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2021 Detroit Lions awards: Offensive Player of the Year

Vote on your selection of the Detroit Lions’ Offensive Player of the Year.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Anyone who had watched the Detroit Lions offense in training camp knew that 2021 might be a rough year for the unit. There was even talk of the Lions having the worst offense in the league. Though they had a decent offensive line and a promising backfield, there was a clear lack of talent at wide receiver and far too many questions surrounding quarterback Jared Goff.

And for the first three months of the season, those fears were realized. Detroit managed to score 20 points or more just once in the first 11 games of the season, and the only time they managed to eclipse that number was Week 1, when the Lions entered the final two-minute warning down 41-17.

But then the Lions finally turned a corner. For the last six games of the season, the Lions averaged 25.2 points per game, and two of those games were played with a backup quarterback. There were several players who broke out during that final stretch, and there were a few who played at a high level the entire year.

Here are our selections for the 2021 Detroit Lions Offensive Player of the Year award.

Previous awards:

2021 Detroit Lions Offensive Player of the Year

Kellie Rowe: D’Andre Swift.

For a franchise that consistently suffers from an unimpressive rushing attack, things were looking up in 2021. By November, Swift was firing on all cylinders—becoming the first Lions running back with back-to-back 100-yard games since 2004. A shoulder injury on Thanksgiving kept him sidelined for four games and he returned for the final two with limited work, so it forces one to wonder just how far he could have gone. Rushing aside, Swift excelled this season as a pass-catching back. Despite missing those four matchups, he still finished fourth among RBs in receptions at 62 and fifth in receiving yards at 452.

John Whiticar: Penei Sewell

The Lions quickly lost Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow to injury, and it looked like the once-promising offensive line would fall apart. However, Penei Sewell stepped up. After shaking off some rust, Sewell was dominant. A clean pocket is integral to Jared Goff’s success, and Sewell is looking like a future star at tackle.

Erik Schlitt: Amon-Ra St. Brown

The Lions found their footing on offense over the final six weeks of the season and St. Brown was a massive part of that. His production down the stretch led to him breaking all kinds of Lions’ records—both rookie and wide receiver—as the entire offense funneled through him. There are a handful of players on the Lions who were important components to their offensive success, but none had an impact like St. Brown.

Mike Payton: D’Andre Swift

Once again I’ll go with Swift. Before the bye, he was all the Lions offense had, and despite the predictability, he made things happen. When he came back from his injury, he showed that he can still be an important part of the offense when it doesn’t have to solely rely on him.

Ryan Mathews: Amon-Ra St. Brown

Amon-Ra St. Brown was the team’s Offensive Player of the Year for very obvious reasons: he led the team in receptions (90), receiving yards (912), and receiving touchdowns (5). Doing all of that while being a rookie is impressive, but when you consider St. Brown did the majority of his damage from Week 13 to Week 18 (51 receptions, 560 receiving yards, five receiving touchdowns), you’re looking forward to what the receiver has in store for year two.

Morgan Cannon: Amon-Ra St. Brown

Imagine what St. Brown’s final numbers would have looked like if the offense was even slightly more competent during the first half of the season. It took some shuffling of the play calling duties, but eventually the Lions figured out how to get their dynamic rookie receiver involved in the game. You could make an argument for a few other players here, but when the Lions offense looked passable towards the end of the year, a lot of it was due to St. Brown’s development.

Chris Perfett: Amon-Ra St. Brown

Look I’m going to be naming him a lot in these awards. Just learn the position. You face the sun, you raise your arms in splendor to the day. You praise the sun. Praise the sun.

Hamza Baccouche: Amon Ra St. Brown

St. Brown’s emergence was probably the most exciting thing to come of this Lions season. While many teams are going to waste draft picks in the next two or three years on players they try to shove into a mold of Deebo Samuel, the Lions already have one who’s truly built for such a role. He opens up a lot of possibilities on offense and will only continue to be more of a problem as the Lions fill out other holes at skill positions.

Jeremy Reisman: Amon-Ra St. Brown

While I do think Taylor Decker deserves some love for being one of the key pieces to Detroit’s offensive turnaround, the answer here has to be St. Brown. If you look at how the Lions offense shifted in the final two months, the key was centering the offense around St. Brown. He was Jared Goff’s go-to third-down receiver. They utilized him in the backfield. They used him to set up trick plays. He was the centerpiece, and the defense knew it. He still couldn’t be stopped.

Poll

Who was the Lions’ offensive player of the year?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    Amon-Ra St. Brown
    (826 votes)
  • 20%
    Penei Sewell
    (240 votes)
  • 5%
    D’Andre Swift
    (68 votes)
  • 1%
    Taylor Decker
    (17 votes)
  • 1%
    Other
    (18 votes)
1169 votes total Vote Now