Colts’ year-end awards from 2022 season

The 2022 season couldn’t get much worse for the Indianapolis Colts, who earned their way into the No. 4 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

While the majority of the campaign was a massive disappointment, there were some bright spots. It was overwhelmed by a struggling offense and a circus regarding the coaching situation, but there were some moments of optimism.

It’s going to be a busy offseason for an organization looking to get back on track. It starts with finding a new head coach—a process that started almost immediately after the Week 18 loss to the Houston Texans.

You can follow along for the latest updates with the head coach search via our tracker.

The Colts Wire staff pulled together to bring you the 2022 year-end awards for the Colts:

Most Valuable Player

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Kevin Hickey: LB Zaire Franklin
Meghan Hall: LB Zaire Franklin
Cody Manning: LB Zaire Franklin

This was a unanimous vote from our staff. Franklin was one of the biggest surprises from the 2022 season as he stepped up in a massive way. He continued his role as a captain and leader in the locker room while improving his game drastically. He broke the single-season franchise record for tackles (167), which was set by Shaquille Leonard in 2018.

Offensive Player of the Year

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Kevin: WR Michael Pittman Jr.
Meghan: WR Michael Pittman Jr.
Cody: WR Michael Pittman Jr.

There weren’t many options considering how bad the offense performed this season, but Pittman Jr. was about as steady as could be. He was one reception shy of being the young Colts player ever to reach 100 receptions in a season, but the lack of consistency at quarterback kept him from reaching his ceiling.

Defensive Player of the Year

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Kevin: DT Grover Stewart
Meghan: DT Grover Stewart
Cody: DT DeForest Buckner

It’s hard to be wrong either way. Though Zaire Franklin and Stephon Gilmore would also be deserving, Stewart and Buckner were the engines of the entire unit. Stewart has grown into an elite run-stopping defensive tackle while Buckner continued to play at a high level despite dealing with a few injuries throughout the seaosn.

Special Teams Player of the Year

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Kevin: LB Grant Stuard
Meghan: K Chase McLaughlin
Cody: LB E.J. Speed

All three players are worthy of this award. Stuard was my selection because he was a constant force on special teams, leading the way with a team-high 11 tackles. McLaughlin was a monster, setting a new single-season franchise record for converted field goals of 50 or more yards. Meanwhile, Speed led all Colts players in special teams snaps and was third on the team with eight special teams tackles.

Comeback Player of the Year

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Kevin: WR Parris Campbell
Meghan: WR Parris Campbell
Cody: WR Parris Campbell

This was an easy one. Few players deserve this more than Campbell, who set a single-season career high with 63 receptions and 623 yards. The inconsistency of the quarterback position made it difficult for Campbell to truly breakout, but he was a solid complementary piece in the passing game.

Most Improved Player of the Year

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Kevin: DL Dayo Odeyingbo
Meghan: DL Dayo Odeyingbo
Cody: DL Dayo Odeyingbo

The second-year pass rusher really hit his stride during the second half of the campaign. He finished the season with 5.0 sacks, 3.5 of which came in the final month of the season. He also posted 31 tackles (18 solo), five tackles for loss and 11 quarterback hits.

Rookie of the Year

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Kevin: S Rodney Thomas II
Meghan: S Rodney Thomas II
Cody: S Rodney Thomas II

Another pretty easy selection. The Colts had some intriguing rookies show out this season, but none did it more than Thomas. The seventh-round pick wasn’t even expected to have a major impact, but he carved out a starting role and led the team with four interceptions.

Biggest Disappointment

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Kevin: QB Matt Ryan
Meghan: QB Matt Ryan
Cody: QB Matt Ryan

Not all of the offensive woes were due to Ryan, but he certainly didn’t keep the offense above water. The veteran was supposed to come in and give the Colts a viable option for the next few seasons. Now, it’s likely he played his last game in a Colts uniform after just one campaign.

Assistant Coach of the Year

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Kevin: Bubba Ventrone
Meghan: Bubba Ventrone
Cody: Bubba Ventrone

Though defensive coordinator Gus Bradley also deserves praise, Ventrone’s special teams unit never flinched. He had a clear command of the unit, and many were shocked when he didn’t get an interview for the interim head coach role. Ventrone’s special teams unit ranked inside the top-10 for the third consecutive season.

Biggest Surprise

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Kevin: Hiring Jeff Saturday
Meghan: Hiring Jeff Saturday
Cody: Hiring Jeff Saturday

The unprecedented move of hiring Saturday midseason in the span of a 12-hour conversation takes the cake. Jim Irsay made an incredibly irrational move to hire Saturday rather than look for viable candidates after Frank Reich was fired. What came to pass was an eight-game stretch of pure embarrassment and failures at a historical level.

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire