Early Bird Panther Player Award Predictions for 2012 Season

I'll be the first to admit I am stealing the idea from the post from someone else but it wasn't worthy of pulling any quotes from and it waaay too short...so no link but Hat Tip to Bruce Guild none the less. I'm also going to impose my own rule and say a player can only win one award.

Most of these picks are obvious so I'll include a runner-up as well.

Team MVP: The obvious pick is QB Cam Newton in a landslide. If the Panthers have a better season in 2012 it will because of Newton's ability to put points on the board. A not-so-close second though will come from LB Jon Beason who will lead a rejuvenated defense.

Offensive MVP: With Newton off the board my money is on WR Steve Smith. All the talk of needing a #2 WR may be sound advice but an improved running game will make Smith more deadly than ever no matter who is on the other side. I expect a lot of big plays from Smitty in 2012, especially if he lines up in the slot even more than in past seasons. Runner-up is RB DeAngelo Williams.

More after the jump...

Defensive MVP: LB Jon Beason was sorely missed in 2011 but will be back better than ever in 2012, as long as his Achilles is 100%. Beason will provide the leadership on what I predict will be an inspired bunch who will create a lot more 3rd and longs in 2012. Runner-up will DE Charles Johnson.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: LB Luke Kuechly will be a tackling machine no matter where he plays as he starts and makes an impact from day 1. Runner-up will be DE Frank Alexander who will make people wonder who he slipped to the 4th round.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: OG Amini Silatolu will probably be the only offensive rookie to get significant playing time on offense in 2012 but don't think I am giving this award away. The Panther o-line will be a good one and this rookie will be a part of it.

Comeback Player of the Year: With Beason off the board I'm going with RT Jeff Otah. I think he will finally stay healthy and after a slow start he will finish strong. The right side of our line will be a real strength again as it was in 2008. Runner-up is LB Thomas Davis who i would have chosen but I didn't want to jinx him.

Special Teams Player of the Year: PR Joe Adams is going to bring some electricity to the Panthers return game by taking it to the house at least twice in 2012. Runner-up will be K Olindo Mare who bounces back after a bad 2011.

Breakout Player of the Year: WR David Gettis will make the most of his opportunities and put up close to a 1,000 yards as a result of the Panthers top 3 in the NFL offense. Runner-up is DE Greg Hardy.

I really struggled with that last one. I wanted to pick Gary Barnidge but I'm not sure he will get that many touches. I almost went with LaFell too. What are your thoughts?

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