NFL Awards Watch: Stefon Diggs, Micah Parsons Make Statements As Best Offensive, Defensive Players In League

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 2 was packed with standout performances and while I won’t always start with MVP, the upcoming Week 3 schedule features my two frontrunners head to head. Let’s dive in:

NFL AWARDS WATCH WEEK 2

nfl awards diggs parsons
Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons (left) and Bills receiver Stefon Diggs. (Getty Images)


MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

QB JOSH ALLEN, Buffalo Bills

I was leaning Tua Tagovailoa this week, and he’s deserving based on the start to his ‘prove it’ season in Miami. But then Allen sat back and watched the Dolphins’ comeback victory over the Ravens and said “hold my beer.” 

Allen was unstoppable against an inferior Titans defense Monday night. He finished the game 26-of-38 for 317 yards, four touchdown passes and no interceptions. It led to Tennessee head coach Mike Vrabel tapping out midway through the third quarter. Tua will have a chance to unseat Allen this week. The Bills visit Miami for a showdown on Sunday afternoon. 

Two More To Consider

  • Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa.
    • His six touchdown passes on Sunday tied a Dolphins single-game record. It was a fantastic performance in a remarkable comeback, and the win put the rest of the NFL on notice.
    • The 2-0 Dolphins look like the real deal and, with the talent around him, so does the Miami QB. In the pivotal fourth quarter, Tagovailoa was 13-of-17 for 199 yards and four touchdowns in the 42-38 win. 
  • Eagles QB Jalen Hurts.
    • I give Hurts placement over Lamar Jackson this week because of the impact Hurts has made in Philly’s 2-0 start. Hurts was phenomenal against the Minnesota defense Monday night. The Vikings had no answer for the young signal caller, who has added another dimension to his offensive skillset this season. He finished with 333 yards passing and a touchdown, and rushed for 57 yards and two other scores.
    • Hurts appears comfortable and confident in Nick Sirianni’s offensive system, where they’ve added plenty of weapons around him. It’s on him in 2022, and early results show Philadelphia as more than just a team good enough to win the NFC East.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Micah Parsons
Cowboys LB Micah Parsons (11) reacts after sacking Bengals QB Joe Burrow during the game on Sept. 18, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

WLB MICAH PARSONS, Dallas Cowboys

Parsons wrecked Cincinnati’s offense in Week 2 on practically every snap, an all-out effort that produced two sacks and impacted more than what his stat sheet shows. He can rush from multiple areas on the field and must be accounted for each play. First you have to find him. That’s a nightmare for opposing offenses, and it was certainly the case Sunday for the Bengals. The Cowboys linebacker was the best player on the field in a game that included Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase. 

Two More To Consider

  • 49ers DE Nick Bosa.
    • Bosa has dominated the trenches in each of his first two games to begin the season. In Week 2 he produced two sacks and four solo tackles, swarming Seattle’s backfield and laying hits on Geno Smith on three other rushes.
    • He’s off to a great start this season, and we’ll see him terrorizing Russell Wilson this coming Sunday night in Denver.
  • Eagles CB Darius Slay.
    • Slay shut down one of the best receivers in the NFL on Monday night. Minnesota WR Justin Jefferson was locked down throughout the game, catching one pass on five targets with Slay defending him.
    • Slay had two interceptions in the game and could have added a couple more as the Eagles dominated the Vikings in prime time.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Stefon Diggs
Bills WR Stefon Diggs (14) catches a touchdown pass against the Tennessee Titans at Highmark Stadium on Sept. 19, 2022, in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

WR STEFON DIGGS, Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen’s top target through the first two weeks of the season has 20 receptions, 270 yards and 4 touchdowns. Diggs has been the best receiver in football.

He owned the Titans secondary Monday night and just like his quarterback, Diggs’ night ended in the third quarter. Jalen Ramsey couldn’t slow him down on Sept. 8, and I’m not sure there’s another defense in the league that can defend Diggs with one player throughout four quarters. The Titans couldn’t stop him with two. 

Two More To Consider

  • Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle.
    • He scored the game-winning touchdown with 14 seconds left in Baltimore, a game where he and Tyreek Hill torched the Ravens secondary throughout the second half.
    • Waddle finished with 11 catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns. He makes my list for scoring the game winner, while Hill’s day on the stat sheet was better: 11 catches for 190 yards and two scores.
  • Lions RB D’Andre Swift.
    • The Commanders were mounting a comeback, cutting in to what was a sizable Lions lead. Detroit’s offense responded with a big drive capped off by a touchdown from Swift.
    • Maybe more importantly, he produced on a day when his ankle gave him problems, which is a mental hurdle that running backs coach Duce Staley challenged Swift to overcome this preseason. The Lions offense is among the most explosive in the league through two weeks, due in part to Swift’s firepower out of the backfield. 

OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Garrett Wilson
Jets WR receiver Garrett Wilson (17) runs out of a tackle attempt by Browns CB Greg Newsome II (20) during the game on Sept. 18, 2022, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

WR GARRETT WILSON, New York Jets

What a return to the state of Ohio for the rookie from Ohio State. Wilson produced more than 25% of New York’s total offense, including the game-winning touchdown on a miraculous comeback victory on the road.

Two of his eight catches were touchdown grabs. He hauled in 102 yards receiving and moved the chains on third down throughout the afternoon. It’s exactly what a team would want to see from their 10th overall selection in April’s draft. Thankfully Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur called plays that let to Wilson’s 15 targets from Joe Flacco. Now I can’t wait to watch Wilson when Zach Wilson returns to the starting lineup. 

Two More To Consider

  • Falcons WR Drake London.
    • It was nice to see London get involved within coach Arthur Smith’s offense. The highlights were London’s two touchdown grabs, but the game plan focused on getting London in space, from screens to deep passes over the middle.
    • Now Atlanta just needs to pair him with production from tight end Kyle Pitts. 
  • Cowboys OT Tyler Smith.
    • I know. Offensive linemen don’t win this award. Smith deserves a spot in this column for his play Sunday protecting QB Cooper Rush.
    • The Cowboys are without offensive tackle Tyron Smith, then lost veteran QB Dak Prescott, but somehow beat the Bengals with Rush starting behind center. A big reason for Rush’s success was his protection. The Tulsa tackle allowed only one QB pressure in 62 snaps against the Bengals defensive front.

DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Aidan Hutchinson
Aidan Hutchinson (97) of the Detroit Lions celebrates his first career sack in the NFL while playing the Washington Commanders at Ford Field on September 18, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

DL AIDAN HUTCHINSON, Detroit Lions

Hutchinson is the best rookie in the NFL right now. The second overall pick sacked Carson Wentz three times Sunday, all of those coming in the first half as Detroit built their lead. He’s perfect in the trenches for Dan Campbell’s defense.

Two More To Consider

  • Texans CB Derek Stingley, Jr.
  • Lions LB Malcolm Rodriguez

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 hosts OutKick 360 each weekday afternoon. He spent 16 seasons as the gameday host and sideline reporter for the Tennessee Titans Radio Network and covered the biggest NFL events. Follow @HuttonOutKick on Twitter/Instagram.

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