The 2020 season is only 1/8th complete, but with so many members of the Pittsburgh Steelers that will be nominated awards it is worth looking at the power rankings of some of the NFL honors. The following lists feature the awards where I believe a Pittsburgh Steelers player or coach would be viewed as a top five option. So with out further adieu:
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Chase Claypool - Top 5
Chase Claypool has exploded onto the scene with highlight reel and clutch plays. While other receivers like Jerry Juedy and Ceedee Lamb have marginally better stats, no rookie receiver is making the plays that Chase Claypool has been making.
By no means would Claypool win this award if the season were to end today. The likes of Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, and even Jets tackle Mekhi Becton have had extraordinary starts to the season. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, and Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa could potentially come in and steal this award but as long as they're relegated to the bench they're of no threat.
The most likely player to win this award is Edwards-Helaire, anyone paying attention to this award race needs to keep an eye on the Chiefs running back.
Comeback Player of the Year
Ben Roethlisberger - Award leader*
*If Alex Smith plays in 2020 he will take the award
Ben Roethlisberger looks like he hasn't missed a step following his 2019 elbow surgery. His throws have been crisp, he delivers the ball with great velocity and accuracy, and he’s making great decisions. Ben is on pace for 4,320 yards, 40 touchdowns, and just 8 interceptions. If he can stretch those averages out for an entire season Big Ben might even pick up an MVP vote or two.
The next closest player is Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, but at this moment I really don’t think Newton is a threat. Rob Gronkowski has barely gotten the ball, Matthew Staffords Lions look abysmal, J.J. Watt made his comeback in 2019, and outside of Alex Smith getting some game action I think this would be a for sure lock award for a Steelers player to bring home.
Ben to Diontae is quickly becoming a deadly combination— BTSC Steelers (@btsteelcurtain) September 23, 2020
/NFL & CBS pic.twitter.com/7gCcu0Rojd
Defensive Player of the Year
T.J. Watt - Award leader
T.J. Watt has picked up right where he left off the 2019 season. With 2.5 sacks against the Denver Broncos Watt climbed atop the NFL sack leader board, plus he’s added an interception, and a ton of quarterback pressures to boot! After the outcry from Steelers nation for T.J. Watt only finishing third in defensive player of the year voting I believe voters might be more inclined to witness the great things Watt has been doing on the field.
Joey Bosa, Chase Young, Patrick White, and Jamal Adams names are close behind Watt’s, making this award probably the toughest for a Steelers player to win. A huge positive that T.J. Watt has going for him is that the defense he plays for will most likely go down as the best unit in the NFL, and he is the centrepiece of the group. Watt has the inside track, let’s see what he can do with it.
Walter Peyton Man of the Year / Alan Page Community Award
Cameron Heyward - 1 in 32
Cam Heyward took home the NFLPA’s community MVP award for Week 1. The Community MVP award us handed out to the ‘player who has demonstrated a commitment to making a positive impact in his community.’ Heyward won the award for installing several Little Free Libraries in underserved communities across the Pittsburgh area.
By being named a one of the Community MVPs, Heyward is now becomes eligible for the NFLPA Alan Page Community Award which is considered “the highest honor the NFLPA can award a player.”
Heyward also continues to run his foundation “The Heyward House” which has a number of projects it’s working on. Including the ‘Literacy Project’, ‘COVID response’, ‘free dress clothes for high school boys to wear to interviews, internships, and more’, plus so much more.
The Walter Peyton Man of the Year award is always given to someone deserving of the award, but it’s almost impossible to pick someone who is most deserving, everyone who is nominated for this award really is a winner in their own right and a champion for their community.
What do you think? Will any Pittsburgh Steelers players take home the hardware at seasons end? Let us know down in the comments below and check out the next awards rankings in a few weeks.