Very Early Dark-Horse Candidates For MVP In The 2021 NFL Season

Have you ever noticed how the MVP title in the NFL is usually always given to quarterbacks? And if you look at lists of NFL odds favorites for the MVP crown, usually it’s quarterbacks that dominate the majority of the lists? If we look at the early favorites to take the title this year of course Patrick Mahomes is there at number one. Bona-fide veteran legends like Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers are up there too even if we still don’t know where Rodgers will end up playing in this season. While picking one of the top favorites would be an easy choice, here are three dark horse candidates to take the MVP award at the end of the season, including, yes, one non QB player.

All-Pro Reels from District of Columbia, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Jalen Hurts (Photo Credit: All-Pro Reels from District of Columbia, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Jalen Hurts, QB Philadelphia Eagles

Yeah, the Eagles might be slated in the worst division of all of football, the NFC Least, I mean NFC East, but that doesn’t take away that their projected starting QB Jalen Hurts can’t come out swinging from the get go and put on a stellar season. While last year the Eagles struggled greatly with some really poor playing from now Colts QB Carson Wentz and an injury slew that made a usually very strong Eagles O-line look like shambles at best, this year Wentz is gone, the O-line is looking good again and Hurts is ready for the action.

While only getting to play in three full games last season, Hurts put on some impressive numbers with 847 passing yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions. Oh yeah and add to that his 238 rushing yards and rushing touchdown. Now in case you’re wondering, top NFL analysts have done the numbers so that you don’t have to. It’s estimated that in a 17 game season like the one he’s about to jump into Hurts can be on pace for at least 4,800 passing yards, 25 touchdown passes, 11 interceptions and around 1400 rushing yards with six rushing touchdowns. With the Eagles picking up Heisman Trophy winner and former Alabama WR DeVonta Smith with the first pick in the draft you can expect magic out of both of these guys. Hurts has everything to be great, only time will tell.

Jameis Winston. (Photo: New Orleans Saints)
Jameis Winston. (Photo: New Orleans Saints)

Jameis Winston, QB New Orleans Saints

While the job is not officially his in New Orleans, let’s work with a pretend scenario that could easily become a reality. Jameis Winston will have one of the toughest jobs in the league filling in for Drew Brees after the latter retired from action this off season. In all honesty, even with his love-hate relationship with throwing interceptions there is something really special about the talent that Winston has. If there’s a need for reassurance of how good he can be, just remember his 2019 season with the Bucs, minus the league-high 30 interceptions. That season Winston led the league with 5.109 passing yards and tossed 33 touchdown passes. With some proper work by Sean Payton to lower his interception numbers Winston could be in for a breakout year.

It doesn’t hurt that Winston will have a loaded offensive unit having his back. Just by having WR Michael Thomas, RB Alvin Kamara and an offensive line that knows very well how to protect a QB at all costs like they did with Brees we could be in for Winston’s best season in the NFL thus far.

Derrick Henry. (Photo: Tennessee Titans)
Derrick Henry. (Photo: Tennessee Titans)

Derrick Henry, RB Tennessee Titans

While Aaron Rodgers did some amazing work last season to earn himself the MVP award, if there was someone who did amazing work just like him it was Titans RB Derrick Henry. It’s hard to find anybody who’s willing to disagree that the Titan’s offense has been Derrick Henry and then everyone else. This man had a season for the ages in 2020 with 2,027 rushing yards, 17 touchdowns and 114 receiving yards. He led the league for the second straight year in rushing yards and was awarded the NFL OPY (Offensive Player of the Year) award.

Henry has been the reason the Titans have been able to be in the postseason in the past two seasons and if he manages to have yet another mind boggling career and does take the Titans again to the postseason then the award should go to him, no questions asked. While it’s usually QB’s that take this award if there was ever a player who deserved it just as much, it’s this man.