The Pittsburgh Steelers have wrapped up the 2022 season and everyone came away with mixed emotions about the outcome. The Steelers missed the playoffs but were one of the best teams in the NFL in the second half of the season. The players and coaches were a big part of that and we recognize the best of them with our postseason awards.
MVP-LB T.J. Watt
Make no mistake when it comes to value, the numbers are all in favor of linebacker T.J. Watt. Last season, when Watt was in the lineups, the Steelers defense allowed 17.2 points per game and the team was 8-2. When Watt was out of the lineup the team gave up 24.9 points per game and their record was 1-6. If that isn’t value, I don’t know what is.
Offensive player of the year-WR George Pickens
There are several guys who could make a claim here including running back Najee Harris and quarterback Kenny Pickett. But what Pickens brought to the offense was something special. The biggest thing this offense was missing was a big-play receiver and Pickens brought it. He caught 52 passes but averaged an impressive 15.4 yards per catch and provided some amazing highlight-reel plays.
Defensive player of the year-S Minkah Fitzpatrick
While Watt is the most valuable player on the team, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick gets the nod as the defensive player of the year. As a safety, he led the league in interceptions with six and was second on the team with 96 tackles. Fitzpatrick also had 11 passes defended.
Newcomer of the year-G James Daniels
The Steelers signed James Daniels as a free agent and he ended up the best offensive lineman on the team. Daniels played 1160 snaps on the season and didn’t allow a single sack. The team’s improvement in the run game was a direct result of the offensive line playing better and it all started in the middle with Daniels.
Coach of the year-OL coach Pat Meyer
One of the biggest factors in the continued growth of the Steelers offense was continuity along the offensive line. You can never undersell how important it is that this starting five played nearly every snap together. Credit for that, along with the line’s improvement goes to offensive line coach Pat Meyer. Why does he get credit for the group staying healthy? His background is as a strength and conditioning coach and you saw that experience in this group.
Rookie of the year-QB Kenny Pickett
Excluding George Pickens who was our offensive player of the year, the top rookie last season was quarterback Kenny Pickett. Pickett took over the starting job at halftime of the team’s Week Three game and never looked back. It took Pickett about three games to settle in but once he did you would have never recognized him as a rookie as he went 7-1 in his final eight starts.