Stacking the NFL’s 100 most valuable players: What the race for MVP should really look like
When the Associated Press changed its format to allow NFL MVP voters to make their top five selections — instead of picking a single player — it was an overdue and welcome change. But I want more.
A top five is fun, but you know what’s better? A top 10. Actually, a top 25 would be ideal, to really get to some interesting names. A top 50 maybe? If we’re doing top 50, might as well do 100. So I did just that and put together a 100-player Most Valuable Player ballot for the 2022 NFL season.
I enjoy award season because it forces us to draw lines in the sand. We can all agree Nick Bosa, Myles Garrett and Micah Parsons were phenomenal this year. But who was the best? In football, award decisions aren’t always as tough as this year’s Defensive Player of the Year race, and the MVP is rightfully dominated by quarterbacks. That’s why I wanted a 100-player ballot — to work in questions of positional value and dig below the elite of the elites.
Before we get into it, a few words on the process:
This is a purely descriptive exercise. It’s simply a measure of who generated more value in 2022.
The ballot, obviously, represents my opinion. That opinion is naturally inclined toward data-based evidence — ranging from pass block win rates to our Receiver Tracking Metrics. I also relied on qualitative analysis such as Pro Football Focus grades, awards (All-Pro teams) and the opinions of colleagues and people that work in the league.
How did I decide to reconcile valuing different positions? I focused on how much value a player created relative to an average starter at their position. This means quarterbacks will dominate the top of the list because the difference between the best quarterback and an average quarterback is much larger than the difference between the best guard and an average guard. But it also means there can be no more than 16 quarterbacks, because any player outside the top half is a relative negative, since a team can only start one QB at a time.
Let’s get to the ballot.
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