NFL Awards Watch: Breece Hall, Sauce Gardner Put Jets On Pace To Sweep Top Rookie Honors

Welcome to NFL Awards Watch, my weekly column that will take a look at the five major awards handed out in the NFL: MVP; Offensive and Defensive Player Of The Year; and Offensive and Defensive Rookie Of The Year.


Week 5 featured New York rookies rising up the charts, dominant defensive performances in the clutch, and elite quarterback play at the top. We have an MVP showdown this Sunday in Kansas City, but this week I’m starting with the rookie awards, where the Jets are fueled through their 2022 draft picks. Let’s get to it:


Offensive Rookie of the Year

RB BREECE HALL, New York Jets 

Hall is known as The Beast in the backfield by his Jets teammates, and the punch he brings to the New York offense provides balance for the young offense. He posted 197 scrimmage yards last Sunday, a Jets’ rookie record. Hall's production will continue to benefit QB Zach Wilson, who connected with the Iowa State standout on a 79-yard catch and run on the final play of the first quarter in what became a 40-17 win over the Dolphins. Robert Saleh has a home run hitter in his backfield.

Two More To Consider

Defensive Rookie of the Year


The 4th overall selection in April’s draft makes a weekly impact for the Jets defense, with this past Sunday producing two highlight reel moments. He hammered Dolphins QB Teddy Bridgewater on a corner blitz in the end zone which resulted in a safety and sent Bridgewater to the locker room. Gardner then jumped a route and intercepted Skylar Thompson’s pass attempt to River Cracraft. His first career interception gave Miami great field position and set up a 19-7 lead in the second quarter.

Just FYI: The last time two players from the same team won Rookie of the Year honors in the same season was in 2017. Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore took home Offensive and Defensive honors with the Saints. This season, Sauce Gardner and Breece Hall are both setting the tone for the Jets. And I shouldn’t leave out wide receiver Garrett Wilson.

Two More To Consider

Most Valuable Player

My two MVP favorites face off in a can't-miss Week 6 matchup in Kansas City.

QB JOSH ALLEN, Buffalo Bills 

In Week 5, Allen threw four touchdowns that covered a combined 199 yards in the first half, and finished the first two quarters with 348 yards passing. His career day began with his 98-yard touchdown to Gabe Davis, a play where he climbed the pocket to deliver a strike for his striding wide out. That 98-yard score tied a Bills franchise record for longest passing touchdown first set by Ryan Fitzpatrick and Terrell Owens. Hall of Famer Norm Van Brocklin's 554 yards in the 1951 season opener remains the most passing yards ever in a NFL game. Allen’s afternoon ended with 424 yards passing. Up next: the MVP showdown in Kansas City.

Two More To Consider

Offensive Player of the Year 

RB NICK CHUBB, Cleveland Browns 

What Chubb is doing in Cleveland shouldn’t go unnoticed. He’s rushed for 593 yards and 7 touchdowns through five games, and he’s produced those numbers on fewer than 100 total carries. Last week he opened the game against the Chargers with a 41-yard TD run and scored again just before halftime. He’s averaging an absurd 6.1 yards per carry, but also averages more than 4 yards per carry when he’s faced with a loaded box.

Two More To Consider

Defensive Player of the Year

WLB MICAH PARSONS, Dallas Cowboys 

There’s no one better on defense than Micah Parsons right now. He strained his groin in the first quarter Sunday in Los Angeles and played just 46 snaps, but Parsons wrecked the Rams offense in the final two minutes of the game. He sacked Matthew Stafford twice on the closing drive, and the second forced a fumble to end the game. It was Parsons’ third multi-sack game this season. Dallas has a defense that’s held all five opponents to 20 points or less. Parsons leads the way.

Two More To Consider

Jonathan Hutton is the host of OutKick 360 and will write weekly about NFL awards. 

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Jonathan Hutton is the host of OutKick 360 which breaks down all the latest sports headlines every day from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET. Hutton joined OutKick in January of 2021 after nine years as co-host of Midday 180 on 104.5 The Zone, the second highest rated local sports show in the United States. He is well recognized in the Tennessee sports community and spent 16 years on the Tennessee Titans Radio Network, serving as the Gameday Host, sideline reporter, among other roles. Hutton also does television play-by-play for the TSSAA state football and basketball championships on the NFHS Network as well as a freelance sports anchor for WTVF-TV NewsChannel in Nashville. Hutton is a Tennessee native.