Most Improved Player of the Year: Marcus Mariota
Through the first four games, quarterback Marcus Mariota has completed 62.2 percent of his passes for 933 yards, seven touchdowns, and no interceptions.
If you average those numbers out over a 16-game season, the Oregon product would finished with 3,732 yards and 28 touchdowns, both career-highs. And, if you take out the throwaways and drops by his receivers, Mariota would be on pace for a career-high in completion percentage, also.
Mariota is also the only quarterback in the NFL to have played in all four games and not turn the ball over once. His improved decision-making doesn’t only extend to turnovers, though. In Week 4, Mariota threw away four passes to avoid sacks, and it’s something he’s slowly getting better at after just three throwaways in the first three weeks.
Bear in mind, he’s doing all of this with historically bad pass protection. Mariota got sacked 17 times in the first three games, which were the most a single quarterback has taken in three games since 2002.
His numbers thus far are impressive, but with his offensive line getting back to full strength thanks to the return of star left tackle Taylor Lewan and the insertion of rookie right guard Nate Davis into the lineup, Mariota could get even better.
Honorable mention: Jack Conklin
The last few years have been tough for Conklin, as he’s battled through knee injuries that have slowed the momentum of this once-promising talent. Conklin certainly hasn’t been perfect to start 2019, but he’s vastly improved from what he was the past two seasons. It still remains to be seen if he’ll be able to stave off a challenge from swing tackle Dennis Kelly moving forward, though.