Jalen Hurts, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson are all in contention for NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2022.
Left: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images, Center: Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images, Right: Photo by Maddie

Way Too Early Predictions: The NFL's Major Awards Race is Already Heating Up

Since it's way too early to predict who will win which NFL awards given at the end of the season, it's a perfect time to predict who will win which NFL awards.

This will be based on who has been a standout thus far, and who will — if everything goes the way it's gonebe at the top of each category. 

Now, this is a prime example of what could eventually be featured on Old Takes Exposed. however, predicting is a harmless way to guess how the season will unfold. 

AP Offensive Rookie of the Year: Chris Olave/Drake London

Chris Olave of the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London are the two front runners for the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2022.

Left: Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images, Right: Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

This one is a toss-up between two receivers who are in questionable offenses, surprisingly. 

With the Saints' Chris Olave, he was my Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate immediately after the draft. Now, I'm a Jameis Winston truther, so this makes sense for people who know me and follow my football opinions. 

That said, even with Jameis having four fractures in his back, Olave has been a clear No. 1 target throughout three weeks of the NFL season. 

Through three games, Olave's been targeted 29 times by Winston — and as learned from Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp's magical 2021 season, chemistry between QB and WR can be a major factor in their success together. 

The most alarming number for Olave is his touchdown numbers, so if he wants to stay atop this prediction, he'll certainly need to start finding the end zone.

Now, Drake London, I wasn't incredibly high on once he got drafted to the Falcons. 

I saw Kyle Pitts as a likely detriment to London's progression, and as I believed with the quarterback situation in Atlanta, it'd be tough to allow two athletic freaks to eat at a high level. 

And boy, was I wrong about London — so far. Similar to Olave in New Orleans, London and QB Marcus Mariota have been able to build a solid connection.

Overall, however, I give the advantage to Olave- as long as Jameis plays the majority of the season

It's going to be really close between these two, though. And personally, I'm all for the competition. Rookie receivers are arguably the most fun players to watch, as these guys have been more and more NFL-ready each season, it seems. 

Chris Olave and Drake London have just been proving that point even more.

AP Defensive Rookie of the Year: Sauce Gardner/Devin Lloyd

Devin Lloyd of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Sauce Gardner of the New York Jets are two top candidates for the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year Award.

Left: Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images, Right: Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

RELATED: 5 Defensive Rookies Who Will Make an Immediate Impact This NFL Season

This was a really tough one to break down, as the top two draft picks in Travon Walker and Aidan Hutchinson aren't on the list for me. 

Hutchinson had a real good game with three sacks against Washington, but that's not too impressive in my eyes. Carson Wentz seemingly has a magnet in his uniform that attracts defenders to him, and that theory was proven once again in the Commanders' matchup against the Eagles

As for who I think will win this, it's kind of a guesstimate based on what I've seen and how that should remain for the rest of the season.

For starters, Sauce Gardner has shown why he was drafted No. 4 overall, as he's brought his game from Cincy right into the NFL.

While his stat sheet is a bit bare, that's not always seen as a knock for defensive backs.

If you're not getting tackles, not getting passes defended, and/or not getting interceptions, that could just be due to quarterbacks being too afraid to target him. 

Is he a perfect corner? No. But what he is is a very talented athlete who's on pace to win Defensive Rookie of the Year if he continues with what he's shown. 

The other candidate I have for Defensive Rookie of the Year is No. 27 overall pick Devin Lloyd. 

Though drafted later than a good chunk of rookies, Lloyd has played great these first three weeks. 

And it's not really due to one breakout game, either — he's just been consistently very productive for this Jaguars defense.

He's not the "sexy" pick, but in terms of which defensive rookie is making the biggest impact thus far, it's Devin Lloyd. 

AP Offensive Player of the Year: Saquon Barkley 

Saquon Barkley runs against the Dallas Cowboys in 2021.

Sarah Stier via Getty Images

RELATED: Saquon Barkley's Massive Legs Earned Him His "SaQuads" Nickname

I know, I know, he's probably more suited for Comeback Player of the Year, but if you keep reading, you'll see I campaign for a different player to win that award.

That said, as some people alluded to being a possibility prior to the season, Saquon Barkley is BACK. 

Saquon is the clear backbone of the Giants' offense; and with Sterling Shepard tearing his ACL during Monday Night Football against the Dallas Cowboys, there's less competition in front of Barkley. 

And coach Brian Daboll — though criticized for not running the ball enough — has shown he isn't going to hold Saquon back. 

The thing, or one thing, that makes Saquon special is his ability to do damage to a defense with either his hands or legs. The Giants don't have a great offensive line by any means, but as long as there's a sliver of a hole, Barkley can create something. 

If he can keep his same production going for a full season, it'd be shocking to see him not win Offensive Player of the Year. 

That is, if he stays healthy. 

AP Defensive Player of the Year: Micah Parsons

Micah Parsons #11 of the Dallas Cowboys reacts after sacking Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals

Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

This one is pretty easy, because Micah Parsons has been unreal this season. 

Anytime Parsons is on the field, he's a likely candidate to blow each play up.

Prior to Week 3, Parsons had 13 QB pressures, with a "time to pressure" of 2.01 seconds — which leads the league. The fact that he can seemingly teleport to the quarterback on each play is magical to watch. 

As mentioned previously, this is an easy prediction. Anyone who's ever typed a word about football and posted it online is predicting Parsons as Defensive Player of the Year, so this is by no means a bold prediction.

Parsons has been a problem for opposing teams since joining the league, and that will likely remain the same until he retires. He's an absolute problem, and there's no reason to believe he won't continue wreaking havoc on offensive linemen week after week. 

AP Comeback Player of the Year: Khalil Mack

Khalil Mack #52 of the Los Angeles Chargers rushes during a 24-19 Chargers win over the Las Vegas Raiders

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

While Saquon could win this award instead of Khalil Mack, I'd argue — and did argue previously — that Saquon is more worthy of Offensive Player of the Year if he keeps doing what he's been doing. 

As for Comeback Player of the Year, it seems as if Mack is the most likely for this award. 

A few players could win this award, like Michael Thomas, Derrick Henry (if he counts, which he shouldn't), Christian McCaffrey, etc., but Mack is the most deserving as of now. 

For a 31-year-old coming off surgery on his foot, this is really impressive. Obviously, Khalil Mack is still Khalil Mack, but coming back from that injury and still putting up these numbers is nothing short of impressive. 

The team he's on also helps his case, arguably. 

It always seems like players on more-notable teams win awards like these. And the Chargers have been everywhere in terms of news coverage. 

It's either referencing injuries, why Brandon Staley did/didn't go for a fourth down, Justin Herbert this/that, and/or the Chargers' defense is stacked. 

Khalil Mack is one of those players who might not win with speed every time, but something that can't be questioned is how truly strong he is. 

In the video above, that's him manhandling a 6-foot-4, 345-pound lineman. Mack is only 267 pounds. So he's bulldozing a man almost 100 pounds heavier than him into the sack. 

That's just something that shouldn't happen — and yet, here's Mack doing it in his ninth season in the NFL. 

Khalil Mack, Comeback Player of the Year. Lock it up. 

AP Coach of the Year: Nick Sirianni

Head coach Nick Sirianni of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on prior to a game against the Miami Dolphins

Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Though the Bills' Sean McDermott might be a more chalky pick, I like the Eagles' Nick Sirianni here for Coach of the Year. 

On paper, the Buffalo Bills are an absolute juggernaut, and though McDermott is a great coach himself, I like to think Coach of the Year should go to someone who turned a poor team into a good team. 

In 2020, the Eagles finished their season 4-11-1, and here they are in 2022, 3-0 with a potential MVP candidate as quarterback. 

And this didn't just happen because the team figured something out. It happened because of good drafting for a couple of seasons, an incredible trade in acquiring A.J. Brown, and what seems to be incredible coaching. 

If the Eagles continue playing at the level they're playing at, Sirianni's flower analogy is coming to fruition. 

Again, this is a "riskier" pick than McDermott, given how good the Bills are, but I'm just someone who thinks Coach of the Year shouldn't just go to the best team in the league. There should be some value in turning around a team and making moves that give the team a better chance to win.

Now, if McDermott wins over Sirianni, it won't be surprising, but I'm willing to call my shot on this one. 

AP Most Valuable Player: Josh Allen/Lamar Jackson/Jalen Hurts

Jalen Hurts, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson are all in contention for NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2022.

Left: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images, Center: Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images, Right: Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

RELATED: The Jalen Hurts Year: Philly's Star QB Has A Lot to Prove in 2022

This is a tough one, as any one of these three quarterbacks could end up winning the MVP.

As history has alluded to, this is mainly a quarterback award. Can other positions win? Of course.

However, there hasn't been a non-QB MVP since 2012, when Adrian Peterson won. 

Since 2007, Peterson is the only non-QB MVP. 

So, yeah, MVP is a "best quarterback" award. And I get it; I'm not shaking my fist at the clouds because quarterbacks win this award.

Just, when predicting MVPs, it's silly to guess anyone other than a quarterback.

So, Josh Allen. He's pretty good at football, eh?

Allen has been on MVP watch for a couple of seasons; however, he's found himself being edged out by a different quarterback each time. 

That said, with the team the Bills have this season, this could be the year when Allen wins his much-deserved MVP.

Now, if Allen doesn't win, Lamar Jackson is the likely No. 2 candidate. 

Jackson is playing on a contract year in which he's made it obvious he wants a fully guaranteed deal

So, if the Ravens aren't willing to cough up the money, this is essentially the final part of Lamar's resume if he wants to take his talents elsewhere. 

Lamar already has an MVP under his belt, so there's no reason to believe he can't do it again with more experience. He'll need to continue to be the dual threat that defenses hate playing against; but again — with the contract year in mind — it's entirely possible Lamar Jackson gets himself another MVP. 

Last, but certainly not least, is Jalen Hurts. 

So far this season, he's played like a completely different player, and some are saying he's a candidate for the MVP as of Week 3

The biggest knock against Hurts is the competition he's faced thus far. The Lions, Vikings and Commanders aren't teams opponents usually have trouble against, so some would say Hurts should be beating up on these opponents. 

Now, between Allen, Jackson and Hurts, Allen should probably be the favorite — and he is. He's first in the NFL in passing yards, second in passing touchdowns and third in passing attempts. While passing attempts aren't an impressive stat, passing yards and touchdowns are. 

The biggest plus for the Bills and Allen winning MVP is their schedule. The only real threats Buffalo has remaining on its schedule are the Ravens, Chiefs, Packers and ... yeah, that's about it. 

So, in terms of who's most likely to win MVP, it's Allen. He's been so close for back-to-back seasons, but this is the year Josh Allen wins it. Book it, responsibly!

MORE: NFL RedZone: How to Watch the Greatest Invention on Earth