Over at ESPN, Bill Barnwell went through an exercise of trying to come up with likely candidates for the 2020 NFL MVP. Last year Lamar Jackson won it, although Barnwell reminds us that some of the trendy picks for the trophy before the season started were Carson Wentz, Baker Mayfield and Mitchell Trubisky! Yikes.
Barnwell doesn’t exactly try to narrow the field down, ending up with 260 candidates based on positions that have won the trophy before. He even includes kickers because back in a strike-shortened 1982 season, a kicker, Mark Moseley, won the MVP award.
While not exactly the same as 1982, the 2020 season will be remembered as another odd season, and could get weirder as things progress. We’re already likely to be without preseason games, and there will be an oddly structured training camp. There still remains a possibility that the season could be shortened and we won’t get 16 games (if it is played at all). Plus there will be players who get sick with COVID-19, and others who could opt-out.
All of that makes for a less-than-normal year. Out of that chaos, Barnwell breaks his 260 candidates into different categories. The Cowboys have players in five of those categories, but Barnwell picks a favorite from each group, and only Dak Prescott is selected as a favorite.
After not placing any players in the “Hall-of-Fame QBs” and the “QBs on rookie deals” categories. Prescott ends up in a group of 14 players in the “Established, effective starting quarterbacks” category. From that group, he is tabbed as Barnwell’s favorite.
Group III: Established, effective starting quarterbacks
Candidates (14): Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr, Kirk Cousins, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jared Goff, Cam Newton, Dak Prescott, Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Ryan Tannehill, Tyrod Taylor, Carson Wentz, Russell Wilson
My favorite from this group: Prescott. Are the stars aligned for Prescott? He has one of the league’s best sets of weapons and continuity with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. He quietly threw for 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns last season while adding three touchdowns on the ground. The Cowboys had a disappointing season at 8-8, but their 10.7 Pythagorean wins and 0-6 record in games decided by seven points or fewer (after going 8-2 in those games the season prior) make it extremely likely that they’ll improve in 2020. Also, though I don’t think this matters all that much, Prescott has everything to play for after failing to come to terms on an extension with the Cowboys before the July 15 deadline.
Statistically, Prescott had a big year in 2019. But the up-and-down play of the team overall, and a few clunkers from the quarterback meant that he was not in the serious discussion as a candidate by the end of the year. This year, having played for Kellen Moore once, and adding Mike McCarthy who is known to throw the ball and elevate the play of QBs, it’s a possibility to envision him chasing an MVP trophy. Of course, for that to really happen he would need a team that is winning big; it’s hard to make a run at MVP on an unsuccessful team.
Finishing out the QBs, Andy Dalton gets lumped into a catch-all category of “Literally any other active quarterback.” He is not the favorite.
From there, it’s mostly the usual suspects. Ezekiel Elliott is in a category of “Running backs who could top 2,000 yards or score 25-plus touchdowns” but he loses out as the favorite from that category to Derrick Henry.
Two Cowboys appear in the “Franchise wide receivers” category - Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. It says something for the Cowboys offense that they have two players that can be considered as franchise wide receivers. The favorite from that category is Michael Thomas.
DeMarcus Lawrence is listed in the “Superstar pass-rushers” category but Aaron Donald is the pick from that group. And finally there are the aforementioned kickers. The Cowboys actually get two players there with both Kai Forbath and Greg Zuerlein listed, but Justin Tucker is the pick.
Honestly, the MVP award in the NFL is a quarterbacks award with a running back sneaking in every so often. In reality, only Prescott or Elliott have a real shot. Especially since Cooper and Gallup will split the receiving stats so that neither one would have the epic year it would require for a receiver to win.
Between Prescott and Elliott, who has the better chance?
Between Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, who has the better chace to win the 2020 MVP Award?
This poll is closed