2022 WalterFootball.com NFL Awards: 23rd Annual

The 23rd-annual WalterFootball.com Awards are here! Stay tuned for a 2023 NFL Mock Draft update in a couple of days. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

M.V.P. – Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs.

I bought a 40/1 ticket on Jalen Hurts to be MVP, so I really wanted him to win the award. A strong case can be made for Hurts, given that the Eagles are 16-1 with him and 0-2 without him heading into the Super Bowl. However, if you remove Hurts from the Eagles and replace him with a mediocre quarterback, the Eagles still likely make the playoffs, probably as the No. 5 seed. If you remove Patrick Mahomes from the Chiefs and replace him with an average quarterback, I don’t know if they’d qualify for the postseason. Everyone dismissed Kansas City this year because Tyreek Hill left the team, yet Mahomes still led the Chiefs to the No. 1 seed.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
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 – Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs.

Who would have guessed that Patrick Mahomes would improve his stats in the wake of Tyreek Hill’s departure? Despite throwing to pedestrian wide receivers, Mahomes saw his completion percentage rise from 66.3 to 67.1; his passing yards jump from 4,839 to 5,250; and his touchdown-to-interception ratio improve from 37:13 to 41:12. Mahomes was somehow better without Hill, which begs the question, how amazing would he have been this year if he still had Hill at his disposal?

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Aaron Rodgers, Packers
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 – Josh Jacobs, Raiders.

Josh Jacobs was seen by many as a first-round draft bust ahead of the 2022 NFL season. This perception completely changed, as Jacobs led the NFL in rushing. Jacobs gained 1,653 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground, and he was instrumental in the passing game once Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow suffered injuries. Jacobs caught 53 passes for 400 yards to add to his impressive rushing total.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Derrick Henry, Titans
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 – Justin Jefferson, Vikings.

It appeared as though Cooper Kupp would win this award, but he suffered an injury during the middle of the season. This paved the way for Justin Jefferson, who led the NFL in catches and receiving yardage. He caught 128 passes for 1,809 yards and eight touchdowns. His scoring total would have been much higher if he hadn’t been tackled at the 1-yard line so often.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Cooper Kupp, Rams
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 – Travis Kelce, Chiefs.

I mentioned that Patrick Mahomes threw to nothing but pedestrian wide receivers. He at least had Travis Kelce as a top target. Kelce posted wide receiver-type numbers, ranking eighth in receiving yardage this year. He caught 110 passes for 1,338 yards and 12 touchdowns. The receptions and touchdowns were both career-highs.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Mark Andrews, Ravens
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 34-year-old, dominated for the 49ers once again. One of the primary reasons Brock Purdy was able to play so well down the stretch was that he had elite blocking from his blind side.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Trent Williams, 49ers
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 sixth time in seven 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. He remained an elite pass protector.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Zack Martin, Cowboys
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 – Jason Kelce, Eagles.

Jason Kelce has hinted that he may retire after this season, which is a shame because he’s still the best center in the NFL. Kelce was the centerpiece of Philadelphia’s elite offensive line, which kept Jalen Hurts clean all year.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Corey Linsley, Chargers
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 sixth-year pro was a one-man wrecking crew, tallying 16 sacks for the second-consecutive season.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Myles Garrett, Browns
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.

This was the first year you could question Aaron Donald winning this award because he got hurt in Week 12 and missed the final six weeks of the regular season. However, Donald was dominant when on the field for the first two-thirds of the year. Besides, he played nearly as many snaps as his primary competitor, Quinnen Williams.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Aaron Donald, Rams
2020: Aaron Donald, Rams
2019: Aaron Donald, Rams
2018: Aaron Donald, Rams
2017: Cameron Heyward, 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 in the past. Jones played in the interior all last year, where he thrived. He recorded 15.5 sacks, which is an absurd number for an interior defensive lineman.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Chris Jones, Chiefs
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

T.J. Watt missed seven games, and he wasn’t 100 percent upon his return, but he eventually reverted to the dominant player we’re used to seeing. Watt proved his importance last year, as the Steelers were 1-6 without him and 8-2 with him.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: T.J. Watt, Steelers
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 spends way more time in coverage than prototypical 4-3 defensive ends. Parsons notched 13.5 sacks in 2022.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Micah Parsons, Cowboys
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 five years ago. He’s had a meteoric rise since, and he’s now arguably the best non-pass-rushing linebacker in the NFL. This is now the third consecutive year that Warner has won this award.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Fred Warner, 49ers
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 – Sauce Gardner, Jets.

Rookie cornerbacks aren’t supposed to be this great. They’re supposed to struggle to start their careers, and then perform better as their initial year concludes. Don’t tell that to Sauce Gardner, who was the best player at his position last year. It was impossible to throw on him, despite his inexperience.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Jalen Ramsey, Rams
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 – Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers.

Minkah Fitzpatrick has been a dynamic play-maker ever since joining the Steelers. Yet, he never recorded as many interceptions as he did last year. He registered six picks, a career-high figure.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Kevin Byard, Titans
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 – Kamren Curl, S, Redskins.

Kamren Curl made incredible strides last year, transforming from a solid safety into an exceptional one. Curl was sorely missed in the final three games of the season, which was when Washington’s run defense fell apart as a result of his absence.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Harrison Smith, Vikings
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 continues to be the best kicker in the NFL. He went 37-of-43 last year, but three of his misses were blocked. He was stellar from beyond 50, connecting on nine such field goals.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Justin Tucker, Ravens
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 – Keisean Nixon, Packers.

Keisean Nixon led the NFL in kickoff return average among regular returners until the final week of the season, when Nyheim Hines scored twice. Nixon finished with one touchdown, but he recorded five returns of 40-plus yards, compared to only two by Hines.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Devin Duvernay, Ravens
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 – Garrett Wilson, WR, Jets.

Brock Purdy certainly deserves consideration for this award, but unlike Purdy, Garrett Wilson had no help from his teammates. Wilson registered 83 catches for 1,103 yards and four touchdowns despite playing with pedestrian quarterbacks all year. Imagine what he could have accomplished if he were paired with competent passers.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Bengals
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 – Sauce Gardner, CB, Jets.

Sauce Gardner won the award for being the top cornerback in the NFL already, so how could he not be voted as the Defensive Rookie of the Year?

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Micah Parsons, DE/LB, Cowboys
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 – Jalen Hurts, QB, Eagles.

When I picked the Eagles to go to the Super Bowl prior to the 2022 regular season, the most common question I was asked was, “You think Jalen Hurts is good enough?” My response was that Hurts just had to be above average because the rest of Philadelphia’s roster was phenomenal. Hurts was obviously way better than above average. He made insane strides in his second full season as a starter. His completion percentage (61.3 to 66.5), YPA (7.3 to 8), and touchdown-to-interception ratio (16:9 to 22:6) all improved by leaps and bounds this past year.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams
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 – Kamren Curl, S, Redskins.

I touched on the leap that Kamre Curl made when he won the award for being the top strong safety in the NFL. It’s astonishing that Curl has made a big name for himself because he was a seventh-round pick not too long ago. The 23-year-old should continue to improve.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: De’Vondre Campbell, LB, Packers
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) – Deshaun Watson, QB, Browns.

When Deshaun Watson was slapped with an 11-game suspension, many gave up on the Browns’ playoff hopes. However, it wasn’t the offense that suffered heading into Watson’s return. From the first week to the final game in which Watson was suspended, the Browns scored 24 points per game. They were 3-7 in those contests because their defense allowed an average of 26.9 points per game. Watson was supposed to put the Browns over the top, but the offense’s points-per-game figure plummeted when Watson was under center to 17.3.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jaguars
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 – Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants.

It wasn’t too long ago that people were writing off Saquon Barkley as a draft bust. Barkley got off to a great start to his career, but suffered a torn ACL in Week 2 of 2020, then wasn’t nearly the same last year. Barkley just needed time to recover from the knee injury, so it was no surprise that he was back to his former self this past year. He finished fourth in the NFL in rushing despite not handling 300-plus carries like the three backs in front of him.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals
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 – Detroit Lions.

This award goes to the entire Detroit Lions roster. They fought hard each week for Dan Campbell, even after starting the year 1-6. They easily could have given up, but they were able to close out the season on an 8-2 run. Then, when they were eliminated hours prior to the kickoff of their regular-season finale, they still battled tough and managed to knock off the Packers in what turned out to be a meaningless game for them. The 49ers must be thrilled that they didn’t have to face this team in the opening round of the playoffs.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers
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 – Geno Smith, Seahawks.

Geno Smith was a star quarterback at West Virginia, but he turned out to be a huge bust for the Jets. He was an interception machine who was mocked for being a poor quarterback. The criticism was warranted, but Smith continued to work hard to improve his craft. All the effort finally paid off last year when he led the Seahawks into the playoffs, posting better numbers than Russell Wilson did in Denver. I should note that Geno Smith did not win Comeback Player of the Year in this publication because he always sucked before 2022, so he never came back from anything.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: David Quessenberry, Titans
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 – Jordan Akins (Draft Ruiner).

For most of the year, the Texans had the inside track for the No. 1 overall pick. All they needed to do was lose their final game to the Colts. That seemed simple enough, but they scored a touchdown in the closing seconds and then went for two. Davis Mills delivered a pass to Jordan Akins into the end zone, and Akins caught the ball for the decisive two-point conversion. Akins then jumped up and pointed to the name of the back of his jersey, signifying that “Akins” would be the reason why Houston’s future was ruined.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Cassius Marsh, DE, Bears (Stupid Rule “Violation”)
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 – Zach Wilson, Jets.

While another former Jets quarterback won the Perseverance Award this year, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see Zach Wilson claim that title. Wilson did something you’ll never see from an NFL quarterback, which was refuse to accept blame for a poor performance. Wilson went 9-of-22 for 77 yards in a loss to the Patriots, yet he told the media that he wasn’t at fault for the defeat. He predictably lost the locker room as a result.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Urban Meyer, Jaguars
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.

Brandon Staley “won” this award last year when he called a timeout in the regular-season finale to allow the Raiders to kick a field goal. Las Vegas was perfectly content with tying so that both teams would make the playoffs, but Staley screwed that up. Staley once again botched the final week of the regular season when he decided to play all of his starters in a meaningless game. Doing so got Mike Williams injured, and his absence was crucial as Jacksonville mounted a comeback in the opening round of the playoffs. The kicker is that the Chargers didn’t even beat the Broncos in the finale despite Staley using all of his starters.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Brandon Staley, Chargers
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 – Derek Carr, QB, Raiders.

I didn’t like when the Raiders re-signed Derek Carr to a 3-year, $121.5 million contract when it happened, but I didn’t anticipate it being the worst free agent signing of the year. Carr didn’t have a poor season by any means, but he was highly disappointing when factoring in expectations. He also had some significant off-the-field events, such as crying during a press conference and then abandoning his team once he was benched late in the year. Carr’s contract is such an albatross that it’ll be difficult for the Raiders to trade him this offseason.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Kenny Golladay, WR, Giants
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 – Miles Sanders, Eagles.

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 made the Eagles my pick of the month when they battled the Cowboys in Week 16. The Eagles, as 5.5-point underdogs, looked like they would cover when they had a 10-point lead in the second half. They were winning in the fourth quarter, and then were down by just three with a couple of minutes remaining. They looked like a lock to cover, but Miles Sanders fumbled the ball, setting up Dallas with the covering chip-shot field goal. Not only did I lose eight units because of this (plus the vig); I missed out on a five-figure payout in the final-six mini-contest of the Westgate Supercontest.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Overtime
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 – Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints.

This award is for the player who was the greatest fantasy football bust this past year.

Alvin Kamara rushed for 62 yards, caught nine passes for 96 receiving yards, and scored three touchdowns in a battle against the Raiders in Week 8. Thus, it’s difficult to understand how he was so unproductive in most other games. The Saints, for whatever reason, didn’t use him very much as a receiver out of the backfield. Down the stretch, he failed to log more than two receptions in any of his final five contests. Even worse, there were five games this season in which Kamara registered fewer than 65 rushing yards, while scoring no touchdowns.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles
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 – Brian Daboll, Giants.

Heading into the 2022 NFL season, no one gave the Giants much of a chance to reach the playoffs. Many also declared that Daniel Jones was a bust. Things quickly changed, as the Giants were able to reach the playoffs and then upset the Vikings. Things ended poorly in a blowout loss to the Eagles, but that shoudn’t negate what Daboll accomplished. The Giants transformed into a decent team, while Jones was finally living up to expectations.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Bill Belichick, Patriots
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 – Jonathan Gannon, Eagles.

The Eagles logged 70 sacks during the regular season, and as of this writing, they have 78 sacks if the playoffs are included. This is four shy of the all-time record, so perhaps they’ll attain it in the Super Bowl. The architect of this defense is Jonathan Gannon, who does a great job of adjusting to the opposition.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: Dan Quinn, Cowboys
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) – Micah Parsons, DE/OLB, Cowboys.

Micah Parsons was so outstanding last year that he was a constant presence in the top five of my MVP candidates on the NFL Power Rankings page. He’s just an absurd player. How often do you see one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL also excel in coverage? What’s scary is that Parsons is only in his second season, so he could get even better in the coming years.

Past Winners of this Award:
2021: T.J. Watt, DE/OLB, Steelers
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

2024 NFL Mock Draft - April 9

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

Fantasy Football Rankings - Feb. 19

NFL Picks - Feb. 12