Barnwell’s NFL midseason awards: Mahomes, Wilson or Rodgers for MVP?

    Bill Barnwell is a staff writer for ESPN.com.

Let’s hand out midseason NFL award selections. These picks are solely a product of what we’ve seen from the first half of the season; in other words, they’re the selections for who I think should win the award if the season ended today, not projections of who will win come February. I made quarter-season award picks back in October at the end of Week 4, which you can read here.

I made picks for Coach of the Year and other awards then, but this time, I’m just focusing on the players. Just two of my winners from the first quarter carried over to the midway point of the season, and only one award is locked up as we sit here in mid-November. We’ll start with that one and work our way toward league MVP:

Comeback Player of the Year

My pick at the quarter-season mark was Cam Newton, but the combination of the coronavirus and middling play pushes the Patriots quarterback out of the top three. Other candidates have faded; Chiefs guard Kelechi Osemele is out for the year after tearing tendons in both of his knees, while 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon’s role has been inconsistent while struggling with “tired legs.” As a result, two players who weren’t on the field at all during the first two weeks of the season make it into the three top choices here:

3. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

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