Ranking the Candidates for 2018 NFL MVP


Amir Clato-Day, Sports Editor

5. Antonio Brown

Considering only one of the last eleven MVP winners wasn’t a quarterback (Adrian Peterson in 2012), it’s rare to see a skill position player win the award.

However, Antonio Brown is a rare player.

Many would argue that Antonio Brown is hands down the best wide receiver in the NFL. He not only has the stats to support that argument – 6,349 yards and 44 touchdowns dating back to 2014 – but has also consistently led his team to wins in the most crucial moments of both games and the season.

This past year, Brown made at least one clutch reception – whether it was to set up a game winning field goal, get a game clinching first down or score a go ahead/game tying touchdown – against the Browns, Chiefs, Colts, Packers, Bengals and Ravens.

Some of these receptions were absolutely insane

That’s six occasions on which Brown made a crucial impact on the game, leading his team to a win.

Of course, this doesn’t even include the monster games he had that Pittsburgh won by a wide margin.

Antonio Brown is simply a game changer and the entire football world has become aware, including other NFL players.













Despite a disappointing end to the season, Antonio Brown was beyond dominant and we should expect more of the same this upcoming year.

A wide receiver has never won the award, but this year, he will certainly convince some people that he should be the first to do so.

4. Jimmy Garoppolo

After being traded from New England to San Francisco, Jimmy Garoppolo finished the 2017 season on an extremely high note, throwing 1,560 yards and 7 touchdowns while leading the 49ers to a 5-0 finish.

Yes, it’s only five games but there are plenty of reasons why 49ers fans should be excited about what the future holds. Look what Garoppolo did with virtually no help. His offensive line was constantly changing due to injuries and the team lacked effective skill players outside of Marquise Goodwin and Carlos Hyde (who weren’t exactly Pro Bowl level players themselves).

Even with little support, Jimmy G still put up numbers and W’s.

During these five games with the Niners, Garoppolo displayed confidence in the pocket, a high football IQ and a keen ability to make difficult throws. He also showed flashes of possessing the same killer instinct that we see from the top quarterbacks in the NFL.

The 49ers have since added some reinforcements for Garoppolo including RB Jerick McKinnon who, in Minnesota, showed signs of being a dangerous threat both on the ground and through the air.

The offensive line will automatically be better when fully healthy and with the addition of OL Weston Richburg who the 49ers view as, “one of the top young interior offensive linemen in the NFL,” they could be one of the better o-lines in the league.

Not to mention, they added some effective players – headlined by Richard Sherman – to a defense that was already very solid at times last year which will make Garoppolo’s life a lot easier.

Jimmy Garoppolo certainly has a lot to prove but if he is able to build upon last year and show that he’s worth his enormous new contract, he will definitely be in the MVP race.

3. Tom Brady

There isn’t a whole lot I need to say here.

Tom Brady may be 40 years old, but after a record breaking 505 passing yard performance in Super Bowl LII, he has shown zero signs of slowing down.

Just because of that, he has to remain in the MVP conversation which he’s in virtually every year.

The talk of the offseason in New England has been about the possible demise of the Brady-Belichick era. Amendola’s gone, Gronk might retire, no one likes playing for Belichick, Bob Kraft and Belichick  hate each other, etc., etc.

The rumors could be true and this year could be the beginning of the downfall of the Patriot dynasty.

However, until it actually happens, Brady has to be in right in the middle of the MVP conversation.

2. Carson Wentz

Many believed that Carson Wentz would have been the 2017 NFL MVP had he not tore his ACL in Week 14.

While he was on the field, Carson Wentz made the city of Philadelphia believe that they have finally found their franchise quarterback.

At the time of his injury, Wentz was the league leader in passing touchdowns (and still finished in second with 33 TD’s despite missing the last three games of the season), finished first in total QBR (75.9), threw for 3,296 yards and led his team to an 11-2 record.

On top of that, Wentz has proven that he has that “It” Factor. He put up several dominating performances, even in the national spotlight, and consistently made timely plays in critical moments, leading his team to wins.

What he might be best known for, however, is his incredible ability to make something out of nothing as shown below.

This not only is a credit to Carson Wentz as a player but also often bails his team out of tough situations.

Assuming his rehab goes well and he returns to form, Wentz should return to being one of the best young quarterbacks (and arguably one of the best quarterbacks, period.) in the NFL. He should be in good position to make another case for MVP next January.

1. Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers is my favorite to win the 2018 NFL MVP.

There is no player, let alone quarterback, who has been asked to do more with minimal help than Aaron Rodgers has.

In other words, no other player is as valuable to their team as Aaron Rodgers is to the Green Bay Packers.

This was more than evident this past year as Green Bay went from a 4-1 start with Rodgers to 3-8 without him after he suffered a broken collarbone. With him, the Packers are a title contending team and without him, they’re in the bottom third of the league.

Aaron Rodgers is so valuable to his team because often times, he practically is the entire team. Prior to his injury, his backfield consisted of rookies and was led by a wide receiver.

Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams were both productive at the receiver position but Rodgers often had to evade pressure and deliver difficult passes to them as he was protected by an offensive line riddled with injuries.

Not to mention, Green Bay had what many considered to be an average at best defense.

In spite of this severe lack of help, Aaron Rodgers is still able to dominate en route to (many times single-handedly) winning games for his team. He’s capable of making incredibly difficult throws that virtually no other quarterback is capable of making. Rodgers simply makes things happen in the most pivotal moments of games.

Aaron Rodgers is on track to be fully healthy by the start of the season. With a healthy offensive line, a new weapon in TE Jimmy Graham and a defense that should be good enough to get the job done, there’s a good chance he will return to his usual dominant self.

If this is the case – and it’s looking like it will be – he will be in a great position to remind the league why he is the most valuable player in the NFL.