NFL Awards Watch: Nick Bosa Overtakes Micah Parsons For Top Defensive Player; Jalen Hurts' Injury Impacts MVP Race

Welcome to NFL Awards Watch, my weekly column that takes 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.


Jalen Hurts is hurt, which means Patrick Mahomes is in line to take over the MVP race, just not in this week’s column. But there’s a new frontrunner for the league’s top player on defense. Let’s get to it:

NFL Awards Watch: Week 15


QB JALEN HURTS, Philadelphia Eagles 

Hurts has 13 rushing touchdowns, one short of the NFL record for a quarterback, a mark set by Cam Newton during his rookie year in 2011. Hurts’ MVP odds took a big hit Monday when word came out he sprained his shoulder in the game against Chicago. His game status is uncertain as the Eagles prepare for the Cowboys. 

Two More To Consider:


WR JUSTIN JEFFERSON, Minnesota Vikings

He remains on pace to become the first 2,000-yard receiver in NFL history after the Vikings’ 33-point comeback win over the Indianapolis Colts. Jefferson must average 125 yards per game in the final three weeks of the season to reach the mark, and he’ll face a middle of the pack Giants defense, followed by two defenses he’s already torched: Green Bay and Chicago. 

Two More To Consider:


QB BROCK PURDY, San Francisco 49ers.

Yes, he was selected No. 262 overall in last year’s draft, making him “Mr. Irrelevant”, but the rookie from Iowa State is hardly irrelevant. Purdy leads all rookie quarterbacks with six touchdown passes, but the most important aspect is he’s not turning the ball over when throwing at a higher rate than what might be expected considering his inexperience. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has complete trust in the former third-string quarterback. A perfect example is having him throw on first down from the 49ers’ 1-yard line in Seattle. A QB who started a regular season third on the depth chart has never won a Super Bowl. We’ve also never seen a rookie quarterback reach the Super Bowl in year one.

Two More To Consider:


DE NICK BOSA, San Francisco 49ers

The most dominant defensive player on the most dominant defense in the NFL is a lock for first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors, and now he’s the leading candidate to win DPOY. Bosa leads the NFL with 15.5 sacks, a number than tied his career-high from last season. He joined Richard Dent and Andre Tippett as the only players to register at least 15 sacks in consecutive seasons before turning 26. He’s going to break the bank this offseason. 

Two More To Consider:


CB TARIK WOOLEN, Seattle Seahawks

The rookie is now tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions on the season, which is also a Seahawks rookie record for picks. He’s also 13 pass breakups, tied for 3rd in the NFL.

Two More To Consider:

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

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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.