2023 WalterFootball.com NFL Awards: 24th Annual

Patrick Mahomes
The 24th-annual WalterFootball.com Awards are here! Stay tuned for a 2024 NFL Mock Draft update in a couple of days. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

M.V.P. – Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs.

There was no consensus MVP candidate for most of the year. The favorite bounced around from Tua Tagovailoa, to Jalen Hurts, to Brock Purdy, to Dak Prescott, to Christian McCaffrey, and then to Lamar Jackson. Patrick Mahomes was not mentioned once, which was a huge mistake. Mahomes had a mediocre statistical season, but he dragged one of the worst supporting casts in the NFL to the No. 3 seed and an eventual Super Bowl appearance. Most quarterbacks would have failed to make the playoffs with such terrible receivers and offensive linemen, but because of Mahomes, the Chiefs were in a position to contend for another Lombardi Trophy.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs
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 – Dak Prescott, Cowboys.

Rather than MVP, these positional awards consider stats as the primary focus. With that in mind, Dak Prescott was the quarterback of the year. He led the league in touchdowns with 36 and threw just nine interceptions. He was third in passing yards and second in completion percentage among quarterbacks with 100 or more passing attempts. Sure, Prescott failed in the opening round playoffs, but he doesn’t deserve all the blame for that, as Mike McCarthy is an incompetent coach with a long history of postseason disappointments.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs
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 – Christian McCaffrey, 49ers.

How can this award not go to Christian McCaffrey? He led the NFL in rushing yards with 1,459. No other running back gained more than 1,167. McCaffrey also was way ahead of everyone in touchdowns, and he was a major weapon in the passing game. There’s a reason that he, as a running back, was one of the favorites to win MVP.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Josh Jacobs, Raiders
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 – Tyreek Hill, Dolphins.

CeeDee Lamb deserves major consideration, but Tyreek Hill was on another level for most of the season. Hill made it known that his goal for 2023 was 2,000 receiving yards, and he may have gotten there had he not gotten injured late in the season. Hill finished with a league-high 1,799 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Justin Jefferson, Vikings
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 – George Kittle, 49ers.

George Kittle led all tight ends in receiving last year, catching 65 passes for 1,020 yards and six touchdowns. He did this despite blocking on half of his snaps. Kittle was excellent as a blocker, which tends to be overlooked when evaluating the position.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Travis Kelce, Chiefs
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 35-year-old, dominated for the 49ers once again. One of the primary reasons Brock Purdy and Christian McCaffrey were in constant MVP conversation was Williams’ amazing blocking. Williams blasted open huge running lanes and didn’t surrender a single sack all year.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Trent Williams, 49ers
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 – Joe Thuney, Chiefs.

Kansas City struggled to block for most of the year, but none of that was Joe Thuney’s fault. Thuney surrendered just two sacks and committed only two penalties. He was also excellent at opening up running lanes for Isiah Pacheco.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Zack Martin, Cowboys
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 – Frank Ragnow, Lions.

If you’re wondering how the Lions had one of the top running games in the NFL, look no further than Frank Ragnow. The Detroit center moved opposing defensive linemen in the running game like no one else. He was also excellent as a pass protector.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Jason Kelce, Eagles
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 – Maxx Crosby, Raiders.

Of all the 4-3 defensive ends in the NFL this past season, Maxx Crosby finished second in sacks (14.5) behind Trey Hendrickson (17.5). However, Hendrickson was a liability against the run, while Crosby was one of the top run defenders at his position in the entire league.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Myles Garrett, Browns
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.

Congratulations to Aaron Donald for winning this award for the sixth year in a row. To no one’s surprise, Donald was absolutely dominant as a pass rusher and a run defender.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Aaron Donald, Rams
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 10.5 sacks, which was second-most among all defensive tackles. Justin Madubuike was the only defensive tackle ahead of Jones in that category, but Jones is a better all-around player.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Chris Jones, Chiefs
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 in 2022. The Steelers went 8-2 with him and 1-6 without him. Thus, it’s no surprise that the Steelers were able to reach the playoffs with Watt healthy all year. Watt ended up leading the NFL in sacks with 19. He was sorely missed in the playoff loss to the Bills.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: T.J. Watt, Steelers
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 14 sacks in 2023.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Micah Parsons, Cowboys
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 six 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 fourth consecutive year that Warner has won this award.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Fred Warner, 49ers
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.

Sauce Gardner has won this award in both of his NFL seasons. He surrendered just 29 receptions to opposing receivers last year, locking down almost everyone he battled. The only criticism that can be had of Gardner is a high number of missed tackles, but Deion Sanders had the same issue, and he’s considered one of the all-time greats.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Sauce Gardner, Jets
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 – Antoine Winfield, Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay’s secondary struggled last year, but the unit would have been a total disaster had it not been for Antoine Winfield Jr. Winfield did everything for the Buccaneers. He was excellent in coverage and run support, and he also happened to be a very effective blitzer.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers
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 – Jevon Holland, Dolphins.

Jevon Holland played free safety and strong safety for the Dolphins last year, so he qualifies. Holland has tremendous instincts and coverage ability. He was also solid in run support.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Kamren Curl, Redskins
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 – Brandon Aubrey, Cowboys.

Brandon Aubrey had to put together an incredible season to displace Justin Tucker from this award. Aubrey connected on 36-of-38 field goals, including a ridiculous 9-of-9 from 50-plus.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Justin Tucker, Ravens
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 – Xavier Gipson, Jets.

No one scored more than one return touchdown this past season. Gipson had a score, and it came on the opening Monday night game of the year. The Jets were down in the dumps when they saw Aaron Rodgers suffer a brutal injury, but Gipson gave the team and fans some hope by taking a punt back to the house in overtime.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Keisean Nixon, Packers
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 – Puka Nacua, WR, Rams.

I’m inclined to favor quarterbacks over other positions if there are multiple great rookie campaigns, so C.J. Stroud nearly won this award. However, Puka Nacua broke all rookie receiving records and was able to finish fourth among all receivers in yardage. Such a historic rookie season can’t be ignored.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Garrett Wilson, WR, Jets
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: , 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 – Will Anderson, DE, Texans.

The Texans can at least get one rookie of the year award. Will Anderson was as great as advertised as the first defensive player off the board during the 2023 NFL Draft. He was able to generate lots of pressure on the quarterback and vastly improve the team’s previously poor run defense.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Sauce Gardner, CB, Jets
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 – Kyren Williams, RB, Rams.

Kyren Williams was given 35 carries and nine catches across 10 games in his previous season. He didn’t seem like he was anything special. Somehow, Williams transformed into one of the top running backs in the NFL. Williams was able to rush for 100 yards against even the top-ranked run defenses in the NFL, and he was also a great threat in the passing game.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Jalen Hurts, QB, Eagles
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 – Jabrill Peppers, S, Patriots.

Maybe this shouldn’t count because Bill Belichick was involved, but Jabrill Peppers transformed from a former first-round bust journeyman to an elite safety in Belichick’s scheme. Peppers did everything for the Patriots, who had a terrific defense in the second half of the year.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Kamren Curl, S, Redskins
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) – Russell Wilson, QB, Broncos.

Many were outraged when the Broncos benched Russell Wilson for what they assumed to be financial reasons. Anyone who felt this way did not watch Wilson play all year and only looked at his stats instead. Wilson compiled most of his numbers in garbage time. When most games were in question, Wilson would often struggle. And after Wilson was benched, there wasn’t much of a drop-off from him to Jarrett Stidham, which surprised no one who was actually paying attention.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Deshaun Watson, QB, Browns
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 – Baker Mayfield, QB, Buccaneers.

Everyone penciled in Damar Hamlin as this award winner, but Hamlin was inactive most games. Baker Mayfield, on the other hand, was discarded by the Panthers in 2022. He looked like a huge bust, but the Buccaneers were able to revive his career. Mayfield rewarded them by taking the team to a second-round playoff appearance.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants
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 – Jake Browning, QB, Bengals.

No one gave Jake Browning much of a chance when he entered the NFL. He was an undrafted free agent, after all. The Vikings signed him, but quickly discarded him. He was then moved to and from the practice squad a grand total of 22 times dating back to 2021. Browning, however, was finally given a shot in the wake of Joe Burrow’s injury and made the most of it. He didn’t win every game, but he led all quarterbacks in completion percentage among those with 100 or more attempts. Browning deserves credit for working hard behind the scenes and ultimately defying everyone who didn’t think he could make it.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Detroit Lions
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 – Lions fans.

Many Lions fans weren’t alive the last time their team won a playoff game prior to 2023. Yet, they continued to root for this team year in and year out. They were finally rewarded with not one, but two postseason victories.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Geno Smith, Seahawks
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 – Tyreek Hill, WR, Dolphins (Flip Selfie).

Tyreek Hill is an amazing athlete. Of course, everyone knows that by what he does during gameplay, but we’ve gotten a glimpse of his non-football abilities after his touchdowns over the years, as Hill often does a backflip while landing perfectly on his feet. Hill took it to another level this past season, grabbing someone’s cell phone and then taking a selfie of himself while doing a backflip upon scoring a touchdown versus Carolina.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Jordan Akins, TE, Texans (Draft Ruiner)
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 – David Tepper, Panthers.

There’s nothing worse for an NFL team than a meddlesome owner. And there’s no worse meddlesome owner than David “Axe” Tepper, who proclaimed that he knew more about football than the football people he employs despite making his money on bank stocks in the past. When the Panthers traded up to No. 1 ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft, the coaches all assumed that they would be drafting C.J. Stroud. That’s whom they wanted, after all. Tepper, however, declared that he wanted Bryce Young instead, which turned out to be an incredibly foolish decision. If that wasn’t bad enough, Tepper intentionally spilled drinks on some Jaguars fans during a December game. Tepper clearly is in over his head. If he wants to do what’s best for the Panthers, he’ll take a giant step back and stop interferring.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Zach Wilson, Jets
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 – Arthur Smith, Falcons

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.

Arthur Smith’s personnel mismangement was so terrible last year that is spawned jokes about him being unaware of who Bijan Robinson was because he didn’t watch the 2023 NFL Draft. It’s unclear why, but Smith thought it was a good idea to give lesser talents like Tyler Allgeier, Cordarrelle Patterson and Jonnu Smith more touches than his more-talented starters in numerous games. At one point, it was fair to wonder if the mustache on Smith’s face was an alien parasite draining the brain power of Smith.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Brandon Staley, Chargers
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.

There are lots of great candidates for this award. The Jets and Patriots gave Allen Lazard and JuJu Smith-Schuster, respectively, $11 million per season. The Raiders handed Jimmy Garoppolo a $67.5 million contract for three years, only to see him get benched after half a season. The Giants, however, take home the prize for the worst deal because they gave Daniel Jones $160 million over four seasons. Jones struggled for half of the year before suffering an injury. He was then outplayed by Tyrod Taylor.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Derek Carr, QB, Raiders
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 – Mac Jones, QB, Patriots.

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.

Mac Jones was benched for making one too many stupid plays. One such stupid play occurred at the end of the Raiders-Patriots game. New England, as a three-point underdog, trailed by two. Jones tried to connect on a deep pass to DeVante Parker, but his receiver dropped the ball. Jones then held the ball too long in the pocket on the next play despite standing in the end zone. He took a safety, dropping the margin to four. This prompted a Pick of the Month loss.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Miles Sanders, Eagles
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 – Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers.

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

Austin Ekeler was a first-round fantasy pick in every format. He had a brilliant performance against the Dolphins to begin the year, but failed to register more than 67 rushing yards in any game after that. He also scored just six touchdowns and wasn’t used as much as a receiver as he had been in the past.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints
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 – DeMeco Ryans, Texans.

Bill O’Brien turned the Texans into the laughingstock of the NFL. It took Houston to undo all of the damage O’Brien caused, but it finally happened during the first year of the DeMeco Ryans era. Despite coaching a young team with no playoff experience, Ryans got Houston into the playoffs by prevailing in a must-win game over the Colts and then he followed that up by upsetting the Browns in the opening round.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Brian Daboll, Giants
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 – Dave Canales, Buccaneers.

The Buccaneers were supposed to finish with one of the worst records in the NFL. While they were able to luck their way into some wins, the primary reason why they won the NFC South was Dave Canales’ insane coaching. Canales took an offense comprised of a failed, journeyman quarterback, an aging receiving corps, a struggling offensive line, and an ineffective rusher as the lead back, and transformed the unit into one that finished around the top 10 of offensive EPA. Canales did similar work with Geno Smith and the Seahawks the previous year, so this was no fluke.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Jonathan Gannon, Eagles
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) – Christian McCaffrey, RB, 49ers.

No one is more ahead of everyone at his position than Christian McCaffrey. The top running back in the NFL by a mile, McCaffrey was a legitimate MVP candidate for most of the season. The loss to the Ravens on Christmas squashed that possibility, but McCaffrey should still be acknowledged as the best player in the NFL.

Past Winners of this Award:
2022: Micah Parsons, DE/OLB, Cowboys
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

Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

NFL Picks - Feb. 12