Seahawks QB Geno Smith named NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Feb 9, 2023, 7:18 PM | Updated: 7:21 pm
Seahawks Geno Smith...
Seahawks QB Geno Smith celebrates after defeating the Rams in overtime on Jan. 8, 2023. (Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)
(Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith excelled in his first full year as Seattle’s starting quarterback, making the Pro Bowl and setting multiple franchise records in 2022. He’s also been named AP Comeback Player of the Year.

During Thursday’s NFL Honors program, Smith earned the award, edging out San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey. Smith finished with 171 points and 28 first-place votes while McCaffrey finished with 110 points and 12 first-place votes.

Smith was originally a second-round pick of the Jets back in 2013 but struggled in his first two seasons and didn’t become a full-time starter again for seven seasons. All he did in his first season as the Seahawks’ starter (and fourth year in Seattle) was lead the league in completion percentage at 69.8% while finishing fourth in touchdown passes (30) and eighth in passing yards (4,282). Smith set franchise records for yards, completion percentage, completions and attempts. He also earned his first Pro Bowl nod in his 10th NFL season.

Smith is a pending free agent, but it’s expected he returns to the Seahawks for 2023 and possibly beyond.

RB Kenneth Walker III finished 2nd in OROY race

Rookie running back Kenneth Walker III, a second-round pick of the Seahawks, finished second in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting to Jets receiver Garrett Wilson, though Walker actually earned one more first-place vote (19) than Wilson. But Wilson finished with 156 points to Walker’s 129 to take home the award.

Walker was great for the Seahawks in 2022, rushing for 1,050 yards and nine touchdowns despite not starting until Week 6.

Walker finished 12th in the NFL in rushing yards, 10th in rushing touchdowns and second in 20-plus-yard rushes. He led all rookies in rushing yards and touchdowns while averaging 4.6 yards per carry.

CB Tariq Woolen 3rd in DROY voting

Walker wasn’t the only Seahawks rookie to be a finalist for Rookie of the Year honors as cornerback Tariq Woolen was in the Defensive Rookie of the Year race.

Ultimately, the fifth-round pick finished third behind Jets cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner and Lions defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson, both of whom were top-four picks last April. Woolen received one first-place vote.

Woolen tied the NFL lead in interceptions (six) and returned one for a touchdown. He also blocked a field goal that a teammate returned for a score and broke up 16 passes. Woolen’s opponent passer rating was just 48.7, per Pro Football Reference

Woolen started all 17 games and the playoff game as a rookie fifth-round pick and his six interceptions set a Seahawks rookie record for interceptions in a single season.

Huard: Where Seahawks QB Geno Smith can grow the most in 2023

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