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MVP, Rookie of the Year and more

The New York Giants finished the 2022 regular season with a record of 9-7-1 and clinched their first playoff berth since 2016. They also picked up their first playoff win since Super Bowl XLVI.

But things ended with a “crash landing” as the Giants were dominated by the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round of the NFC Playoffs.

While the NFL announces its official awards at a later date, we’ll be discussing who deserves the MVP, Rookie of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year awards for the Giants in 2022.

MVP: Andrew Thomas

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Although an MVP award typically goes to a quarterback, wide receiver, running back or supremely dominant edge rusher, there is no denying that without Andrew Thomas in 2022, the Giants’ offense would not have been able to function.

Thomas was a complete lock-down left tackle this past season. You didn’t have to worry about him and you rarely heard his name. He was named a Second-Team All-Pro and had the third-highest PFF grade of all NFL offensive tackles.

Others receiving votes: Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley

Offensive Player of the Year: Saquon Barkley

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After several injury-plagued seasons, Saquon Barkley returned to form in 2022.

Early in the season, the Giants used him as the focal point of their offense and perhaps drove him into the ground a bit. But that changed later in the season as Barkley became a piece and not necessarily the whole, which worked to his advantage and the team’s.

When all was said and done, Barkley had gained 1,650 yards from scrimmage (a career-high 1,312 yards rushing) and 10 total touchdowns. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry and was tied for first on the team with 57 receptions.

Others receiving votes: Andrew Thomas

Defensive Player of the Year: Dexter Lawrence

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Was there ever any doubt about who this award would go to? Dexter Lawrence was utterly dominant in 2022 and his impact cannot possibly be overstated.

Lawrence finished the season with 68 tackles (7 for a loss), 28 QB hits, 7.5 sacks, three passes defended, and two forced fumbles. But those numbers only scratch the surface of the impact he had.

Big Dex was voted into the Pro Bowl and named a Second-Team All-Pro.

Comeback Player of the Year: Nick Gates

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Early on, many had pegged Barkley as the Comeback Player of the Year, and rightfully so. He deserves strong consideration and was an option here.

Ultimately, however, offensive lineman Nick Gates gets the nod and it’s quite deserving. He returned after what many believed was a career-ending leg fracture. In fact, it was so bad that there was some concern that Gates would lose his leg altogether.

The fact that Gates, who underwent seven total surgeries, was able to return at all, let alone as quickly as he did, is a testament to his toughness and love of the game.

Others receiving votes: Saquon Barkley

Most Improved Player: Daniel Jones

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Again, this seems like an obvious choice and it was a unanimous vote. Even those of us who believed all along that Daniel Jones would settle in could not have predicted the leap he made in 2022.

Jones not only steadied the ship but became a key part of the Giants’ offense. Whether it was his arm or his legs, DJ was a consistent factor in the outcome of every game and singlehandedly carried New York into the playoffs with a Week 17 win.

In 16 games, James accounted for 3,913 total yards and 22 combined touchdowns. He managed that while throwing just five interceptions all season, which was the best among qualifying quarterbacks.

Rookie of the Year: Kayvon Thibodeaux

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The Giants had an 11-player rookie class entering the season and expectations were high for each. Unfortunately, injuries hit the group hard and everyone but linebacker Micah McFadden missed time.

That includes Kayvon Thibodeaux, who got hurt during the preseason and didn’t return until Week 3 and then took a little while to ramp up.

When he did, Thibodeaux immediately established himself as an all-around threat capable of rushing the passer and stopping the run. His sack numbers won’t jump off the screen (4.0) but they also don’t tell the whole story.

The deeper into the season it got, the better Thibodeaux played. He is well ahead of the pace for most rookies and has a very bright future.

Surprise of the Year: Isaiah Hodgins

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The Giants entered the season with issues at wide receiver and they only became compounded as the weeks wore on.

Sterling Shepard and Wan’Dale Robinson were lost to injury, Kenny Golladay saw his role significantly reduced and Darius Slayton spent a quarter of the season finding his way out of the dog house.

Enter Isaiah Hodgins.

Hodgins was a mid-season waiver claim and the former Buffalo Bill hit the ground running. He earned the starting role in just his second week with the team and never looked back.

In eight games with the Giants, Hodgins hauled in 33 receptions for 351 yards and four touchdowns. His best game actually came in the Wild Card Playoffs where he hauled in eight receptions for 105 yards and one touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings.

Story originally appeared on Giants Wire