Is Terry McLaurin really the Commanders’ non-QB MVP?
By Jerry Trotta
The Washington Commanders haven’t boasted an NFL MVP since quarterback Joe Theismann took home the honors back in 1983. In many ways, that triumph can be correlated to the modern-day NFL, when the MVP race has essentially become an annual competition amongst the league’s upper-echelon quarterbacks.
Former Washington running back Adrian Peterson was the last non-QB to win the award when he compiled 2,097 rushing yards with the Vikings in 2012. Besides that outlier, quarterbacks have been named MVP 14 times in the last 15 seasons.
If you can believe it, zero wide receivers, cornerbacks, safeties or off-ball linebackers have won the award. The season before Theismann won the hardware, Washington kicker (!) Mark Moseley was shockingly named league MVP; a feat that’ll likely never be replicated by another kicker (sorry Justin Tucker).
There was some buzz behind Jonathan Taylor and Cooper Kupp beating out a quarterback for last year’s trophy, but it was ultimately given to Aaron Rodgers for the second straight season, further hammering home the notion it’s a QBs award.
With fans waiting impatiently for the start of training camp, NFL Media writer Kevin Patra bent the rules and hand-picked every team’s non-quarterback MVP. As you would expect, Terry McLaurin got the nod for the Commanders. This begs the question of whether the star receiver is really the team’s MVP.
Is Terry McLaurin the Commanders’ most valuable non-quarterback?
Here’s why Patra thinks McLaurin deserves the title.
"Fresh off inking a fat new contract, McLaurin is in a prime position to dominate in 2022. The Commanders’ best weapon feasts on all coverages and his vice-grip hands make the toughest catches seem routine. In his first three NFL seasons, he compiled 222 catches, 3,090 receiving yards and 16 TDs. He did so despite being the main focus of defenses and playing with a cornucopia of middling quarterbacks.I’m not the biggest Carson Wentz fan, but if McLaurin can put up 1K yards catching passes from Taylor Heinicke, Garrett Gilbert, Kyle Allen, Dwayne Haskins and a weakened Alex Smith, he can soar with Wentz. McLaurin is one of the most underrated dominant receivers in the NFL. It’s time for the general public to take notice."
It’s admittedly hard to argue against McLaurin being the Commanders most important non-quarterback. If this question was asked last offseason, Brandon Scherff might have taken the cake given the team’s record with him in the starting lineup compared to when he was shelved due to injury.
The receiver position has grown in importance over the years, but couldn’t you argue defensive linemen are more (or just as) important? Pass rush always has and always will reign supreme in the NFL, especially in the playoffs, so you could make a compelling case for Jonathan Allen or Chase Young to unseat McLaurin.
With Young coming off an ACL injury, Allen probably gets the nod over him. While defensive tackles aren’t regarded as highly as receivers, Allen was without question Washington’s most valuable player last season as McLaurin — albeit due to subpar QB play — was held to under 60 receiving yards in game games.
Allen, meanwhile, finished all 17 contests with at least one QB hit. He recorded multiple quarterback hits in nine games, at least one tackle for loss in seven fixtures and one sack in eight games. In terms of QB pressures, Allen logged at least four pressures in nine games and his 67 pressures finished second among DTs while his 90.9 pass-rush grade placed third, according to PFF.
Keep in mind Allen was this consistent while Young and Montez Sweat, who are supposed to make his job easier, missed a combined 15 games.
This obviously takes nothing away from McLaurin. The offense would crash and burn without Terry’s steadying presence. We just would’ve liked to see Allen get more recognition after he carried the front seven last season.
Is a co-MVP possible?