Rams’ Donald, Gurley, McVay Take Home NFL Awards

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams won big at the 7th Annual NFL Honors in Minneapolis on Saturday.

Aaron Donald won 2017 Defensive Player of the Year, Todd Gurley won 2017 Offensive Player of the Year and Sean McVay won 2017 Coach of the Year.

Aaron Donald

Aaron Donald is the first pure defensive tackle to win The Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year award since 1999.

Often the province of outside pass rushers and backs, the Los Angeles Rams star broke the trend by earning 23 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league. Warren Sapp of Tampa Bay was the previous DT to win the award. Others have been Hall of Famers Joe Greene and Cortez Kennedy.

While the Rams’ defense didn’t rank highly in league stats, Donald was a force. The 2014 top defensive rookie spent 2017 destroying blockers, leading all players at his position with 11 sacks and had 58 pressures while usually being double-teamed.

End Calais Campbell, in his first season with the Jaguars, was second with 17 votes. Arizona’s Chandler Jones got five.

Sean McVay

In his first season running a team, and as the youngest head coach in NFL history, Sean McVay won The Associated Press 2017 NFL Coach of the Year award.

McVay, who turned 32 on Jan. 24, led the Los Angeles Rams to an 11-5 record, a seven-game improvement from the mark they managed the previous year.

The Rams won their first NFC West title since 2003, and second-year quarterback Jared Goff improved exponentially under McVay’s guidance.

McVay ran away with the voting by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league. He drew 35 votes to 11 for Minnesota’s Mike Zimmer. Doug Marrone of Jacksonville received two votes, while the Super Bowl coaches, Philadelphia’s Doug Pederson and New England’s Bill Belichick, each got one.

Todd Gurley

Todd Gurley’s sensational turnaround season in which he ran for 13 touchdowns and caught six TD passes in the Los Angeles’ Rams equally impressive reversal of fortunes earned him The Associated Press 2017 Offensive Player of the Year Award.

The third-year running back was the AP’s top offensive rookie in 2015, then had a mediocre second season. When Sean McVay took over as coach and Jared Goff was installed as the No. 1 quarterback, it was imperative that Gurley rebound. Did he ever, rushing for 1,305 yards and dominating defenses as LA went 11-5 to win the NFC West.

Gurley got 37 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league. That put him far ahead of Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown, who received eight votes. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady got 4 and Houston receiver DeAndre Hopkins had one.

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