While no former Terps were playing in Super Bowl LIV, many of them still had noteworthy seasons in 2019. While they didn’t win any national awards for their play, a couple of standout Terps earned recognition in the Terps Watch NFL awards.
MVP: Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Stefon Diggs had an outstanding 2019 Season, as he led the way for a Minnesota Vikings team that made the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs. With fellow Vikings receiver Adam Thielen missing four games during the regular season, Diggs emerged as the lead receiving option for Minnesota down the stretch. Diggs caught 63 passes for 1,130 yards and six touchdowns while ranking fourth in the NFL with an average of 17.9 yards per catch. Coming off his first 1,000-yard season in 2018, Diggs delivered again in 2019, even as the Vikings committed more to running the football down the stretch.
Rookie of the Year: Darnell Savage Jr., DB, Green Bay Packers
Drafted with the No. 21 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Darnell Savage Jr. was the first defensive back selected and was expected to have an immediate impact in the Packers secondary. Savage quickly became an impact player for the Packers, recording 55 tackles, along with two forced fumbles and two interceptions to his credit in just 14 games. Savage wound up being a part of a Green Bay team that made it all the way to NFC Championship, before falling to the San Francisco 49ers. After a strong rookie year, Savage figures to be a key piece of the Green Bay defense moving forward
Most Improved: DJ Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers
Entering his second season after being the first wide receiver selected in the 2018 NFL Draft, DJ Moore emerged as the Panthers’ top receiver in 2019. Despite losing starting Quarterback Cam Newton after the second game of the season, Moore was still able to finish the season with 87 catches for 1,175 yards and 4 touchdowns, all new career highs in just 15 games. His 87 catches marked a 22-reception improvement, while he also recorded the first 1,000-yard season of his young career. Moore wound up finishing the season ninth in the league in receiving yards and figures to be an impact player for the Panthers as they rebuild in the post-Ron Rivera era in Carolina.
Defensive Player of the Year: Yannick Ngakoue, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars
Playing in a contract year, Yannick Ngakoue had an outstanding season, making his case to become one of the league’s highest-paid defensive ends. Ngakoue’s impact was felt across the board, as he registered 36 tackles, racked up eight sacks, recorded five forced turnovers and even scored his first career touchdown. While Ngakoue had a lot of personal success, it did not translate to the rest of the team, as the Jaguars went 6-10 and missed the playoffs. Ngakoue has recorded at least eight sacks in each of his four seasons with the Jaguars and will look to build on that resume wherever he winds up playing in 2020.