.
Etienne would have to have not just a breakout season but a career year in order to win this award, so I prefer betting on him to accumulate over 1025.5 total rushing and receiving yards. Even if he finishes the season with fewer touches than Robinson, Etienne’s involvement in the passing game and explosiveness in the open field make me confident that he can reach 1,0000 yards of scrimmage.
Justin Jefferson is seemingly the most popular OPOY pick of all time, and while I do believe he’s on his way to becoming the league’s best receiver, I’m doubling down on my magma-hot take that Davante Adams hasn’t given up the crown quite yet. I like Adams at +1800 odds; other names that jump out include Tyreek Hill (+6000), Rashaad Penny (+10000), Kyle Pitts (+10000), and Elijah Moore (+20000). Bet on good players IMO.
Defensive Player of the Year
Josh Allen (+5000)
I actually think offseason addition Arden Key is a sneaky-good bet to lead the Jaguars in sacks this season (not available on DraftKings sadly). But in the race for best defender in the league, former seventh-overall pick Josh Allen is really the only player in consideration. If Sacksonville makes a comeback and Allen balls out with Key and Travon Walker at his side, similar to his 10.5-sack rookie season when Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue were in town, he could put up some big ole numbers.
I won’t personally be betting on Allen to suddenly become the best pass rusher in the league, but another positive to note for Jacksonville’s D-line this season is its schedule of opposing quarterbacks this year. The Jaguars will play six games against the AFC South’s undaunting lineup of Matt Ryan, Ryan Tannehill, and Davis Mills, plus matchups with Carson Wentz, Daniel Jones, Jared Goff, and Zach Wilson. Jacksonville’s schedule can basically be broken down by the AFC West and everyone else.
Foye Oloukun is also listed here (+25000), but considering he led the league in tackles last season and didn’t earn a single DPOY vote, what’s the point?
I’d sprinkle some money on Nick Bosa (+1500), who is not yet the NFL’s best edge defender but very well could be by the end of this season. The younger Bosa brother also gets to play with arguably the best defensive line and positional coach in the NFL.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
George Pickens (+900)
“In an alternate universe,” I mutter with a deep sigh, seated at the kitchen table, gazing at a photoshopped image of Pickens in teal as another drink pours itself and the clock flickers to 2 a.m.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Devin Lloyd (+1500)
This may be my favorite season-long bet of 2022. The Jaguars traded up to draft linebacker Devin Lloyd 27th overall in April, and though the former Ute missed several weeks of offseason practices with a hamstring injury, he’s still expected to start for Jacksonville in Week 1. While Lloyd’s lack of reps could result in a slow start to the season, it also gives us solid odds for a Day 1 draft pick.
Like the other awards listed above, DROY is heavily influenced by full-season statistics. Edge defender Travon Walker (+800) was selected first overall but is a relatively raw prospect who notched just 9.5 career sacks in three years for the Bulldogs. Lloyd, on the other hand, started 32 games at Utah and finished first in school history in pick-sixes as well as fourth in tackles for loss (he also had a mere 256 career tackles and 15.5 sacks) (aaaaaand he can pass).
Lloyd is one of the most pro-ready prospects the Jaguars have drafted in recent memory and will get the chance to rack up all sorts of stats in Mike Caldwell’s linebacker-friendly defense.
Comeback Player of the Year
James Robinson (unlisted)
I hate that Robinson isn’t a candidate for this award, especially with Etienne (+2000) listed.
As we saw with Alex Smith two years ago, Comeback Player of the Year can be as much about storylines as statistics. Unfortunately this doesn’t really help Robinson, who’s a soft-spoken person playing an underappreciated position on a low-scoring team in a small market.
But he is freaking good, man! Without Robinson last year, the Jaguars would have gone from the worst offense in the league to one of the worst offenses ever. His game is harder to appreciate than the Lawrences and Etiennes of the world who boast otherworldly athleticism, but Robinson is truly a gifted running back.
I really hope he can get double-digit touchdowns on a Jaguars team fighting for the playoffs so he gets some consideration for the award. Though he deserves the spotlight now for how valuable he’s been to the team so far as an undrafted/underpaid running back and his already-impressive recovery from injury. (Robinson is expected to play in Week 1 after tearing his Achilles tendon last December.)
Coach of the Year
Doug Pederson (+1800)
While I like the idea of betting on Dougie P, the idea of the 2022 Jacksonville Jaguars as a playoff team is keeping my finger from pulling the trigger.
Past award winners typically beat their team’s projected win total by over three games (h/t Establish the Run). Everyone and their mother is expecting the Jaguars to improve its league-worst 2021 record under Pederson; I’m not as confident that the former Eagles HC can lift this roster to double-digit wins and playoff contention in year one.
I’d rather bet on San Francisco‘s Kyle Shanahan to turn a different 2021 first-round quarterback into a Pro Bowler and take a better team to the playoffs at +2000 odds. I’m also a bit concerned by how much I like the Seahawks as a sleeper team this season, which makes Pete Carroll (with the lowest odds on the board at +5000) a highly intriguing wager.