The 2022 NFL draft class only had one quarterback picked in the first round and, weirdly, the last pick in the draft was the best quarterback of them all in Year 1. With only the Super Bowl remaining in the 2022 season, it's time to create awards to hand to deserving first-year pros.
Before I begin, I'll provide my picks for the official rookie awards.
Now, let's get to the full list, people.
Let's start with a half-speed layup to begin. I firmly believed Purdy's situation was absolutely vital to his hit-the-ground-running success as a rookie in San Francisco, there were plenty of impressive movements -- and overall quarterbacking play -- from Mr. Irrelevant with the 49ers.
He moved away from pressure well beyond his years. He threw with mostly pinpoint accuracy at the short-to-intermediate level and rarely made bad decisions with the football. Finishing with over eight yards per attempt in a debut NFL season is outstanding for any rookie quarterback, irrespective of the situation. Purdy is the easy winner here.
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Best Offensive Lineman
The Seahawks tackles -- Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas -- had fantastic rookie campaigns that were well documented. You know who else had an outstanding season, by rookie offensive tackle standards, and didn't get nearly as much publicity? Yes, Braxton Jones, the fifth-round pick from Southern Utah who played on an island offense blocking for Justin Fields in 2022.
Now, from an even advanced-stat perspective, Jones wasn't great. He surrendered 40 pressures on 542 pass-blocking snaps. However, there's so much more strain on an offensive tackle when he's protecting a young, scramble-happy quarterback. Jones did a fine job dealing with veteran rushers in legitimate one-on-one scenarios, and he consistently moved people in the run game.
Best Pass Rusher
Hutchinson took some time to acclimate to the pro game, then he started rushing the quarterback like he was back in the Big Ten. From Week 7 on, Hutchinson registered multiple pressures in every single game throughout the rest of the season, and that included seven games with three or more pressures.
Overall, the No. 2 overall pick only had one game with one pressure or less. Now, he wasn't Aldon Smith, Nick Bosa, or Micah Parsons 2.0 -- rookie first-round rushers who were immediately elite -- but Hutchinson's hustle and overall pass-rushing talent were on full display in Year 1 on the Fighting Dan Campbells.
Most Reliable Linebacker
Rodriguez was a very reliable tackler and registered 87 of them on just 611 snaps with eight tackles for loss, and he only allowed one touchdown in his coverage area. He defeated blocks well in the box and was not a liability in coverage. Plenty of range to his game too.
Biggest Day 3 Gem
Woolen was a ballhawk from the jump in the NFL. He had a pass breakup in his first professional game, then went on a berserk four-game interception streak that started in late September.
Woolen didn't appear super polished on film and didn't face top-tier talent at UTSA, but his ridiculous size and sub 4.30 speed along with outrageous explosiveness outweighed any lack of polish in importance on a field as a rookie. Woolen tied for the NFL-lead with six picks and registered a whopping 16 pass breakups.
Most Valuable Undrafted Free Agent
Kohou came out of nowhere and was a pesky, versatile defensive back on Miami's defense all season. He had 10 pass breakups and a pick along with five tackles for loss and 72 total tackles. He played inside and out without any major dip in production regardless of where he was aligned.
Kohou played his college ball at Texas A&M-Commerce and NFL spotlight was clearly not too bright for him.
Best Out-Of-Nowhere Season
Allgeier had a 1,000-yard rookie season. Unless you're a Falcons fan or had Allgeier on your fantasy team, you probably didn't know that. And it wasn't a flimsy 1,000-yard campaign. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry and averaged a higher yards-after-contact-per-rush average (3.58) than -- ready for this? -- Dameon Pierce, Isiah Pacheco, and Kenneth Walker.
The BYU products forced missed tackle total (51) trailed only Pierce among rookie rushers.
Day 3 Pick Who Lived Up To The Hype
During training camp, Pacheco got plenty of buzz as a seventh-round pick. But starting his NFL career behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon made it seem like it'd be somewhat unlikely Pacheco would get enough opportunity to showcases his explosiveness and overall talent in Year 1.
CEH got hurt, and while McKinnon was productive as a receiver, Pacheco stepped into the No. 1 role in Kansas City and is still thriving. Heading into the Super Bowl, he's averaging 5.0 yards per carry and has had plenty of big runs, busting through tackles to move the chains for the Chiefs offense.