5 NFL MVP Non-quarterback predictions for 2022
The NFL MVP award is an award every single player in the league goes into every year striving to win. The MVP vote has been dominated by quarterbacks in recent campaigns. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson took home the award in recent years. In fact, the last time a non-quarterback won the award was running back Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings back in 2012.
Many NFL fans argued that in 2021, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp was unlucky not to win the award. He had an astounding season where he led the league in receiving yards (1,947), receptions (145) and touchdowns (16). Kupp’s season was an outlier, but plenty of stars across the league have the ability to match those numbers and end the monopoly of quarterbacks winning the MVP award.
Here are five non-quarterbacks that have a shot at the MVP award this season:
#5 – Ja’Marr Chase
The Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver burst onto the NFL scene in 2021, going for 1,823 total yards (including playoffs), which is a league record for a rookie. Chase instantly clicked with former LSU teammate Joe Burrow, and the pair led the Bengals all the way to the Super Bowl.
If Chase’s rookie campaign is anything to go by, he could easily better that number in 2022, with a full year of experience behind him. Burrow will continue to give the ball to his favourite weapon, and it would be no surprise if he was in the MVP talk at the end of the year.
#4 – Derrick Henry
Many NFL fans seemed to forget about Derrick Henry after he went down injured after eight games of the 2021 NFL season. However, it was looking to be a historic one for the Tennessee Titans running back. He had already clocked up 937 yards and 10 touchdowns in just eight starts. He looked likely to top his excellent 2020 season, where he had 2,027 rushing yards. In that campaign, he became the eighth player in NFL history to break 2,000 rushing yards.
If Henry can fully recover from his injury, there’s no reason why he can’t reach his video-game numbers from 2020, and place himself firmly in the MVP race.
#3 – Cooper Kupp
If 2021 is anything to go by, Cooper Kupp and Matthew Stafford could become one of the most deadly duos in NFL history. Kupp led the league in receiving yards (1,947), receptions (145) and touchdowns (16) in Stafford’s first season as a Los Angeles Ram. He also helped the Rams win Super Bowl XLI, where he took home the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award, catching two touchdowns in the game.
If Kupp can keep up with or better his 2021 return, many fans across the league will be demanding that he is in the MVP conversation.
#2 – T.J. Watt
T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers must count himself unfortunate that he wasn’t in the MVP talk much during the 2021 season. Watt did take home the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award as he set a record of 22.5 sacks, but he missed out completely in the MVP vote.
It’s a known fact across the league that the MVP has been biased towards offensive players for years now, with the last defensive Most Valuable Player being Hall of Famer linebacker Lawrence Taylor, who won the award way back in 1986.
If Watt can better his 2021 campaign, he will rightfully be in the race.
#1 – Aaron Donald
There is an argument to be made that no non-quarterback is more valuable in the league than Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Donald has been a game-wrecker since entering the league in 2014, and the Pittsburgh product has made the Pro Bowl every year of his career. Not only that, Donald effectively sealed the Rams’ Super Bowl win over the Cincinnati Bengals earlier this year, hassling quarterback Joe Burrow to an incomplete pass.
Donald is constantly double and triple-teamed, as opposition coaches have to basically plan their whole scheme to stop Donald getting to their quarterback, and even when they do so, he’s taking up so much attention it allows his teammates to get to the signal-caller.
It wouldn’t be a shock to anyone if Donald, who agreed to return for the 2022 season, had an MVP-calibre season and took home the award.
Q. Will a non-quarterback win NFL MVP in 2022?