We have reached the midway point of the 2022 season, which makes it the perfect time to look back at the performance of the Cleveland Browns. Coming off of the bye week, the Browns are preparing to start their back-half campaign against the Miami Dolphins this Sunday.
Before we look completely forward to the Dolphins and the rest of the season, we take a moment to reflect on the first half. One of the more fun ways to do this is to assign midseason awards to different players on the roster.
Who wins Most Valuable Player? What about Rookie of the Year or Most Improved Player? Find out now!
Should Browns have interest in former Raiders first rounder Johnathan Abram?
Offensive Player of the Year: RB Nick Chubb
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24). Mandatory Credit: David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports
There is no surprise here as running back Nick Chubb is the Browns’ best offensive player through eight games this season. Chubb is second in the league in rushing, trailing Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry by just 29 yards. On the season, Chubb has already racked up 841 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Browns, averaging over five yards per carry.
He is on pace for the most touches in his career this season, he is thriving every time he touches the football, and he has been a consistent force for an offense that is running the football at the second-most efficient rate in the NFL. Chubb has taken the pressure off of a passing attack featuring a backup quarterback, and expect him to finish the season with career-highs across the board.
Defensive Player of the Year: DE Myles Garrett
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Is this even a question?
On a defense full of underachievers, Myles Garrett continues to prove week in and week out that he is an alien. We may never see a player like Garrett ever again.
He is PFF’s highest-graded player, firmly in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year race, and has stacked super-human efforts week in and week out for the Browns. In just seven games this season, missing one week due to his car accident, Garrett has already racked up 7.5 sacks in that span while leading the NFL in double-team rate. Regardless of routinely taking on two blockers, Garrett has the second-highest pass rush win rate in the league.
Double team rate at Edge (x) by Pass Rush Win Rate at Edge (y), updated through last night.
-In Chubb, Dolphins traded for No. 3 player in PRWR at Edge.
-Just one sack for Arnold Ebiketie, but PRWR is encouraging sign for rookie. pic.twitter.com/Jdp5izB8s8
— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) November 4, 2022
It is a treat to watch Garrett work and I look forward to seeing how he attacks the back-half of this 2022 campaign.
Rookie of the Year: CB Martin Emerson
Cleveland Browns cornerback Martin Emerson Jr. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
The Browns have had solid output from their rookies this season despite waiting until the third round to make a selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. They have even seen a great deal of production out of their seventh round pick Isaiah Thomas. Alex Wright and David Bell have also seen a significant amount of snaps already, but there is a clear best rookie thus far.
Due to a training camp injury to cornerback Greedy Williams, rookie Martin Emerson has been getting starter reps from day one. With the Browns playing in the nickel over 70 percent of the time, they kick Greg Newsome inside and field Emerson on the boundary with frequency.
And he has done more than hold his own thus far through his rookie season. This also comes off of a performance where he strapped Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins as well. Sure, he is a bit stiffer and does not have a ton of long speed, but Emerson is a fit in this scheme that runs a ton of Cover 3 and quarters.
With Williams set to depart and A.J. Green set for Exclusive Rights Free Agency, Emerson is going to be a mainstay on the field for the Browns for years to come.
Most Improved Player: TE David Njoku
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
The breakout for tight end David Njoku has been two years in the making. Over the past two seasons before this, Njoku was shelved behind Austin Hooper, but his production was stable over those two seasons as he has averaged about 12 yards per reception for three years (including 2022).
The only difference is a continued increase in looks. Going from 29 targets in 2020 to 53 targets a year ago, to now on pace for 96 looks, Njoku has made the most of his opportunity. There is a real chance he finishes the season with 1,000 yards receiving, a mark only four tight ends hit a year ago as well.
His development as a blocker since the arrival of Kevin Stefanski has been tremendous to watch. Njoku is without a doubt one of the better blocking tight ends in the NFL. He wiped his drop issues off of the face of the earth as well.
Staying steady, consistent, and quiet over the past two seasons, Njoku has become an all-around and top-shelf tight end in 2022. He has lived up to his new contract he signed this offseason.
Comeback Player of the Year: QB Jacoby Brissett
Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Jacoby Brissett is playing the best football of his career in 2022. That is not an oversimplification, exaggeration, or hyperbole. Through eight games this season, Brissett is putting up a legit top-10 argument under center with the Browns.
The Browns have a top-10 passing attack in the NFL, Brissett ranks ninth in DVOA, seventh in QBR, and has played with poise. As a journeyman backup quarterback throughout his career, Brissett’s level of play has been a pleasant surprise this season. And has put the backup quarterback in a position to cash in and land another contract this offseason as a bridge quarterback somewhere else.
After returning to a backup role over the past two seasons, Brissett has stepped in valiantly for the Browns.
Most Valuable Player: RB Nick Chubb
Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24). Nfl Cincinnati Bengals At Cleveland Browns Oct 31 0017
This was truly a toss-up between both Chubb and Garrett. They are both top players at their position in the NFL, are both on pace for All-Pro seasons, and on pace for substantial NFL awards as well.
Garrett plays a more valuable position, is a firm candidate to win Defensive Player of the Year, and is pound-for-pound the best player on this team. There is a real argument that Garrett is the most valuable player on this roster.
However, points win games and nobody has carried this team offensively as Chubb has. He’s the best running back in the league (thanks for the confirmation Derrick Henry), already has double-digit touchdowns, and is in the running for the rushing title as he currently sits second in the league in yards.
In a season where a backup quarterback has started every game thus far, the importance of Chubb has been undeniable offensively. It is close, but there is no way this midseason award cannot go to the star running back in Cleveland.