Let’s pick the quarter-season NFL awards for the 2022 campaign. it ridiculous hand out awards for four weeks of football – and with 17 regular season games we’re officially not quite at 25% – but it’s also a good time to capture what’s happened in the league since then. the first month of the season and get a historical document of how we felt at that time.
Remember, this time around a year ago, Sam Darnold was the favorite for Returning Player of the Year, and Kyler Murray looked like a contender for MVP. A lot can change in three months.
This time, I’ll pick my top three picks for seven awards: Coach of the Year, Return Player of the Year, Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year, Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, and Player of the Year. .
This is my choice for whom I I think deserves to win in the first month of the season, not who I think will win at the end of the campaign. In general, I will abide by the rules and preferences we have seen from Associated Press voters in the past, although I will make one notable exception when we get to Offensive of the Year. Let’s start with protection:
Go to reward:
Most Valuable Player | Top return | Best Coach
Best Rookies: Offense | Protection
Players of the Year: Offense | Protection
Defensive Rookie of the Year
This award is usually dominated by younger pass rushers, but this season hasn’t had a great start for cornerbacks. Aidan Hutchinson (Lions) is the only rookie to have more than two bags, but all three came in the same game against Commanders who hand out free bags like candy on Halloween. Hutchinson ranks 54th out of 58 qualified cornerbacks in winning pass percentage, and it’s not like the Lions have stopped anyone on defense in three games. No. 1 overall Travon Walker (Jaguars) was promising, but he wasn’t even the best first-round rookie in the Jaguars.
Instead, we are blessed with a group of freshman quarterbacks competing for this award. Most rookie cornerbacks don’t make it every time as they adjust to the speed of the NFL, so seeing as many as eight rookie cornerbacks with over 150 defensive snaps in four weeks is a rare treat.
The two biggest names in this position were Derek Stingley Jr. (Texans) and Gravy Gardner (Jets); they’ve had their moments so far. But two corners later in the draft had a bigger impact on their teams.
3. Jaylen Watson, CB, Chiefs
After starting when first-round pick Trent McDuffie went down with a hamstring injury in the first game, Watson may not be able to regain his defensive role once McDuffie is ready to return. Picked in the seventh round, Watson shouldn’t have covered the opposing team’s best wide receiver, but with the Chiefs keeping him on one side of the field, he’s gotten a disproportionate percentage of his goals against stars like Mike Evans, Michael Pittman Jr., and Mike Williams. .
Watson allowed two touchdowns in two weeks against a pair of outstanding players – Evans and Marquis Brown – but played enough games to more than offset those points. Watson has minus 8.9 expected points added (EPA) as the closest guard in coverage so far, second among rookie cornerbacks. He broke four of 28 targets in his direction, but his most notable play helped the Chiefs replay the game when he passed Justin Herbert 99 yards into the six pick home.
2. Tariq Wulen, CB, Seahawks
Pete Carroll is rightfully considered a coach who can recruit and develop cornerbacks like no other. Remember that corners in Legion of Boom didn’t enter the league as stars: Richard Sherman was drafted in the fifth round, Byron Maxwell was drafted in the sixth round, and Brandon Browner was undrafted and played in the CFL. Carroll targeted big, capable cornerbacks and helped turn them into superstars.
Ten years later, Carroll may have found his next standout in fifth-round pick Woolen, who entered the league with 99th percentile height and 40 yard dash time. He is a convert receiver who had only two years of fullback experience before he entered the league; Woollen was expected to take some time before joining the Seahawks.
Erase it. The 6ft 4in Woolen played 93% of Seattle’s snaps and his early results are staggering. The 23-year-old football player allowed 33.1 passer rating in coverage and has already thrown two passes, scoring one on his first goal against Jared Goff and the Lions last week. Woolen still has a shooting proclivity – he passed over 8 yards on target – but the Seahawks are getting a player who can run with anyone and seems to have promising ball skills. There is a superstar here.