NFL MVP 2013: Under-the-Radar Players Who Deserve Attention

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIDecember 24, 2013

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 15:  Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum on December 15, 2013 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

When it comes to the 2013 NFL MVP award, it's Peyton Manning and then everyone else.

But there are other names that deserve attention as well.  They may not win the award, but these players have been crucial to the success of their respective teams and should at least be nominated.

Below is a look at a few of these names, breaking down what they've done this season and explaining why they deserve to be at least in the conversation of potential MVP candidates.


Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

While he may be the biggest name on this list, Jamaal Charles is being overshadowed in his own division by Manning.  But don't let that fool you, because Charles is having one of the best seasons in the league for any player.

After another solid performance in the loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Charles has now run for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns this year, averaging 5.0 yards per carry.  On top of that, he's added another 693 receiving yards and seven scores through the air, giving him 1,980 total yards and 19 total touchdowns.  

While LeSean McCoy for the Philadelphia Eagles has more total yards, he also has nine fewer touchdowns, making Charles the favorite running back for the MVP award.

Had the Kansas City Chiefs not lost three straight games after starting 9-0 and beat more than one team this season with a winning record, Charles would be getting a lot more attention.  But since the team has struggled recently, it hurts his chances.


Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 8:  Josh Gordon #12 of the Cleveland Browns catches a pass before a game with the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 8, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

It's completely ridiculous to have a wide receiver in the running for the MVP award, especially one on a losing team at the bottom of their respective division.

Or is it?

It's hard to deny just how good Josh Gordon has been this season for the Cleveland Browns.  He's caught 80 passes for 1,564 yards, averaging an insane 19.6 yards per reception, along with nine touchdowns.  He leads the league in receiving yards, catches of 20 yards or more and yards per reception.

Oh, and he's done that all despite not playing in the team's first two games.  If you take his numbers from 13 games, he would be on pace to have approximately 98 catches for 1,925 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Perhaps the most amazing thing of all is that he's done all of this with Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell throwing him the ball.  If he had a legitimate quarterback, Gordon would likely shatter NFL records with that kind of production.

Gordon probably won't even be in the discussion because of how poorly his team has played, but there is no wide receiver in the league this year who has been as important to his team as Gordon.


Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

If it wasn't for Nick Foles, the Eagles would still be playing with Michael Vick, and they would have been eliminated from playoff contention a very long time ago.

That might sound like a bit of an overstatement, but Vick wasn't the answer to Chip Kelly's offense.  On the other hand, Foles has been a perfect fit, throwing for 2,628 yards, 25 touchdowns and just two interceptions this season, giving him a passer rating of 118.8.  That passer rating is the highest in the NFL, even higher than Manning's.

If you ignore the two games in September for Foles, he's essentially had all of that production (minus one touchdown and 49 yards) in 10 games.  If we take that pace in 16 games, he would have around 4,126 yards, 38 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

Since retaking the starting job from Vick, Foles has led the Eagles to a 6-1 record, and they are now a game away from taking the NFC East title.  Foles has turned this team around, and he deserves to be in the MVP conversation despite not starting the entire season.