2017 SCU Awards: Steelers fans make their picks

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.

Our panel finished handing out our awards for the Steelers 2017 season last week, but we also tallied votes from Steelers Nation as well.

Those fan picks, alongside our picks, and last year’s winners, are listed below. (Let’s see where everyone ended up!)

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Steelers Comeback Player of the Year

SCU Pick: Cam Heyward

(Due to lack of options, no fan vote was conducted.)

Last Year’s Winner: Le’Veon Bell (SCU/Fans’ Choice)

Kicking off our 2017 season awards, we found there weren’t many options for this season’s comeback players and negated running a fan poll: because we know all of yinz agree with us!

We had to list Heyward’s win here because it’s hard to believe just how big his role with the defense is, and how he was missed for half of the previous season. Cam returned in 2017 to lead the Steelers in sacks, en route to a well-deserved Pro Bowl selection.

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Steelers Most Improved Player of the Year

SCU Pick: Vince Williams

Last Year’s Winner: Alejandro Villanueva (SCU/Fans)

Villanueva was still in the running for this year’s “most improved” award, which he won last season after becoming the Steelers starting left tackle. However, when the dust settled, it was Vince Williams, who took over half of the vote.

Williams, a former sixth-round pick, had the large shoes of Lawrence Timmons to fill, and many were questioning if the former could become a full-time starter. Alas, Williams exceeded all expectations and is widely considered the most improved player on the Steelers 2017 roster.

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Steelers Coach of the Year

SCU Pick: Mike Munchak

Last Year’s Winner: N/A

This was our first year running this category, as we felt many of the coaches on the Steelers staff go unrecognized. Surprisingly (or not) the least “sexy” of the positions on the field was the coach who received recognition this time: offensive line coach Mike Munchak.

Since Munch’s arrival in Pittsburgh, QB Ben Roethlisberger has been sacked less, the running game has been boosted, and seemingly run-of-the-mill athletes, such as Villanueva, Chris Hubbard, and B.J. Finney, have maintained the “standard” that is “the standard”… all under the coach’s tutelage.

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Steelers Rookie of the Year

SCU Pick: T.J. Watt

Last Year’s Winner: Sean Davis (SCU/Fans)

Fans smacked down the SCU Panel pick to vote for one of the newest and most loved Steelers: JuJu Smith-Schuster.

JuJu’s rookie season was so impressive, there’s analysis to back up that it may be one of the best by a rookie receiver in the last decade!

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Steelers Underdog of the Year

SCU Pick: Mike Hilton

Last Year’s Winner: Jesse James (SCU/Fans)

This was another pick where our contributors and the fans saw eye-to-eye, for the second year in a row. Last year’s choice, Jesse James, is still overcoming the odds as a former fifth-round pick turned starting tight end.

This year’s winner went from undrafted and unwanted to a major contributor and eventual Defensive Player of the Week, Steelers cornerback Mike Hilton overcame all odds to become a fixture on the team’s defense.

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Special Teams Player of the Year

SCU Pick: Chris Boswell

Last Year’s Winner: Chris Boswell (SCU/Fans)

With really no other contender here, the “Wizard of Boz” walks away with another landslide win in the special teams category.

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Steelers Offensive Player of the Year

SCU Pick: Antonio Brown

Last Year’s Winners: Antonio Brown (SCU), Le’Veon Bell (Fans)

A split choice last season, this year fans were in line with the SCU Panel on giving the offensive MVP award to Antonio Brown… who was also in the conversation for league MVP until an injury sidelined him for the end of the regular season.

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Defensive Player of the Year

SCU Pick: Cam Heyward


Last Year’s Winner: Ryan Shazier (SCU/Fans)

While Ryan Shazier still garnered some of the fan votes, it was Cam Heyward who took over half of the votes, en route to his defensive MVP award this season.

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Steelers MVP

SCU Pick: Ben Roethlisberger

Last Year’s Winner: Le’Veon Bell (SCU/Fans)

A split decision again, fans felt AB was far and above the team’s MVP for the 2017 season.

The SCU panel had selected the man who throws Brown the ball, but as the saying goes “it takes two to tango!” AB picks up two awards from the fans, in the end, capping off an incredible 2017 campaign.

Read more about our 2017 SCU Award picks

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