To quote the famous catchphrase of the legendary Bruce Buffer prior to the beginning of many elite level sporting events in our lifetimes,
Time for the BTSC community to make your voices heard by voting for the most deserving candidates whose strong training camps and preseason performances have warranted consideration for the prestigious Redman Award, a recognition given annually to a "diamond in the rough" performer who has captivated the imaginations of Steelers Nation.
Your vote in the attached poll will help decide the 2022 Redman Award winner.
First things first, let's take a quick look at the candidates.
Cameron's little brothers selection was initially considered to be little more than obvious nepotism, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. Connor Heyward has proven to be as versatile as advertised, displaying the well rounded overall skill set of a old-school baller. Currently listed as a tight end, his future appears to be at H-back. He could conceivably fill three roles on the final roster depth chart; RB3, FB2, and TE3. Solid sixth round selection.
Robinson was a seventh round selection who has went from a "Who?" to a "Why not?" Robinson immediately became the talk of training camp with his aggressive demeanor and instincts for the position, a quality currently in short supply up and down the Steelers inside linebacker depth chart. His attacking mentality has been evident in the preseason games as well. Robinson enjoyed varying degrees of success in the three preseason games, looking like an inexperienced rookie one minute, then a punishing tackler the next. He definitely has potential, but will it be enough to earn a roster spot?
Warren arrived at the Steel City as just another camp body for the majority of the fanbase, probably because he was an undrafted rookie free agent, plus the fact fellow undrafted rookie running back Mataeo Durant received the largest signing bonus for a undrafted player in franchise history. Durant was the priority, while Warren was the afterthought. Warren quickly changed that narrative. Warren has looked strong and decisive throughout the preseason, when he wasn't being limited by the Steelers offensive line's subpar performances. I believe he has done enough to earn a spot, but only Tomlin's opinion matters.
Vaughns is the latest in a long line of undrafted free agent receivers seemingly pulled off the trash heap, prior to enjoying an surprisingly productive preseason for the Steelers. Vaughns isn't particularly swift or elusive, but he does have a hard to explain knack for getting open and making timely catches. He made key receptions in all three preseason contests. He makes the type of plays that move the chains. He even received a rep as a punt returner Sunday. That's a positive development, because his lack of special teams contributions was killing his chances at a roster spot.
In keeping with traditional, many of the BTSC staff will share their selection, plus a short explanation supporting their pick.
However, in the end, our knowledgeable BTSC community will make the final selection. We BTSC staffers are here to provide relevant information needed to make informed decisions.
This is a good class of candidates, but if I had to vote for just one, I’m going with Tyler Vaughns. As Shannon pointed out, he’s not particularly fast or swift, but he sure does know how to get open. He’s also pretty decent after getting open and making the catch, as evidenced by his game-winning touchdown against the Seahawks in Week 1 of the preseason.
This award pre-dates me here at BTSC, so maybe I still don’t have a full grasp on it. But based on my understanding, this is a two-man race. I feel the Isaac Redman Award goes to a player that comes on to the scene in the biggest way you don’t expect. If people think someone is going to win the award before the Steelers even get to training camp, to me it’s no longer an unexpected result. For this reason, I narrowed it down to the choices of Jaylen Warren and Tyler Vaughns because they weren’t expected to make a push for the roster. I’m ultimately going with Jaylen Warren because I believe he is on the Steelers 53-man roster after starting off OTAs as “the other UDFA running back not named Mataeo Durant.”
Bryan Anthony Davis
Mark Robinson has a nose for the ball carrier. Maybe it’s because the Ole Miss product once was a running back. Despite struggling in his first preseason game, No. 93 made the big play to give the Steelers a chance to win. Then in the last two games, Robinson showed up. Is he ready to start? No. Typically, I like an UDFA for this award, but Mark Robinson seems like the long shot that doesn’t know it?
I’ve been riding high on the Tyler Vaughns train throughout Camp and the Preseason. His situational awareness at the catch point stands out, as he is often able to make the first tackler miss and turn upfield for extra yardage. Although Vaughns doesn’t boast elite speed or size, he makes plays. What more can you ask from a football player? He has an uphill battle for a roster spot because he doesn’t provide much as a ““teamer,” but based on my observations, Vaughns has been the team’s 5th best receiver in camp. I’d love to see this young man make the 53-man roster and continue his development. All the candidates are worthy of consideration, but Vaughns is my pick this year.
Kyle Chrise (What Yinz Talkin’ Bout)
He’s become such a Cinderella story today, it’s easy to forget that 15 weeks ago Mark Robinson didn’t exist. No Wikipedia page. No pre-draft scouting reports. He was practically Ungoogleable. He’s barely played the position, and now he’s knocking on the door of a 53-man roster as a 7th round rookie. Mark’s story is playing out like a reboot to “Invincible.” Here’s to Pittsburgh’s new Vince Papale.
It’s not uncommon for fans to suggest that an NFL player switch positions. We hear it all the time at BTSC. Why don’t the Steelers kick this edge player inside to the Buck, or convert this wide receiver into a corner? There’s a reason these types of switches rarely succeed, however: it’s hard. Far harder than most people think. The challenge of learning and executing a new position at an elite level amongst the greatest competition in the world is daunting, to say the least.
That’s why Mark Robinson’s story is so fascinating. When I first read the Steelers had drafted a linebacker who had been playing running back in college through his junior season, I immediately scoffed. Please, I thought. This guy has no shot. And yet, here we are. Not only is Robinson going to make the roster, he looks like a player whose instincts, athleticism and physicality could one day make him a starter on the vaunted Steelers defense. That’s a story worth rallying behind. If the Redman Award is about long shots, Mark Robinson should be the guy.
Now it’s your turn, vote for your Isaac Redman Award winner in the poll below:
Which worthy candidate receives your vote to be the 2022 Redman Award winner?
This poll is closed
A = Connor Heyward
B = Mark Robinson
C = Jaylen Warren
D = Tyler Vaughns