The 2022 season has come to an end for the Cleveland Browns after a disappointing conclusion in their loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. With no postseason to play for, however, we are safe to go ahead and hand out team awards now rather than wait a few more weeks. It was a season of disappointment for the Browns in 2022.
They are in the midst of a defensive coordinator search, they may still move on from their special teams coordinator in Mike Priefer, and they are sure to turn over a good chunk of their defensive roster in free agency as well. However, what were some bright spots to use as a foundation to build on in 2023? Here are the team awards for the Browns.
Comeback Player of the Year: QB Jacoby Brissett
Browns QB Jacoby Brissett. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
This award could have gone to right tackle Jack Conklin, who recovered from two significant injuries a year ago to rack up a top-10 pass-blocking grade in 2022. However, one of the few bright spots in all of 2022 for the Browns was quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
After spending the last two seasons as a backup quarterback for both the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins, Brissett got his chance to start again for 11 games. And he may have just played himself into another big contract this offseason as a bridge quarterback for a team that drafts a rookie.
If given a 17-game sample size, Brissett would have set career marks across the board and has been praised as an even better teammate in Cleveland. Without a doubt, Brissett will be missed by the Browns next season.
Most Improved Player of the Year: C Ethan Pocic
Browns C Ethan Pocic. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
This award also had a handful of contenders.
It could have gone to wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, tight end David Njoku, or even safety Grant Delpit who blew up onto the scene for the Browns down the stretch. However, no player (perhaps in the whole league) saw as significant of a jump from 2021 to 2022 than center Ethan Pocic.
Never reaching the heights of a standout performer in five seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, Pocic then went on to play like a top-five center after being thrust into a starting gig due to the injury to Nick Harris in the first drive of the preseason. Now entering free agency, Pocic has the chance to capitalize either in Cleveland or elsewhere.
Pocic was snubbed from a Pro Bowl as Mitch Morse has more name recognition, but he deserved to get the nod for his performance in 2022.
Rookie of the Year: CB Martin Emerson Jr.
Browns CB Martin Emerson. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
This one is a no-brainer.
While Alex Wright was forced into starting action due to injuries and the overall ineptitude of Jadeveon Clowney, he was fed to the wolves too soon. There is just not another rookie on the roster who made the impact that cornerback Martin Emerson Jr. did.
While he had a rough outing against George Pickens and the Pittsburgh Steelers to end the season, Emerson Jr. found success locking down Pro Bowlers like Terry McLaurin and Mike Evans, and even won the starting job in nickel sets from day one over A.J. Green and Greedy Williams.
As Delpit, Denzel Ward, and Greg Newsome II hit their stride down the stretch, the future is bright for the Cleveland secondary pending their defensive coordinator hire.
Offensive Player of the Year: RB Nick Chubb
Browns RB Nick Chubb. Mandatory Credit: David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports
From here on out, these awards are going to be straightforward and obvious as the Browns had more disappointment ts than standouts. Now getting to Offensive Player of the Year in Cleveland, how could it go to anyone other than running back Nick Chubb?
Running backs tend to regress as they get older, but the 27-year-old Chubb instead put up his best season in 2022, hitting career marks across the board. Running for over 300 carries for the first time in his career, Chubb eclipsed 1,500 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns on the season for the Browns.
He finished third in the league in rushing behind just Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders and Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans. He fell just 13 yards shy of the second-place slot, and 129 yards from the crown in 2022. As he will continue to face lighter boxes into the future, perhaps next year is the year Chubb can run at an efficient enough clip to win the rushing title.
Defensive Player of the Year: DE Myles Garrett
Browns DE Myles Garrett. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Was there any question about Defensive Player of the Year either?
Hitting 16 sacks in back-to-back seasons, Myles Garrett has been graded as the most efficient pass rusher in football for two straight seasons despite seeing the most double teams of any of his peers. Despite a car accident and missing a game, Garrett finished second in the NFL in sacks behind just Nick Bosa of the San Francisco 49ers.
If the league takes a look under the hood and goes off of more than just sack numbers, Garrett deserves the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award over Bosa despite falling 2.5 sacks behind him.
MVP: Nick Chubb
Browns RB Nick Chubb. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Team MVP was a tough decision between Chubb and Garrett, but at the end of the day, the NFL is about scoring points and nobody scored more for the Browns than Chubb. Both players are worthy of the honors for the Browns in 2022, and both will be significant contributors to the team again in 2023 as they look to get back in the postseason.
Chubb over Garrett by a hair.