2021 WalterFootball.com NFL Awards: 22nd Annual

The 22nd-annual WalterFootball.com Awards are here! Stay tuned for a 2022 NFL Mock Draft update in a couple of days. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

M.V.P. – Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers.

We don’t have to wonder what the Packers would be like without Aaron Rodgers. Jordan Love started one game for the Packers this season, and the results were disastrous. Rodgers was 13-2 in full games he played in 2021 despite a lackluster receiving corps beyond Davante Adams. Had the Packers selected Tee Higgins, Chase Claypool, Brandon Aiyuk or Michael Pittman Jr. instead of Love, it’s almost certain that Green Bay would have advanced deep into the playoffs.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
2019: Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks
2018: Drew Brees, QB, Saints
2017: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
2016: Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
2015: Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
2014: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
2013: Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos
2012: Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos
2011: Drew Brees, QB, Saints
2010: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
2009: Drew Brees, QB, Saints
2008: Kurt Warner, QB, Cardinals
2007: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
2006: LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers
2005: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
2004: Michael Vick, QB, Falcons
2003: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
2002: Michael Vick, QB, Falcons
2001: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
2000: Donovan McNabb, QB, Eagles

Quarterback of the Year – Aaron Rodgers, Packers.

Despite having just one dependable receiver at his disposal, Aaron Rodgers was the only starting NFL quarterback to throw fewer than six interceptions all season. He was responsible for just four picks compared to 37 touchdowns, which is ridiculous. He wasn’t high on the passing yardage list, but only because he missed a game-and-a-half, and his teams were often so far ahead that Rodgers didn’t need to throw often in the second half.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Aaron Rodgers, Packers
2019: Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
2018: Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
2017: Tom Brady, Patriots
2016: Matt Ryan, Falcons
2015: Cam Newton, Panthers
2014: Aaron Rodgers, Packers
2013: Peyton Manning, Broncos
2012: Peyton Manning, Broncos
2011: Aaron Rodgers, Packers
2010: Aaron Rodgers, Packers
2009: Peyton Manning, Colts
2008: Drew Brees, Saints
2007: Tom Brady, Patriots
2006: Drew Brees, Saints
2005: Carson Palmer, Bengals
2004: Peyton Manning, Colts
2003: Peyton Manning, Colts
2002: Rich Gannon, Raiders
2001: Kurt Warner, Rams
2000: Peyton Manning, Colts

Running Back of the Year – Derrick Henry, Titans.

This award could have been given to Jonathan Taylor, but Derrick Henry was so dominant when he played in 2021 that he finished ninth in rushing yardage despite missing half the season! Henry’s heroics allowed the Titans to earn the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, but Ryan Tannehill squandered it with a horrific performance.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Derrick Henry, Titans
2019: Christian McCaffrey, Panthers
2018: Saquon Barkley, Giants
2017: Todd Gurley, Rams
2016: Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys
2015: Adrian Peterson, Vikings
2014: DeMarco Murray, Cowboys
2013: Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
2012: Adrian Peterson, Vikings
2011: Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars
2010: Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
2009: Chris Johnson, Titans
2008: DeAngelo Williams, Panthers
2007: Brian Westbrook, Eagles
2006: LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers
2005: Larry Johnson, Chiefs
2004: Curtis Martin, Jets
2003: LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers
2002: Priest Holmes, Chiefs
2001: Marshall Faulk, Rams
2000: Marshall Faulk, Rams

Wide Receiver of the Year – Cooper Kupp, Rams.

Cooper Kupp had 2-hour breakfasts with Matthew Stafford before the season. They paid off, as Kupp was the league’s leading receiver by a wide margin. He caught 145 passes for 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns. Justin Jefferson was second on the yardage list with 1,616, so Kupp cleared that by more than 300 yards. Kupp also beat the second-highest scorer, Mike Evans, by two touchdowns.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Davante Adams, Packers
2019: Michael Thomas, Saints
2018: Julio Jones, Falcons
2017: Antonio Brown, Steelers
2016: Julio Jones, Falcons
2015: Antonio Brown, Steelers
2014: Antonio Brown, Steelers
2013: Josh Gordon, Browns
2012: Calvin Johnson, Lions
2011: Calvin Johnson, Lions
2010: Roddy White, Falcons
2009: Andre Johnson, Texans
2008: Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
2007: Randy Moss, Patriots
2006: Marvin Harrison, Colts
2005: Steve Smith, Panthers
2004: Muhsin Muhammad, Panthers
2003: Randy Moss, Vikings
2002: Marvin Harrison, Colts
2001: Terrell Owens, 49ers
2000: Randy Moss, Vikings

Tight End of the Year – Mark Andrews, Ravens.

Mark Andrews had some ridiculous performances in the second half of the season, allowing him to lead in the NFL in receiving yardage with 1,361. Travis Kelce was next on the list with 1,125 yards. What’s remarkable is that Andrews had some of his best games with Tyler Huntley throwing the ball to him.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Travis Kelce, Chiefs
2019: Travis Kelce, Chiefs
2018: Travis Kelce, Chiefs
2017: Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
2016: Travis Kelce, Chiefs
2015: Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
2014: Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
2013: Jimmy Graham, Saints
2012: Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
2011: Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
2010: Jason Witten, Cowboys
2009: Dallas Clark, Colts
2008: Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs
2007: Jason Witten, Cowboys
2006: Antonio Gates, Chargers
2005: Antonio Gates, Chargers
2004: Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs
2003: Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs
2002: Todd Heap, Ravens
2001: Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs
2000: Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs

Offensive Tackle of the Year – Trent Williams, 49ers.

Trent Williams, despite playing as a 33-year-old, dominated for the 49ers during the 2021 season. He kept Jimmy Garoppolo’s blind side clean and opened massive running lanes for Elijah Mitchell and Deebo Samuel.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: David Bakhtiari, Packers
2019: Ronnie Stanley, Ravens
2018: David Bakhtiari, Packers
2017: Lane Johnson, Eagles
2016: Joe Thomas, Browns
2015: Joe Thomas, Browns
2014: Joe Thomas, Browns
2013: Joe Thomas, Browns
2012: Joe Thomas, Browns
2011: Joe Thomas, Browns
2010: D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Jets
2009: Joe Thomas, Browns
2008: Michael Roos, Titans
2007: Matt Light, Patriots
2006: Tarik Glenn, Colts
2005: Walter Jones, Seahawks
2004: Walter Jones, Seahawks
2003: Jonathan Ogden, Ravens
2002: Willie Roaf, Chiefs
2001: Orlando Pace, Rams
2000: Jonathan Ogden, Ravens

Offensive Guard of the Year – Zack Martin, Cowboys.

Zack Martin has won this award for the fifth time in six years, which is truly remarkable. Martin continued to be a major force in Dallas’ offensive line, which was the primary reason why Dallas’ offense was explosive for most of the season.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Quenton Nelson, Colts
2019: Zack Martin, Cowboys
2018: Zack Martin, Cowboys
2017: Zack Martin, Cowboys
2016: Zack Martin, Cowboys
2015: Marshal Yanda, Ravens
2014: Marshal Yanda, Ravens
2013: Josh Sitton, Packers
2012: Evan Mathis, Eagles
2011: Carl Nicks, Saints
2010: Josh Sitton, Packers
2009: Jahri Evans, Saints
2008: Kris Dielman, Chargers
2007: Steve Hutchinson, Vikings
2006: Steve Hutchinson, Vikings
2005: Alan Faneca, Steelers
2004: Alan Faneca, Steelers
2003: Will Shields, Chiefs
2002: Ron Stone, 49ers
2001: Alan Faneca, Steelers
2000: Randall McDaniel, Buccaneers

Center of the Year – Corey Linsley, Chargers.

Corey Linsley won this award as a Packer last year. He’s winning this award as a Charger this season. Linsley is the best center in the NFL once again. His presence was a huge reason why Justin Herbert became one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in his second year.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Corey Linsley, Packers
2019: Jason Kelce, Eagles
2018: Jason Kelce, Eagles
2017: Travis Frederick, Cowboys
2016: Travis Frederick, Cowboys
2015: Travis Frederick, Cowboys
2014: Nick Mangold, Jets
2013: Dominic Raiola, Lions
2012: John Sullivan, Vikings
2011: Nick Mangold, Jets
2010: Nick Mangold, Jets
2009: Nick Mangold, Jets
2008: Kevin Mawae, Titans
2007: Jeff Saturday, Colts
2006: Olin Kreutz, Bears
2005: Jeff Hartings, Steelers
2004: Kevin Mawae, Jets
2003: Kevin Mawae, Jets
2002: Kevin Mawae, Jets
2001: Olin Kreutz, Bears
2000: Tom Nalen, Broncos

4-3 Defensive End of the Year – Myles Garrett, Browns.

The Browns struggled to get to the quarterback last year, but not when it came to Myles Garrett. The fifth-year pro was a one-man wrecking crew, tallying 16 sacks in 2021.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Myles Garrett, Browns
2019: Danielle Hunter, Vikings
2018: Myles Garrett, Browns
2017: Calais Campbell, Jaguars
2016: Khalil Mack, Raiders
2015: Michael Bennett, Seahawks
2014: Michael Bennett, Seahawks
2013: Robert Quinn, Rams
2012: J.J. Watt, Texans (3-4)
2011: Jared Allen, Vikings
2010: Julius Peppers, Bears
2009: Jared Allen, Vikings
2008: Jared Allen, Vikings
2007: Jared Allen, Chiefs
2006: Jason Taylor, Dolphins
2005: Dwight Freeney, Colts
2004: Julius Peppers, Panthers
2003: Michael Strahan, Giants
2002: Jason Taylor, Dolphins
2001: Michael Strahan, Giants
2000: Jason Taylor, Dolphins

3-4 Defensive End of the Year – Aaron Donald, Rams.

Surprise, surprise, Aaron Donald dominated in the NFL and was once again the best player at his position. Darnold turns 31 this summer, but he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Aaron Donald, Rams
2019: Aaron Donald, Rams
2018: Aaron Donald, Rams
2017: Cameron Heyward, DE/DT, Steelers
2016: Calais Campbell, Cardinals
2015: J.J. Watt, Texans
2014: J.J. Watt, Texans
2013: J.J. Watt, Texans
2012: J.J. Watt, Texans

Defensive Tackle of the Year – Chris Jones, Chiefs.

Chris Jones is so athletic that the Chiefs put him on the edge during the first half of the season. Jones played well there, but he was his usual, dominant self in the interior once Kansas City moved him back there upon acquiring Melvin Ingram.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Chris Jones, Chiefs
2019: Fletcher Cox, Eagles
2018: Fletcher Cox, Eagles
2017: Aaron Donald, Rams
2016: Aaron Donald, Rams
2015: Aaron Donald, Rams
2014: Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers
2013: Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers
2012: Geno Atkins, Bengals
2011: Justin Smith, 49ers
2010: Kyle Williams, Bills
2009: Kevin Williams, Vikings
2008: Albert Haynesworth, Titans
2007: Albert Haynesworth, Titans
2006: Tommie Harris, Bears
2005: Casey Hampton, Steelers
2004: Jamal Williams, Chargers
2003: Kris Jenkins, Panthers
2002: Warren Sapp, Buccaneers
2001: Warren Sapp, Buccaneers
2000: Warren Sapp, Buccaneers

3-4 Outside Linebacker of the Year – T.J. Watt, Steelers

How can this award not go to T.J. Watt? The Steeler edge rusher was incredible this past year, tying Michael Strahan for the single-season sack record with 22.5. Some will argue that the tie deserves an asterisk because Watt did this in a 17-game season, but Watt missed two contests.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: T.J. Watt, Steelers
2019: T.J. Watt, Steelers
2018: Khalil Mack, Bears
2017: Von Miller, Broncos
2016: Von Miller, Broncos
2015: Von Miller, Broncos
2014: Justin Houston, Chiefs
2013: Robert Mathis, Colts
2011: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys
2010: Clay Matthews, Packers
2009: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys
2008: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys
2007: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys
2006: Shawne Merriman, Chargers

4-3 Outside Linebacker of the Year – Micah Parsons, Cowboys.

Micah Parsons played on the defensive line frequently, so perhaps it’s not fair to list him as an outside linebacker. However, Parsons played there as well in what was a phenomenal rookie campaign. Parsons was a monster in his first NFL season, notching 13 sacks and playing extremely well in coverage.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Lavonte David, Buccaneers
2019: Demario Davis, Saints
2018: Darius Leonard, Colts
2017: Telvin Smith, Jaguars
2016: K.J. Wright, Seahawks
2015: Jamie Collins, Patriots
2014: Von Miller, Broncos
2013: Lavonte David, Buccaneers
2012: Von Miller, Broncos
2005: Cato June, Colts
2004: Takeo Spikes, Bills
2003: Keith Bulluck, Titans
2002: Derrick Brooks, Buccaneers
2001: Jamir Miller, Browns
2000: Derrick Brooks, Buccaneers

Inside Linebacker of the Year – Fred Warner, 49ers.

It’s hard to believe that Fred Warner was just a third-round pick four years ago. He’s had a meteoric rise since, and he’s now arguably the best non-pass-rushing linebacker in the NFL. Warner won this award last year, and he was incredible once again in 2021.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Fred Warner, 49ers
2019: Eric Kendricks, Vikings
2018: Bobby Wagner, Seahawks
2017: Bobby Wagner, Seahawks
2016: Bobby Wagner, Seahawks
2015: Luke Kuechly, Panthers
2014: Luke Kuechly, Panthers
2013: NaVorro Bowman, 49ers
2012: Patrick Willis, 49ers
2011: Patrick Willis, 49ers
2010: Lawrence Timmons, Steelers
2009: Patrick Willis, 49ers
2008: Ray Lewis, Ravens
2007: Lofa Tatupu, Seahawks
2006: Brian Urlacher, Bears
2005: Brian Urlacher, Bears
2004: Tedy Bruschi, Patriots
2003: Ray Lewis, Ravens
2002: Zach Thomas, Dolphins
2001: Brian Urlacher, Bears
2000: Ray Lewis, Ravens

Cornerback of the Year – Jalen Ramsey, Rams.

Jalen Ramsey is another player to win award with a different team than when doing so in a previous season. Ramsey had an incredible year for the Rams. He didn’t shadow, but he played both outside and in the slot.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Jaire Alexander, Packers
2019: Stephen Gilmore, Patriots
2018: Stephon Gilmore, Patriots
2017: Jalen Ramsey, Jaguars
2016: Janoris Jenkins, Giants
2015: Josh Norman, Panthers
2014: Richard Sherman, Seahawks
2013: Richard Sherman, Seahawks
2012: Richard Sherman, Seahawks
2011: Darrelle Revis, Jets
2010: Tramon Williams, Packers
2009: Darrelle Revis, Jets
2008: Nnamdi Asomugha, Raiders
2007: Antonio Cromartie, Chargers
2006: Champ Bailey, Broncos
2005: Champ Bailey, Broncos
2004: Nate Clements, Bills
2003: Ty Law, Patriots
2002: Bobby Taylor, Eagles
2001: Aeneas Williams, Rams
2000: Samari Rolle, Titans

Free Safety of the Year – Kevin Byard, Titans.

Kevin Byard has been an underrated safety for several years. I would now consider him to be the best safety in the NFL. The Titans had some poor play from their cornerbacks last year, but Byard was crucial in allowing Tennessee’s pass defense to be ranked highly.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Marcus Maye, Jets
2019: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers
2018: Eddie Jackson, Bears
2017: Harrison Smith, Vikings
2016: Devin McCourty, Patriots
2015: Eric Berry, Chiefs
2014: Eric Weddle, Chargers
2013: Jairus Byrd, Bills
2012: Jairus Byrd, Bills
2011: Eric Weddle, Chargers
2010: Nick Collins, Packers
2009: Darren Sharper, Saints
2008: Ed Reed, Ravens
2007: Sean Taylor, Redskins
2006: Brian Dawkins, Eagles
2005: Bob Sanders, Colts
2004: Brian Dawkins, Eagles
2003: Roy Williams, Cowboys
2002: Rod Woodson, Raiders
2001: Brian Dawkins, Eagles
2000: Darren Sharper, Packers

Strong Safety of the Year – Harrison Smith, S, Vikings.

Minnesota’s defense had some major problems this past season, but Harrison Smith wasn’t one of them. Smith continued to be his dominant self. He turns 33 this offseason, but there haven’t been any signs of regression.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: John Johnson, Rams
2019: Jamal Adams, Jets
2018: Jamal Adams, Jets
2017: Landon Collins, Giants
2016: Landon Collins, Giants
2015: T.J. Ward, Broncos
2014: Kam Chancellor, Seahawks
2013: Kam Chancellor, Seahawks
2012: Reshad Jones, Dolphins
2011: Troy Polamalu, Steelers
2010: Troy Polamalu, Steelers
2009: Bernard Pollard, Texans
2008: Troy Polamalu, Steelers
2007: Bob Sanders, Colts
2006: Troy Polamalu, Steelers
2005: Troy Polamalu, Steelers
2004: Ed Reed, Ravens
2003: Ed Reed, Ravens
2002: Lance Schulters, Titans
2001: Mike Brown, Bears
2000: John Lynch, Buccaneers

Kicker of the Year – Justin Tucker, Ravens.

Justin Tucker had yet another amazing year, hitting 35-of-37 attempts, including a perfect 6-of-6 from 50-plus. Of course, one of those was the game-winning 66-yard field goal as time expired in Detroit early in the season.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Younghoe Koo, Falcons
2019: Josh Lambo, Jaguars
2018: Aldrick Rosas, Giants
2017: Matt Bryant, Falcons
2016: Justin Tucker, Ravens
2015: Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots
2014: Matt Bryant, Falcons
2013: Justin Tucker, Ravens
2012: Blair Walsh, Vikings
2011: David Akers, 49ers
2010: Matt Bryant, Falcons
2009: Garrett Hartley, Saints
2008: Jason Hanson, Lions
2007: Rob Bironas, Titans
2006: Adam Vinatieri, Colts
2005: Neil Rackers, Cardinals
2004: Adam Vinatieri, Patriots
2003: Mike Vanderjagt, Colts
2002: Adam Vinatieri, Patriots
2001: Adam Vinatieri, Patriots
2000: Matt Stover, Ravens

Special Teams Player of the Year – Devin Duvernay, Ravens.

It’s rare for a returner to win this award without scoring a touchdown. Devin Duvernay will hold that distinction, but he was the best punt returner in the NFL this past season. His 13.9 return average was tops among those with 10 or more returns. He also had six returns of 20-plus despite no one else in the NFL generating more than four. He was also one of eight returners to run back 40-plus yards without scoring.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Andrew Van Ginkel, Dolphins
2019: Jamal Agnew, Lions
2018: Cory Littleton, Rams
2017: Jamal Agnew, Lions
2016: Tyreek Hill, Chiefs
2015: Tyler Lockett, Seahawks
2014: Darren Sproles, Eagles
2013: Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings
2012: Jacoby Jones, Ravens
2011: Patrick Peterson, Cardinals
2010: Devin Hester, Bears
2009: Joshua Cribbs, Browns
2008: Johnnie Lee Higgins, Raiders
2007: Devin Hester, Bears
2006: Devin Hester, Bears
2005: Jerome Mathis, Texans
2004: Eddie Drummond, Lions
2003: Dante Hall, Chiefs
2002: Michael Lewis, Saints
2001: Troy Brown, Patriots
2000: Derrick Mason, Titans

Offensive Rookie of the Year – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Bengals.

Everyone deemed Ja’Marr Chase to be one of the greatest draft busts ever when he dropped every pass in sight during the preseason. Everyone had egg on their face for criticizing Chase after watching him dominate in his rookie campaign. Chase finished fourth in receiving despite his inexperience, catching 81 passes for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Justin Herbert, QB, Chargers
2019: Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders
2018: Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants
2017: Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints
2016: Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys
2015: Todd Gurley, RB, Rams
2014: Odell Beckham, WR, Giants
2013: Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers
2012: Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks
2011: Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
2010: Sam Bradford, QB, Rams
2009: Sebastian Vollmer, OT, Patriots
2008: Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens
2007: Joe Thomas, OT, Browns
2006: Vince Young, QB, Titans
2005: Cadillac Williams, RB, Buccaneers
2004: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
2003: Anquan Boldin, WR, Cardinals
2002: Clinton Portis, RB, Broncos
2001: Anthony Thomas, RB, Bears
2000: Jamal Lewis, RB, Ravens

Defensive Rookie of the Year – Micah Parsons, DE/LB, Cowboys.

Micah Parsons was so dominant during his rookie season that I considered him to be a top-five MVP candidate. Parsons did it all for the Cowboys, generating a heavy pass rush and doing well in coverage.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Chase Young, DE, Redskins
2019: Nick Bosa, DE, 49ers
2018: Darius Leonard, LB, Colts
2017: Tre’Davious White, CB, Bills
2016: Joey Bosa, DE/OLB, Chargers
2015: Marcus Peters, CB, Chiefs
2014: Aaron Donald, DT, Rams
2013: Sheldon Richardson, DE/DT, Jets
2012: Bobby Wagner, ILB, Seahawks
2011: Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, 49ers
2010: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Lions
2009: Brian Cushing, OLB, Texans
2008: Jerod Mayo, ILB, Patriots
2007: Patrick Willis, ILB, 49ers
2006: Mark Anderson, DE, Bears
2005: Lofa Tatupu, ILB, Seahawks
2004: Jonathan Vilma, ILB, Jets
2003: Terence Newman, CB, Cowboys
2002: Dwight Freeney, DE, Colts
2001: Kendrell Bell, ILB, Steelers
2000: Corey Simon, DT, Eagles

Most Improved Offensive Player – Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams.

Cooper Kupp had just one 1,000-yard season heading into 2021. He was just shy of that plateau in 2020, catching 92 passes for 974 yards and three touchdowns. His numbers in 2021 were astronomical compared to his 2020 figures; he caught 145 balls for 1,947 yards and 16 scores. He more than doubled his yardage and had more than five times the number of touchdowns.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons
2019: Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens
2018: Eric Ebron, TE, Colts
2017: Jared Goff, QB, Rams
2016: Terrelle Pryor, WR, Browns
2015: Gary Barnidge, TE, Browns
2014: Justin Forsett, RB, Ravens
2013: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos
2012: Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers
2011: Fred Jackson, RB, Bills
2010: Brandon Lloyd, WR, Broncos
2009: Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers
2008: DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers
2007: Wes Welker, WR, Patriots
2006: Ladell Betts, RB, Redskins
2005: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
2004: Drew Brees, QB, Chargers
2003: Steve Smith, WR, Panthers
2002: Koren Robinson, WR, Seahawks
2001: Troy Brown, WR, Patriots
2000: Jeff Garcia, QB, 49ers

Most Improved Defensive Player – De’Vondre Campbell, LB, Packers.

De’Vondre Campbell was just a marginal player for the Falcons and Cardinals, which is why it was so shocking that he performed as one of the top non-pass rushing linebackers in the NFL last year.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Darious Williams, CB, Rams
2019: Shaq Barrett, DE, Buccaneers
2018: Dee Ford, DE/OLB, Chiefs
2017: Patrick Robinson, CB, Eagles
2016: Lorenzo Alexander, DE/OLB, Bills
2015: David Amerson, CB, Raiders
2014: Brandon Marshall, LB, Broncos
2013: Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB, Bills
2012: Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/DT, Jets
2011: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
2010: Cameron Wake, DE/OLB, Dolphins
2009: Ray Edwards, DE, Vikings
2008: James Harrison, DE/OLB, Steelers
2007: Mario Williams, DE, Texans
2006: Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Raiders
2005: Derrick Burgess, DE, Raiders
2004: James Hall, DE, Lions
2003: Brian Russell, S, Vikings
2002: Keith Bulluck, OLB, Titans
2001: Ahmed Plummer, CB, 49ers
2000: La’Roi Glover, DT, Saints

M.U.P. (Most Unimportant Player) – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jaguars.

Trevor Lawrence was supposed to take the league by storm and have the Jaguars in instant playoff contention. Instead, Jacksonville won just one more game than it did last year in the first 16 contests. Lawrence was rather pedestrian, proving that a very talented quarterback is utterly useless if surrounded by horrible blocking, a poor receiving corps, and the worst coaching staff in the NFL.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Jamal Adams, S, Seahawks
2019: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Patriots
2018: Carlos Hyde, RB, Jaguars
2017: Jay Cutler, QB, Dolphins
2016: Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
2015: Robert Griffin, QB, Redskins
2014: Jay Cutler, QB, Bears
2013: Trent Richardson, RB, Colts
2012: Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson, WRs
2011: Albert Haynesworth, DT, Patriots/Buccaneers
2010: Terrell Owens, WR, Bengals
2009: QB Dog Killer, QB, Eagles
2008: Plaxico Burress, WR, Giants
2007: Michael Vick, QB, Falcons
2006: Randy Moss, WR, Raiders
2005: Terrell Owens, WR, Eagles
2004: Kevan Barlow, RB, 49ers
2003: Keyshawn Johnson, WR, Buccaneers
2002: Barrett Robbins, C, Raiders
2001: Randy Moss, WR, Vikings
2000: Deion Sanders, CB, Redskins

Comeback Player of the Year – Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals.

Joe Burrow suffered a catastrophic knee injury in November of last year. Some compared it to the injury Carson Wentz endured. It was fair to wonder if Burrow would ever be the same quarterback because Wentz has regressed since getting hurt. Instead, Burrow had an amazing season and led Cincinnati deep into the playoffs.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Alex Smith, QB, Redskins
2019: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Saints
2018: Andrew Luck, QB, Colts
2017: Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers
2016: Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers
2015: Eric Berry, S, Chiefs
2014: Rolando McClain, LB, Cowboys
2013: LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots
2012: Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
2011: Willis McGahee, RB, Broncos
2010: Brandon Lloyd, WR, Broncos
2009: Vince Young, QB, Titans
2008: Kerry Collins, QB, Titans
2007: Todd Collins, QB, Redskins
2006: Jeff Garcia, QB, Eagles
2005: Brad Johnson, QB, Vikings
2004: Mark Fields, LB, Panthers
2003: Marcus Robinson, WR, Ravens
2002: Tommy Maddox, QB, Steelers
2001: Garrison Hearst, RB, 49ers

Blue Collar Player of the Year – Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers.

Deebo Samuel not only works out very hard to be a physical freak; he also does whatever it takes for the team to succeed as far as playing different positions. The 49ers lined up Samuel in so many offensive positions this season. He was even the team’s primary running back a stretch. You don’t work hard to have that sort of ridiculous versatility.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: J.J. Watt, DE/DT, Texans
2019: Raheem Mostert, RB, 49ers
2018: Nick Mullens, QB, 49ers
2017: J.J. Watt, DE/DT, Texans
2016: Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings
2015: Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins
2014: Anquan Boldin, WR, 49ers
2013: Josh McCown, QB, Bears
2012: Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts
2011: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars
2010: Drew Brees, QB, Saints
2009: Steven Jackson, RB, Rams
2008: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
2007: Fred Taylor, RB, Jaguars
2006: Lorenzo Neal, FB, Chargers
2005: Tedy Bruschi, ILB, Patriots
2004: Troy Brown, WR/CB, Patriots
2003: Brett Favre, QB, Packers
2002: Hines Ward, WR, Steelers
2001: Hines Ward, WR, Steelers

Perseverance Award – David Quessenberry, Titans.

If you didn’t read Jacob Camenker’s story about David Quessenberry, definitely check it out because it’s great. Quessenberry overcame cancer to develop into one of Tennessee’s best offensive linemen. If that doesn’t exemplify perseverance, I don’t know what does.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Alex Smith, Redskins
2019: Ryan Tannehill, Titans
2018: Browns fans
2017: Buffalo Bills
2016: Alex Mack, C, Falcons
2015: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
2014: Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
2013: Champ Bailey, CB, Broncos
2012: Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens
2011: Tim Tebow, QB, Broncos
2010: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
2009: NFL Fans (for Brett Favre coverage)
2008: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
2007: Eli Manning, QB, Giants
2006: Peyton Manning, QB, Colts
2005: Cincinnati Bengals Fans
2004: John Fox, head coach, Panthers
2003: Donovan McNabb, QB, Eagles

Celebration Award – Cassius Marsh (Stupid Rule “Violation”).

The NFL installed a stupid taunting rule this season where nearly everyone was flagged. Even the great Tom Brady was penalized for showing off a bloody chin to an official. The worst instance of these taunting rules ended up costing Chicago a victory, and as a consequence, a playoff spot for the Chargers. In a Monday night affair against the Steelers, Cassius Marsh made a big play and then stared at Pittsburgh’s bench. He didn’t say anything or make any motions with his hands. He just stared for a couple of seconds. An overzealous official threw the flag, which forced the Bears into burning timeouts they needed on the final drive. The officials already have too much power in the NFL, so it’s puzzling as to why the league would give them even more authority.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Justin Jefferson, WR, Vikings (Eye Goggles Dance)
2019: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys (Dak Prescott hip flip)
2018: Michael Thomas, WR, Saints (cell phone)
2017: None
2016: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants (kicking nets)
2015: Carolina Panthers (balls to kids in stands)
2014: Jerry Jones and Chris Christie, Cowboys (GoP candidacy ruined)
2013: Richard Sherman, CB, Seahawks (Michael Crabtree taunt)
2012: Ray Lewis, Ravens (Ray Lewis dance)
2011: Tim Tebow, Broncos (Tebowing)
2010: Derek Anderson, Cardinals (press conference meltdown)
2009: Chad Ochocinco, Bengals (salute to Chris Henry)
2008: Santonio Holmes (Super Bowl ball prop)
2007: Jerry Jones, Cowboys (rapture)
2006: None (fine for celebrations)
2005: Chad Johnson, Bengals (many)
2004: Terrell Owens, Eagles (many)
2003: Joe Horn, Saints (cell phone)
2002: Terrell Owens, 49ers (Sharpee)

“I Don’t Belong in the NFL” Award – Urban Meyer, Jaguars.

There’s a long track record of college-only coaches failing in the NFL, and Urban Meyer was the most recent one. In fact, Meyer was the worst one yet. Meyer failed to finish a single season in the NFL. He clashed with players, created poor game plans, misused some of his top athletes, and even neglected to take the flight home with his team just so he could hang out at Ohio bars.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Bill O’Brien, Texans
2019: Antonio Brown, Patriots
2018: Hue Jackson, Browns
2017: Tony Romo, CBS (because of how great he was at broadcasting)
2016: Jed York, 49ers
2015: Johnny Manziel, Browns
2014: Johnny Manziel, Browns
2013: Jonathan Martin, Dolphins
2012: Titus Young, Lions
2011: Caleb Hanie, Bears
2010: Vince Young, Titans
2009: Al Davis, Raiders
2008: Detroit Lions
2007: Randy Mueller, Dolphins
2006: Charley Casserly, Texans
2005: Charley Casserly, Texans
2004: John York, 49ers
2003: Steve Spurrier, Redskins
2002: Marty Mornhinweg, Lions
2001: Daniel Snyder, Redskins

Joe Value Player – Brandon Staley, Chargers

This award, suggested by forum member Clov, is given to the player/NFL individual who provided us with the biggest “what the f*** are you doing” moment of the year.

All Brandon Staley had to do was nothing, and his team would’ve clinched playoff berth. Engaged in a tie with the Raiders in the final regular-season game of the year, the Raiders were more than willing to sit on the ball and take a tie because they weren’t in field goal range. This would’ve given both teams a tie and a playoff spot as a consequence. Instead, Staley called timeout for some reason, giving the Raiders one more play, which was a run that put the team into kicking range. The field goal was good, eliminating the Chargers, all because of Staley’s timeout.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Dwayne Haskins, Redskins
2019: Myles Garrett, Browns
2018: NFL Officials
2017: Marcus Williams, Saints
2016: Kyle Shanahan, Falcons
2015: Vontaze Burfict, Bengals
2014: Darrell Bovell, Seahawks
2013: Cleveland Browns Front Office
2012: Mark Sanchez (Butt Fumble), Jets

Free Agent Nightmare Award – Kenny Golladay, WR, Giants.

The Giants thought they were getting a stud receiver when they signed Kenny Golladay to a $72 million contract with $40 million guaranteed. Instead, they obtained a receiver who caught just 37 passes and one touchdown in 14 games. Golladay dropped tons of passes, but his worst offense was failing to dive for a deep ball in an embarrassing loss to the Redskins in the season finale.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings
2019: Nick Foles, QB, Jaguars
2018: Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings
2017: Kenny Britt, WR, Browns
2016: Brock Osweiler, QB, Texans
2015: Nate Allen, S, Raiders
2014: Jairus Byrd, S, Saints
2013: Jeff Ireland, GM, Dolphins
2012: Robert Meachem, WR, Chargers

The Backdoor Bandit Award – Overtime.

This award, suggested by forum mod VBSiena, is given to the player who cost/won me the most money because of something bogus. The Backdoor Bandit was the moniker that I gave to Seneca Wallace, who was responsible for putting together a ridiculous amount of backdoor covers.

I finished seventh in the Supercontest in 2020. I got the bad end of the variance stick in 2021. It was the Murphy’s Law of football betting seasons, particularly when it came to overtime. I somehow lost four bets with underdogs of three or more when the game went to overtime. I could see one or two, but four!?

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Teddy Bridgewater, Panthers
2019: 49ers
2018: Dee Ford, Chiefs
2017: Justin Houston, Chiefs
2016: Drew Brees, Saints
2015: Me
2014: Pete Morelli, Official
2013: Clete Blakeman, Official
2012: Ray Rice, Ravens
2009: Ted Ginn, Dolphins (retroactively)
2008: Seneca Wallace, Seahawks (retroactively)

Scrub of the Year – Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles.

This award is for the player who was the Scrub of the Week the most times on my NFL Power Rankings page.

Miles Sanders was Scrub of the Week three times in 2021. This occurred early in the year when the Eagles forgot to run the ball every week. Remarkably, they became the most run-heavy team in the second half of the season.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Eagles
2019: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
2018: Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
2017: Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys
2016: Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks
2015: Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers
2014: Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints
2013: Ray Rice, RB, Ravens
2012: Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets
2011: LeGarrette Blount, RB, Buccaneers; Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
2010: Randy Moss, WR, Patriots/Vikings/Titans
2009: Jake Delhomme, QB, Panthers
2008: Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals
2007: Brian Griese, QB, Bears
2006: Rex Grossman, QB, Bears
2005: J.P. Losman, QB, Bills; Vinny Testaverde, QB, Jets
2004: Mike Martz, head coach, Rams
2003: Joey Harrington, QB, Lions; Jeff Garcia, QB, 49ers; Drew Bledsoe, QB, Bills
2002: Randy Moss, WR, Vikings
2001: Elvis Grbac, QB, Ravens

Coach of the Year – Bill Belichick, Patriots.

Bill Belichick lost Tom Brady, and yet it only took him two years to get his team back into the playoffs. Remarkably, New England nearly beat out the Bills in the AFC East despite starting a rookie quarterback. Most people didn’t expect much from Mac Jones, but Belichick and his staff had him playing as the top rookie at the position.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Andy Reid, Chiefs
2019: Kyle Shanahan, 49ers
2018: Bill Belichick, Patriots
2017: Bill Belichick, Patriots
2016: Bill Belichick, Patriots
2015: Bruce Arians, Cardinals
2014: Bruce Arians, Cardinals
2013: Bill Belichick, Patriots
2012: John Harbaugh, Ravens
2011: Jim Harbaugh, 49ers
2010: Bill Belichick, Patriots
2009: Rex Ryan, Jets
2008: Bill Belichick, Patriots
2007: Bill Belichick, Patriots
2006: Bill Belichick, Patriots
2005: Lovie Smith, Bears
2004: Bill Cowher, Steelers
2003: Bill Parcells, Cowboys
2002: Jon Gruden, Buccaneers
2001: Bill Belichick, Patriots

Coordinator of the Year – Dan Quinn, Cowboys.

The Cowboys have maintained a miserable defense for years, but that changed this past season. Dallas’ stop unit finished second in defensive DVOA. Dan Quinn was the mastermind behind the operation. He did such a great job that people have forgotten how bad he was as a head coach, as indicated by all the interest he has garnered from teams that need head coaches this offseason.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Brandon Staley, Rams
2019: Greg Roman, Ravens
2018: Vic Fangio, Bears
2017: Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia, Patriots
2016: Kyle Shanahan, Falcons
2015: Wade Phillips, Broncos
2014: Gary Kubiak, Ravens
2013: Rob Ryan, Saints
2012: Bruce Arians, Colts
2011: Wade Phillips, Texans
2010: Dom Capers, Packers
2009: Gregg Williams, Saints
2008: Dick LeBeau, Steelers
2007: Steve Spagnulo, Giants
2006: Rex Ryan, Ravens
2005: Dick LeBeau, Steelers
2004: Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, Patriots
2003: Jim Johnson, Eagles
2002: Monte Kiffin, Buccaneers
2001: Mike Mularkey, Steelers

WalterFootball.com Award (Best Player) – T.J. Watt, DE/OLB, Steelers.

This came down to Aaron Donald versus T.J. Watt, as they were the two best players in the NFL last year. Both are great choices, but I gave the nod to Watt because he single-handedly led his team into the playoffs. The Steelers were 9-5-1 in games in which Watt played, and despite missing two contests, Watt tied Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record.

Past Winners of this Award:
2020: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
2019: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs
2018: Aaron Donald, DT, Rams
2017: Aaron Donald, DT, Rams
2016: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
2015: J.J. Watt, DE, Texans
2014: J.J. Watt, DE, Texans
2013: J.J. Watt, DE, Texans
2012: Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
2011: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
2010: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
2009: Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
2008: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
2007: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
2006: LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers
2005: Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs
2004: Ed Reed, S, Ravens
2003: LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers
2002: Michael Vick, QB, Falcons
2001: Marshall Faulk, RB, Rams
2000: Marshall Faulk, RB, Rams

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

2024 NFL Mock Draft - Feb. 21

Fantasy Football Rankings - Feb. 19

NFL Picks - Feb. 12