With Week 8 wrapping up the first half of NFL season, we will take a holistic look at some of the best performances so far this campaign from former Bulldogs. In a similar style to the overall NFL Awards at the end of the year, we will hand out several awards to some of Georgia’s proudest alumni for their efforts in the season’s first half.

Most Valuable Player: Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

Gurley has a compelling case to be one of the frontrunners for the NFL’s MVP award. The 2017 runner-up for the NFL MVP already has 1,151 total yards and 15 touchdowns and is on pace for a career high in numerous statistical categories. Moreover, if he can better his pace by just two touchdowns in Los Angeles’ next eight games, he will break LaDainian Tomlinson’s NFL record for touchdowns in a season with 31. Gurley has been Georgia’s best former player without a doubt so far this campaign, and he takes home the former Bulldog MVP Award for the first half.

Offensive Player of the Year: Matt Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

Stafford has had another stellar season at the helm of the Detroit Lions. He has been remarkably efficient, evidenced by the fact that the nine-year veteran is currently on pace for a career high in completion percentage, 67.6 percent. Stafford has 1,912 passing yards and 14 touchdowns through seven games, and he has kept the Lions competitive in a tough NFC North. Heading into Week 9, the team sits just one game behind the first-place Bears with some key divisional matchups looming in the second half. Therefore, setting Gurley aside, Stafford has been the best offensive player in the NFL from Georgia so far this season.

Defensive Player of the Year: Shawn Williams, SS, Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati’s Shawn Williams has excelled in the secondary of the league’s surprise team so far this season. The Bengals sit at 5-3 through eight weeks in a tight AFC North thanks in no small part to Williams’ contributions defensively. The former third-round pick has 46 total tackles on the season, tied for 10th among all safeties. Perhaps even more impressive, however, is Williams’ three interceptions, as only Washington’s DJ Swearinger has more in the NFL. Williams will look to continue his solid play into the season’s second half as Cincinnati sits on the fringe of the AFC playoff picture.

Rookie of the Year: Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots

The first-year Patriot has emerged as a key piece of Tom Brady’s offense in the season’s opening half. Taken 31st overall in the draft by New England this past year, it must be said that Bill Belichick’s team got tremendous value in the former Georgia running back. Michel has 422 rushing yards and four touchdowns despite not starting in the early parts of the season and could emerge as a 1000-yard rusher by the end of the campaign. The Patriots’ dynasty does not look to be slowing down in 2018, as the team sits at 5-2 heading into tonight’s Monday Night Football matchup with the Buffalo Bills. 

Georgia’s Week Eight Performances

Todd Gurley (RB, Los Angeles Rams): 31 total touches, 195 yds, 1 total TD

Matt Stafford (QB, Detroit Lions): 27-40, 310 yds, 2 TD

A.J. Green (WR, Cincinnati Bengals): 5 rec, 76 yds, 1 TD

Nick Chubb (RB, Cleveland Browns): 18 rush, 65 yards

Justin Houston (OLB, Kansas City Chiefs): DNP (Hamstring)

Roquan Smith (ILB, Chicago Bears): 5 total tackles

Leonard Floyd (OLB, Chicago Bears): 2 total tackles

Alec Ogletree (ILB, New York Giants): 4 total tackles

Thomas Davis (ILB, Carolina Panthers): 5 total tackles

Lorenzo Carter (OLB, New York Giants): 3 total tackles

Ramik Wilson (ILB, Los Angeles Rams): 2 total tackles, forced fumble

Shawn Williams (SS, Cincinnati Bengals): 7 total tackles, 1 INT

Geno Atkins (DT, Cincinnati Bengals): 1 total tackle

Jordan Jenkins (OLB, New York Jets): 2 total tackles

Corey Moore (S, Indianapolis Colts): 3 total tackles

Reshad Jones (SS, Miami Dolphins): 5 total tackles

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