We asked our panel of experts and insiders to select their choices for various awards for the 2018 season. We will reveal their answers over the coming days.
First up, a look at who is the 2018 Chargers Offensive Player of the Year:
Ricky Henne – Melvin Gordon
Keenan Allen was also in consideration, but I just couldn't go with anyone other than Melvin Gordon. After all, few running backs, if any, were as impressive or important as Gordon was to the Bolts. The running back appeared in 12 games, toting the rock 175 times for 885 yards, averaging a career best 5.1 yards per carry while notching 10 rushing touchdowns. He was just as dangerous through the air, ranking second on the team with 15 catches for 490 yards and another four TDs. Oh, and Gordon racked up all those impressive numbers while making defenders look silly. The 25-year old was the complete package in 2018, combing an impressive blend of size, speed, brute force and an intense determination to simply not be denied. For all those reasons and more, he's my Chargers Offensive Player of the Year.
Hayley Elwood – Melvin Gordon
Each year he's been in the league, Melvin Gordon has gotten increasingly better. He added to that in 2018. We knew the damage he could do on the ground, but he proved to be a threat through the air, too. Gordon inked career bests in 2018 in both total touchdowns (14) and yards per carry average (5.1). Mind you, he did all this even with missing four games! I know he wants to be considered one of the top backs in the league, and to me, his performance in 2018 cemented him as one.
Chris Hayre – Philip Rivers
An argument can be made for Melvin Gordon (1,375 total yards, 14 TDs), Keenan Allen (1,196 receiving yards) and Mike Williams (11 total TDs), but Rivers was the constant. The beauty of L.A.'s offense was that different skill-position players stepped up throughout the season: think Gordon in Buffalo, Cleveland and Seattle; Allen and Justin Jackson at Pittsburgh; or Williams under the lights at Arrowhead Stadium. But it all began with No. 17 leading the charge in those contests.
Daniel Jeremiah – Philip Rivers
Rivers led a balanced Chargers attack, and he was at his best in the clutch moments throughout the season.
Matt "Money" Smith – Melvin Gordon
I acknowledge he wasn't at his best after his return from injury and missed a quarter of the season. But prior to that fluke injury, getting leg whipped by a tumbling Robert Nkemdiche, Melvin was the engine that made this offense move, and in the conversation for MVP of the league. Even with the missed games, he piled up over 1400 scrimmage yards and over 10 TDs.