2017 SCU Awards: Steelers Rookie of the Year

Steel City Underground presents the 2nd annual SCU Awards. Our panel of contributors all voted on various awards for the Steelers with the player getting the most votes being the winner.

Each article will have the list of nominees with one of our contributors stating their case for why that player earned their vote and deserves the award.

Comment and let us know if you agree or disagree with our winners and nominees. 

The rookie of the year award was a tight race, which is a great problem to have! Nobody should be complaining when they can’t decide which rookie contributed more to the team and had a better year.

It’s hard to boil down this race. In a way, it came down between choosing between a player that who played a major role and splashed in the latter half of the year, versus the player who had flashes and was a consistent starter all season. Fair arguments can be made for both sides, but there can be only one winner.

Here are the nominees…

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JuJu Smith-Schuster

I cast my vote based on who I think had the most impact as a rookie. Yes T.J. Watt started all throughout his rookie season and did very well, but JuJu Smith-Schuster I feel contributed more to the Steelers win total. In a year where the Steelers offense struggled early on and our  players (besides the B’s) struggled, fans were all looking towards the rookie saying “Help us JuJu, you’re our only hope.”

After going through the tribulations of Cobi Hamilton, Sammie Coates, and Martavis Bryant, JuJu’s physicality and reliable hands were an incredible breath of fresh air. All throughout the season JuJu was clutch and had a knack for big plays. Just look at the Lions game, for example, that day JuJu accumulated 193 receiving yards and if not for his 97-yard touchdown catch and run, there’s no telling if we would’ve won that game.

Because of his reliability and how badly this offense needed JuJu, I think he’s more than worthy of being the Steelers rookie of the year.

– Eric Herrmann

T.J. Watt

When T.J. Watt was drafted, fans rolled their eyes at what appeared to be a guy with little time invested in the position he played in college to the one he would play in the pro’s, possibly being a high selection due to his well-recognized last name.

Fast forward to the end of the season and Watt became an instant starter with such an impact that the team actually had to release their disgruntled franchise sacks record holder, James Harrison. Watt was a consistent starter all year who’s athleticism the Steeler utilized to the fullest. He dropped into coverage more than any OLB in the league while also getting 7 sacks!

If that doesn’t scream Rookie of the Year, I’m not sure what would!

– Joe Kuzma

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With T.J. Watt I was one of those naysayers thinking that the Steelers bought into the whole “Watt family gene pool” and his injury history had me worried as well. After his 2017 season, it’s clear the Steelers know what they’re doing. T.J. Watt not only met but exceeded expectations as a rookie and has the potential to overtake his brother JJ as the best Watt in the NFL.

– Terry Fletcher

Winner: T.J. Watt (6 votes)

Runner-up: JuJu Smith-Schuster (5 votes)

Who is your pick?

We’re currently accepting fan submissions over on our Twitter poll. Choose your pick below.

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