6 Lions Midseason Award Winners: Who is Detroit’s MVP?

Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker III (21), defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97), linebacker Derrick Barnes (55) and safety Brian Branch (32) on the field during first-half action at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023.
Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker III (21), defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97), linebacker Derrick Barnes (55) and safety Brian Branch (32) on the field during first-half action at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023. /

Week 10 has arrived, which means we’re officially done with the first half of this NFL season!

The Lions (6-2) have more than lived up to the preseason hype so far, and it’s about time that we take a moment to examine who has made this success possible.

It might be a stretch for any Lions players to win any league-wide awards this season, so let’s highlight who the standout players in Detroit have been so far.

Lions Midseason Awards

This has been a special season for the Lions already, and it wouldn’t be possible without several key players living up to their potential.

Let’s give them their due credit.

Lions MVP Jared Goff

You could argue for a few different Lions players in this spot, but the only way this team is this good is if the Jared Goff Experiment works out.

It’s easy to forget that the Rams essentially gave up on Goff, and many around the NFL regarded him as washed-up. However, he’s been far from that in Detroit, and his ability to avoid mistakes – something Matt Stafford struggled with – is one of the biggest reasons the Lions are 6-2.

Goff has completed 68.3% of his passes (T-9th in NFL) for 2,174 yards (8th in NFL) and 12 TDs (12th in NFL) with just 5 INTs (T-9th in NFL among starting QBs).

That’s especially impressive when you consider that the Lions have already had their bye week AND Goff’s receiving corps is actually pretty thin after WR1, which leads us to our next team award.

Lions OPOY Amon-Ra St. Brown

What would this Lions offense look like without St. Brown? I shudder at the thought.

St. Brown has been a steady presence to bail Goff and the Lions out of tough spots, recording five games with 100+ yards already!

He’s been targeted 78 times in just seven games this season, recording 57 catches for 665 yards and 3 TDs – putting him on pace for a 130-catch, 1,520-yard, six-touchdown season.

We haven’t seen numbers like that since Calvin Johnson, and it’s about time we start mentioning St. Brown among the best Lions offensive players.

Lions DPOY Aidan Hutchinson

That didn’t take long, did it?

Hutchinson has already made the transition from promising rookie to game-wrecking defensive end in just over a year. The second-year player has made 23 tackles with 4.5 sacks, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, an interception and four pass breakups so far this season.

When you consider that the Lions’ next-best edge rusher, Julian Okwara, has just two sacks, it makes Hutchinson even more valuable to this defense.

Oh, and did I mention there are only TWO Lions players with more pass breakups than Hutchinson? This pick is as much of a no-brainer as it gets.

And I mean, come on, how fun is this guy?

Lions OROY Sam LaPorta

If I told you this would be the case immediately following the NFL Draft, you’d probably be a little nervous as to what happened to Jahmyr Gibbs.

Gibbs has been underused, but exciting, and that just goes to show how impressive LaPorta has been!

It’s RARE for rookie tight ends to make an immediate impact in the passing game, but LaPorta has done that at one of the highest levels.

He already has 43 receptions (4th in NFL among TEs) for 434 yards (T-5th in NFL) and four touchdowns (T-3rd in NFL). His production has been absolutely necessary, as the Marvin Jones Jr. signing didn’t pan out and Jameson Williams has struggled out of the gates.

But LaPorta might have to watch his back on this award, as Gibbs has what it takes to steal the spotlight.

Lions DROY Brian Branch

First-round pick Jack Campbell has an argument for this spot, but it’s hard to ignore what Branch has done.

The losses of C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Emmanuel Moseley have made Branch even more important to this defense, and he’s stepped up to the challenge.

It’s not so much his stats that have been impressive (26 tackles, 1 INT, 4 PBU through 6 games), but his toughness and competitiveness.

Branch has gutted out injuries to stay on the field already and his pick-six against Kansas City was an undeniably game-changing play. It should be fun to see who ends up on top between Branch and Campbell.

Lions Comeback Player of the Year Tracy Walker III

Walker III led the Lions with 101 tackles in 2021 and was off to another strong start in 2022 before tearing his Achilles tendon just three games into the season.

Coming back from an injury like that as a defensive back is no joke, yet Walker III is second on the team in total tackles (35) with a sack, a forced fumble and two pass breakups.

Considering that Detroit is already thin in the secondary and is relying on two players short on experience (Branch and Kerby Joseph), the return of Walker III has been absolutely essential.

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