We’ve officially reached awards season in the NFL and every publication under the sun has been announcing their winners over the last couple of weeks. Well, we’re no different here at Silver and Black Pride as it’s time to hand out some hardware for the Las Vegas Raiders.
All of our writers voted on five awards — MVP, Defensive, Offensive, Rookie and Comeback player of the year — and the only rule was the same player can’t be named twice...and they have to fit the category, of course.
Some of you might remember our midseason awards from earlier in the year, so we’ll follow up with those as well.
Midseason consensus pick: Derek Carr
Consensus pick: Derek Carr
Bill Williamson (BW): Maxx Crosby
He impacted almost every freaking play. Every play. It was an all-time great season by a defensive end. Pay the man now!
Marcus Johnson (MJ): Derek Carr
Carr was the MVP of the team for the season for his play and leadership. While his play did teeter off at the second half of the season, he was the second-ranked QB on PFF when he had complete weapons. He carried the Raiders early to get off to the fast start with no offensive line or running game with steller performances the first three weeks. For most, he is a polarizing player, but he has entered the upper levels of tier 2 with his play overall.
BD Williams (BD): Derek Carr
Career highs in yards and attempts. Led 3 4th quarter comebacks and 6 game-winning drives. More importantly, helped keep this team competitive in December for the first time since 2016.
Ray Aspuria (RA): Hunter Renfrow
The slot receiver was supposed to be nothing more than a chain mover and safety blanket, right? The 26-year-old wideout broke out in a big way in 2021 hauling in 103 passes for 1,038 yards and nine touchdowns. He became the first Raiders wide receiver since Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark. He was targeted 128 times and finished with an impressive 80.5 percent catch rate. When Vegas and quarterback Derek Carr needed it most, Renfrow answered the call with timely catches as he shook defenders left and right.
Matt Holder (MH): Derek Carr
I battled between Carr and Maxx Crosby here as Crosby was clearly the best and most consistent player on the team, but I went with Carr more from the leadership standpoint. That’s not to say Crosby wasn’t a leader, Carr just faced more of the brunt of the crap that went on this year and still managed to put up respectable numbers and lead the team to the playoffs. He finally got the monkey off his back and led a young team that pulled off upset after upset down the stretch of the season.
Offensive Player of the Year
Midseason consensus pick: Hunter Renfrow
Consensus pick: Hunter Renfrow
BW: Hunter Renfrow
With all the flux on offense, Renfrow was a constant. He bailed the group out every game. And he’s only going to get better. Pay that man too.
MJ: Hunter Renfrow
The Raiders shifty receiver put his name on the map with his route running ability. Hunter Renfrow had a breakout season with his first 1000 yard performance and 100 receptions tying Tim Brown’s team reception record. He added nine touchdowns when they needed it most, becoming a red zone threat for the offense. Renfrow played himself into a big payday by becoming one of the best slot receivers in the NFL. That is quite the feat for the former fifth-round pick out of Clemson.
BD: Hunter Renfrow
Renfrow needed to step up in the absence of Henry Ruggs and the Raiders missing Darren Waller for the second half of the season. Going for over 1000 yards and 9 touchdowns more than answered the bell for the Raiders.
RA: Daniel Carlson
Six walk-off wins and five of them coming off the right foot of DC2. The Raiders’ Ice Man was a perfect 9-for-9 on lead-changing field goals in crunch time (less than two minutes to go in regulation or overtime) and finished 40-of-43 on field goals (93 percent). Carr and Co. may have got the offense in position, but it was Carlson delivering the victories with his foot. Of the Raiders' 374 points scored in 2021, Carlson accounted for 150.
MH: Hunter Renfrow
Renfrow was my pick for the midseason awards and he played even better down the stretch of the season, so this one was easy. The 2019 fifth-round pick was the first wide receiver to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark since 2016 and had a career year. He certainly made himself some money in 2021.
Defensive Player of the Year
Midseason consensus pick: Maxx Crosby
Consensus pick: Maxx Crosby
BW: Denzel Perryman
With Crosby being the overall MVP, let’s give Perryman some love. He was a tackle machine. The Raiders were different was he was hurt. It’s amazing that he was acquired just before the season only because of preseason injuries at his position. What a steal.
MJ: Maxx Crosby
Crosby has been a fan favorite for years but lived up to the billing this season. Crosby didn’t have the sack production he would like but made up for it in pressure. He set the record for most pressures by a defensive end since PFF started in 2006. He was number 1 in the PFF win rate metric at 27%, dominating tackles and constantly causing havoc on the QB. Crosby now has 25 sacks his first three years in the NFL and should be re-signed this offseason.
BD: Maxx Crosby
Crosby was the most impactful player on the Raiders' defense. In a vanilla cover 3 scheme where QBs know the answers, a pass rush is of supreme importance. Series after series Crosby showed up and got in QBs faces. This defense would be league bottom without him.
RA: Maxx Crosby
The defensive end is tenacity personified. Crosby’s endless motor — one of his most endearing traits coming out of Eastern Michigan — was on full display in 2021 as he just kept going and going. While his sack numbers (eight total) aren’t supremely impressive, the way he affected the opposing quarterback was uncanny. The pressure charts vary from different organizations, but Crosby was disruptive and hard-to-block as a terrorizing edge rusher.
MH: Maxx Crosby
Another easy one, especially since I went with Carr for MVP. Crosby dominated all year and led all edge rushers in pressures with 101, 20 more than Rahsan Gary in second place. He also only registered a PFF grade below 70 in three out of 18 games.
Rookie of the Year
Midseason consensus pick: Nate Hobbs and Tre’von Moehrig
Consensus pick: Tre’von Moehrig
BW: Tre’Von Moehrig
He had an under-appreciated season. He was so damn steady. He looked like a five-year vet, not a rookie.
MJ: Divine Deablo
My rookie goes to Divine Diablo for coming in a learning linebacker quickly. The Tanner Muse project failed, but the Raiders found the replacement in a heartbeat, and Diablo didn’t disappoint. While he did have his quirks, he displayed leadership and played the run better than expected. According to PFF, the former Virginia Tech player missed one tackle on the season and was 2nd in missed tackle%, playing 20% of the snaps on the field. The future is bright at the linebacker position.
BD: Nate Hobbs
Hobbs was thrust into the starting lineup and started week 1 as a rookie. His willingness to throw his body around and make plays for the Raiders was one reason why the Raiders were top 10 in limiting YAC this year.
RA: Tre’von Moehrig
Playing his role as the deep center field safety so well, this neophyte defensive back played 100 percent of the defensive snaps in all but one of the 17 games (93 percent against Miami in Week 3). Finishing with 55 combined tackles, one interception and six passed defensed, Moehrig had a fine rookie campaign. He was targeted 24 times and allowed 14 completions (58.3 percent) for 181 yards and two touchdowns, according to Pro Football Reference. He’ll need to develop into the takeaway artist he was at TCU, but Moehrig’s first year as a Raider was solid.
MH: Tre’von Moehrig
My first pick that’s different than my midseason awards. Nate Hobbs played phenomenally and maybe even a little better than Moehrig did, but Moehrig played in all but six defensive snaps this season while Hobbs had to miss two games. Also, it’s not like the TCU product was just out there getting his cardio in, he played well as PFF’s seventh-highest graded rookie defender.
Comeback Player of the Year
Midseason consensus pick: None
Consensus pick: Darius Philon
BW: Casey Hayward
He was much better in his first season with the Raiders than he was in his last with the Chargers. He sat in the free-agent market for nearly two months and then had a strong year in Las Vegas.
MJ: Darius Philon
After being out of the NFL for two years, Darius Philon made his presence felt on the field. Philon was disruptive all year and was one of the key players to help the Raiders on the playoff run. He was dominant during his performance vs. the Colts by constantly blowing up run plays helping to slow down Jonathan Taylor. Then the next week, we saw him blow up a substantial fourth down call that led to a field goal. His presence was felt the whole year and has led to him becoming a free agent with a chance at a job elsewhere.
RA: Darius Philon
Two years out of the game, but the defensive tackle is still every bit as tenacious and disruptive despite missing all those snaps and playing time. Ended the 2021 season with 27 total tackles, two sacks, and five stops for loss, Philon provided the Raiders with an aggressive interior defensive linemen who used a balance of power and speed to penetrate and make plays at or behind the line of scrimmage. His stops against the L.A. Chargers in the regular-season finale were a testament to his skills. Not bad for a player that last played in the league at age 24 back in 2018. The now 27-year-old should be a re-sign candidate.
MH: Denzel Perryman
I’m going to cheat here a little bit and go with a guy who hasn’t been a bad player in the past by any means, but certainly stepped up into a larger role than he’s ever played before and throve in it. Missing three games ended up costing Perryman the league’s tackle crown, however, he still made 154 total tackles and went from a cut candidate during training camp with the Panthers to Pro Bowler with the Raiders in a matter of months.