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Cardinals Awards For 2022

Budda Baker, James Conner, J.J. Watt top list of honorees


The 2022 season fell far short of expectations. The Cardinals finished with a 4-13 record, including losses in each of their last seven games. Despite the results, some key players (and plays) were recognized in's annual end-of-season awards, as voted by a 27-member panel.

Offensive Player of the Year: James Conner (14 votes)

Others receiving votes: Kelvin Beachum (5), DeAndre Hopkins (4), Hollywood Brown (2), Kyler Murray (1), Billy Price (1)

Conner's 2022 statistics: 183 carries for 782 yards and 7 touchdowns; 46 catches for 300 yards and 1 touchdown

Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) during the 2022 regular season game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022 in Glendale, AZ.

Voter takes on Conner:

"Dependable, passionate and leaves nothing in the tank."- Tim DeLaney, vice president of digital content and creative

"Even though he did not have the same season as 2021, he was solid and a sure thing every time he had the ball in his hands. A machine." - Luis Hernandez, Spanish radio play-by-play

"James Conner carried the load of the running game without a true complementary running back. He finished with seven rushing touchdowns in the 13 games he played and broke the franchise record for most rushing touchdowns in a player's first 25 games with the team. Conner might not be the most elusive back in the game, but his strength and sheer willpower to wear down a defense is what makes him such an integral part of this offense." - Dani Sureck, reporter/producer

Defensive Player of the Year: J.J. Watt (21 votes)

Others receiving votes: Budda Baker (5), Zaven Collins (1)

Watt's 2022 statistics: 39 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, 25 quarterback hits, 7 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery

Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt (99) during the 2022 regular season game between the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023 in Santa Clara, CA.

Voter takes on Watt:

"J.J. was a one-man wrecking crew, generating the majority of our impact plays on the season and disrupting offenses through the middle. He was the only player consistently able to put pressure on the quarterback, leading the team in sacks by a large margin despite playing in the interior of the line. He played just as well in the run game leading the team in TFLs by a large margin as well." - Patrick Smith, coordinator of digital platforms

"J.J. Watt's availability, leadership, consistency and productivity superseded all others, especially in the last season of his Hall Of Fame career. Although Budda Baker also had a great year, the special season that J.J. had was legendary – right down to his last game, where he recorded career sacks 113.5 and 114.5." - Ron Wolfley, radio analyst

"He's a legend." - Kevin Wang, video content producer

Newcomer of the Year: Hollywood Brown (19 votes)

Others receiving votes: Will Hernandez (3), Trey McBride (1), Ben Niemann (1), Myjai Sanders (1), Lecitus Smith (1), Cameron Thomas (1)

Browns' 2022 statistics: 67 catches for 709 yards and 3 touchdowns

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown (2) during the 2022 regular season game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022 in Charlotte, NC.

Voter takes on Brown:

"Led the team in receptions in Year One, not a bad way to start his career here in the desert." - Mike Chavez, director of creative services

"Marquise was definitely a much-needed weapon for the Cardinals, and he came in clutch many times this year." - Caitlyn Epes, team photographer

"Self-explanatory. No other newcomer provided anywhere near the spark Hollywood provided when he was out on the field. From his one-handed catch against the Raiders to any of his three touchdowns on the season Hollywood continued to live up to his name making plays on the big screen." - Quentin McCorvey, social media specialist

"I think he proved a lot of people wrong by being a reliable pass catcher. Known as a deep-ball threat, he was rarely targeted deep (nobody was) but still was productive on short and medium routes. I think he will wind up being very much worth the first-round pick the Cardinals gave up to get him." - Dave Pasch, radio play-by-play

Play of the Year: Byron Murphy's walk-off fumble return touchdown (15)

Others receiving votes: Kyler Murray's 20-second 2-point conversion (7), Marco Wilson's pick-6 flip into the end zone (3), DeAndre Hopkins' one-handed touchdown at Minnesota (1), David Blough's 77-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green at San Francisco (1)

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (7) runs back for the winning touchdown after a fumble recovery during overtime of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

Voter takes on Murphy's walk-off touchdown:

"From budding star Isaiah Simmons laying the wood on Hunter Renfrow to knock the ball loose just for Byron Murphy to scoop and score. This play exemplified the bright future the defense has in front of itself." - Kyle Dorony, videographer/editor

"This is why you fight to the end; anything can happen. After a roller coaster of emotions to reach overtime, this play completely reversed the narrative's outcome to secure the first win of the season. Definitely a play you can't just watch once." - Ethan Hajas, graphic designer

"The best play of the year. Talk about an electrifying game with the perfect most explosive ending possible. It's overtime, the Raiders are driving the field getting into field goal range to win the game. No one expected what came next. I remember telling Luis (Hernandez) if they complete another pass this game is probably over. Next thing you know we are screaming and celebrating like it's a soccer game. I've never seen anything like it. I forgot I was calling a game because of how shocking and improbable this game ending was. I will never forget that play." - Jose Romero, Spanish radio analyst

Beyond the Box Score Player of the Year: Kelvin Beachum (13)

Others receiving votes: Budda Baker (4), Zaven Collins (4), Zach Allen (2), Robbie Anderson (1), Zach Ertz (1), Dennis Gardeck (1), Billy Price (1)

Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum (68) during the 2022 regular season game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022 in Glendale, AZ.

"Kelvin is a difference maker on and off the field. Amazing man on the field and in the community." - Sam Hough, producer/editor of marking & game entertainment

"He fought through injuries to start every single game this season on a beat up O-line. He was the one constant on offense. More than all of that, his leadership and mentorship go far beyond the boxscore and can only be measured by how his dependability and honesty affected his teammates in a positive way." - Jody Jackson, Bally Sports Arizona

"Beachum was not only the last man standing on a banged-up offensive line, he was also the last man standing on the entire offense. To start each game as an offensive lineman in a 17-game season is notable. So is the steady leadership that Beachum provided his teammates." - Jim Omohundro, broadcasting senior manager

"Maxx Williams is another guy that would work here, but to me, Beach was that man. As a tackle, he'll have no stats. But he managed to be out there every week, even when he was sore and often injured, to make sure he could play for his teammates. His presence in the locker room and as a team spokesman truly took him well beyond the box score but no less valuable of a contribution." - Darren Urban, director of editorial content

Most Valuable Cardinal: Budda Baker (20)

Others receiving votes: J.J. Watt (6), Dennis Gardeck (1)

Baker's 2022 statistics: 111 tackles, 2 interceptions, 7 passes defensed, 2 quarterback hits, 1 forced fumble

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker (3) during the 2022 regular season game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA.

"Budda's leadership and work ethic was second to none this year." - Daniel Adams, manager of creative content

"Considered the heart and soul of the Cardinals for a reason. Budda brings the energy on and off the field and has become our main leader and identity of this team. His stats speak for themselves but while doing it on a sprained ankle just exemplifies his mentality that he's willing to do whatever it takes to win games." - Graysen Choy, manager of content production

"The man everyone should tell the kids to look up to. Be like Budda and you'll be just fine in life. Heart, work ethic, effort, cerebral, and team-first mentality are among a few of his great traits." - Jacob Ortiz, producer of broadcast/digital content

"Budda is the glue of the Cardinals defense, providing speed, energy, and leadership." - Emma Tani, manager of digital content

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