NFL Awards Watch: Predictions For 2022 MVP, Players Of The Year, Top Rookies

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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.

Each week, I’ll look at the frontrunners for each award. To kick us off, I’ll make my way-too-early predictions. Let’s go:


QB Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills. It’s been the Aaron Rodgers show each of the last two years, and it’s odd to not write about him or Tom Brady when composing a 3-pack for what generally is a QB award.

The more I look at the AFC landscape the more I think the award is coming from one of those top AFC teams. Allen enters his prime with a loaded roster and coaching staff around him. He was phenomenal in the Bills’ playoff run that ended with him watching the Chiefs score first in overtime. The MVP award has been dominated by Rodgers and Brady, but this is the season the new QB regime takes over with Allen leading the charge.

josh allen
Bills quarterback Josh Allen. (Getty Images)

Two More To Consider: Chargers QB Justin Herbert, Ravens QB Lamar Jackson


RB Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans. Henry remains King, no matter what others are trying to tell you. As I wrote back in June, I don’t believe the Titans plan to use Henry any less than they did prior to his injury last October, and I don’t expect him to be any less effective.

Don’t forget: Henry won this award in 2020. While there are plenty of other candidates, especially at wide receiver, I give the nod to a healthy Henry impacting his team’s Win/Loss record more than any non-QB in the NFL.

Two More To Consider: Colts RB Jonathan Taylor, Rams WR Cooper Kupp


DE Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers. I can’t wait to watch Bosa play this season. He’s coming off a year where he posted 19.5 sacks throughout the regular season and playoff run. He was solid against the run and routinely altered the opposing play design predicated on which side he lined up to rush the passer. And Bosa did all that coming off a 2020 ACL injury. He’s a beast, and he’s next to cash in on a mega contract this coming offseason.

Two More To Consider: Rams DT Aaron Donald, Cowboys OLB Micah Parsons 


QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers. I realize Mitchell Trubisky starts for the Steelers this Sunday in Cincinnati, but I get the feeling Pickett wins this award when he’s named the starter during the season.

This franchise doesn’t tank, and while Trubisky can keep them afloat, I’m betting Mike Tomlin and Co. make the change to Pickett in just enough time for him to lead the Steelers on two-month run that has Pittsburgh in AFC playoff contention by late December. Vince Young won this award in 2006 when he helped the 0-6 Titans finish 8-8. Pickett will bring that same rookie momentum.

kenny pickett
Steelers rookie Kenny Pickett. (Getty Images)

Two More To Consider: Saints WR Chris Olave, Texans RB Dameon Pierce 


DE Aidan Hutchinson, Detroit Lions. The Lions are building their team the correct way: inside out. Detroit’s offensive line might be the best in football. And this past April, the Lions were gifted Aiden Hutchinson, a strong, physical defensive lineman who will move across coordinator Aaron Glenn’s defensive front.

I love Hutchinson’s relentless style, and I believe he becomes Detroit’s first DROY since Ndamukong Suh, also the No. 2 overall pick, who won the award in 2010.

Two More To Consider: Texans CB Derek Stingley Jr., Chiefs DE George Karlaftis 

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

Written by Jonathan Hutton

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.

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