Top 5 Comeback Player of the Year Candidates
5. Rob Gronkowski TE Buccaneers
Three years ago Rob Gronkowski was one of the most entertaining players to watch in the NFL. He was really the birth of the tight end personality. I know Shannon Sharpe is an amazing on TV personality and was an absolute baller of a tight end when he was playing, but he didn't necessarily have that "party" tight end personality. He was more of that dog on the field, he was the Ray Lewis of tight ends. I believe Rob Gronkowski is the best tight end in NFL history, but now in his second stint with the Buccaneers he can become the greatest tight end in NFL history. I think Tony Gonzalez has that honor, but with a few killer seasons in Tampa Bay, Gronk can cement his legacy. The difference between greatest and best is actually really simple, best means that no one has ever been better, greatest means that no one has ever had a better career than them. If Gronk can give me two dominant seasons as a Buccaneer or three good seasons I think he gets that honor. The reason he isn't higher on this list is because of how many weapons the Buccaneers have. With Chris Godwin and Mike Evans on the outside and a really good number two tight end, Gronk isn't going to be Tom Brady's number one target. That being said, defenses won't be able to double team him like they used to back in New England. Overall, I'm not very sure of the status of Gronk's body and how many hits he can sustain. He isn't my pick for Comeback Player of the Year, but it wouldn't surprise me if he won.
4. Bradley Chubb EDGE Broncos
The Broncos are my under the radar super bowl contenders this season. I love what their offense has going for them, but it's their defense that isn't being talked about enough. The obvious star of this team is Von Miller, but Bradley Chubb is who I have my eyes on. Chubb is one of my favorite edge rushers in the NFL and he had an amazing rookie season. He tore his ACL one month into the NFL season, so he's had time to fully recover and he is still so young. The Broncos got one of the biggest steals of the offseason, they traded a seventh round pick to the Titans for Jurrell Casey which is straight disrespectful. Casey is going to give the Broncos their best interior defensive pass rusher they've had since Derek Wolfe. With Von Miller on one side and Casey in the middle, Chubb is going to have plenty of one on ones, and I can see him taking over the AFC West this year. Bradley Chubb is one of the bendiest, most explosive pass rushers in the NFL and I like his odds for winning comeback player of the year this season.
3. Derwin James DB Chargers
Derwin James is one of my favorite players in the NFL and as a high school safety, he was one of the guys who I really tried to emulate my game after. James has freakish athleticism, natural leadership, and extreme versatility. The Chargers use him all over their defense, he can play free safety, in the box to defend the run, he can be a quarterback spy, and he can guard slot receivers one on one. You can see how much the Chargers missed him last season and he's going to ignite a spark on their defense. James is both a ball hawk and a living hit stick. When he's healthy, he is a top three safety in the NFL along with Tyrann Mathieu and Jamal Adams. Derwin James is an amazing safety and is a really good pick to win comeback player of the year next season.
2. Ben Roethlisberger QB Steelers
People are overlooking the Steelers like crazy for this upcoming season. Pittsburgh managed to go 8-8 with Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges leading the way. With all due respect, I don't think either of those quarterbacks are starting caliber. In my opinion, the Steelers offense looked like they were in shock last season. James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster both had a ton of pressure on them and by losing Ben Roethlisberger they had to carry their team. They weren't ready for that responsibility and with Ben Roethlisberger coming back (clean shaven), their offense is going to be much better. Not to mention their defense is for real! Minkah Fitzpatrick and TJ Watt should both be in the defensive player of the year conversation this season and the Steelers offense isn't going to have to score 30+ a game. Diontae Johnson is going to be entering his second season so I expect him to step up a lot and Chase Claypool was one of my favorite players in the draft this year. My bold prediction for the Steelers is that Claypool overpasses JuJu Smith and becomes the Steelers number one receiver this year. I see him being this year's DK Metcalf. Ben Roethlisberger is going to bounce back and Pittsburgh will be better this season.
1. Myles Garrett EDGE Browns
I think Myles Garrett is the most physically gifted defensive end in the NFL. The Browns hired Chris Kiffin as their defensive line coach who comes from San Francisco and if his philosophy is similar to Kris Kocurek, we know how much that'll help Garrett. Kiffin is known as a pass rush guru and he might really help take Garrett's game to the next level. Myles Garret has a chip on his shoulder and will be playing the 2020 season on fire. Garrett was already having an amazing season before his suspension, and I'm taking 2019 as a preview for what he's going to be in 2020. Myles Garrett is my pick for comeback player of the year in 2020.