The yearly awards handed out by the Associated Press will be unveiled during the NFL Honors show at 9 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC. Several members of the Los Angeles Rams stand as legitimate candidates, perhaps even favorites. That's what happens when you finish with an 11-5 record and a plus-149 point differential. This week, while waiting for the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots to face off in Super Bowl LII, we'll take a closer look at those Rams candidates. Let's start with wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who's worthy of consideration for the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
Numbers: Kupp was among several Rams starters who sat out the regular-season finale, but he still ranked fourth among rookies in catches (62), second in receiving yards (869) and tied for fourth in receiving touchdowns (5). Among rookie wide receivers, Kupp finished first in receptions per route (14.6 percent) and third in reception percentage (66 percent). He had 18 third-down catches that resulted in first downs, tied for ninth among all receivers.
Defining moment: One of Kupp's best traits is his mental toughness, which showed up in his ability to put bad plays -- and, in this case, bad games -- behind him. Kupp made two critical mistakes in a close loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 11, fumbling near the end zone and dropping a wide-open third-down pass in field-goal territory. Against the New Orleans Saints the following week, however, Kupp led the Rams to victory with a team-leading eight catches for 116 yards.
Why he should win: Kupp was a rookie third-round pick out of little-known Eastern Washington, playing on an upstart team that wound up leading the NFL in points -- and outside of Todd Gurley, he might have been their most productive offensive weapon. Kupp led the Rams in receiving yards while playing mostly out of the slot. He dropped five passes, according to ESPN Stats & Info, but he was a major boost to the offense thanks to an innate knack for getting open and surprising ability after the catch. Six receivers were drafted ahead of him, and had he played in the finale, Kupp could've finished with more yards than all of them.
Why he wouldn't: It's bad timing for Kupp, because this award will come down to a couple of third-round running backs. Kareem Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs finished with 1,782 scrimmage yards and 11 touchdowns, and Alvin Kamara of the Saints amassed 1,554 scrimmage yards and 13 touchdowns. Hunt led all players in rushing yards (1,327) and Kamara led all running backs in receiving yards (826). They both played on division champions, too.
Quotable: "I think for me the expectation never really changed, regardless of where you come from. I believe in myself coming into this and being able to play at this level. It's obviously great being able to produce, but I think just being a part of this team, having great coaches that put you in the right position, players alongside of you that make this game easy. ... It's really just a testament to what these guys in this locker room were able to do. I'm looking forward to being able to come back next year and continue to produce." -- Kupp, after the first-round playoff loss to the Atlanta Falcons, on coming from a small school and contributing immediately.