Atlanta Falcons: Roddy White Is Making His Case for MVP Award

Ryan ComstockCorrespondent IOctober 26, 2010

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Roddy White #84 of the Atlanta Falcons against the Arizona Cardinals at Georgia Dome on September 19, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Roddy White has steadily improved in each season he has been with the Atlanta Falcons, and in 2010 he is on his way to a major breakout, and possibly historic, season.

White had not garnered much national attention before this season, but with the way he has been playing so far, he is impossible to ignore.

Through seven weeks of the season, White is first in receptions (54), first in yards (747), first in yards per game (106.7) and first in first downs (36) among all NFL receivers.

He also leads the league in targets with 82 and his five touchdowns have him tied with several other players for sixth in the league.  For sake of comparison, he has as many touchdowns as future Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss.

White is on pace for 123 receptions and 1,707 yards.  Those numbers would give him the fifth best season in NFL history yardage-wise and would tie him with Wes Welker and Herman Moore for the second most single-season receptions, behind Marvin Harrison's 143, set in 2002 (which, by the way, is an absolutely ridiculous number).

White's rise to elite status over the past few seasons has to have taken many people by surprise as it was not long ago that he was being looked at as a huge bust.

Drafted 27th overall in the 2005 NFL Draft—a somewhat controversial pick since Atlanta had taken receiver Michael Jenkins in the first round the year before and had given up their 2003 first-round pick in a trade with Buffalo for receiver Peerless Price—White did not do much in his first two years in the league.

In his 2005 rookie season he had just 29 receptions for 446 yards and three touchdowns, then returned in 2006 to bring in 30 receptions for 506 yards and no touchdowns.

White did show some flashes of his ability in those campaigns, but also had a problem with dropped passes, earning the nickname "Skillet Hands" from some Falcon faithful.

The front office had even reportedly lost faith in him, questioning both his talent and his work ethic.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, in an otherwise disastrous 2007 season that saw the team's quarterback go to prison and its new coach, Bobby Petrino, sneak away in the middle of the year, White exploded.

He grabbed 83 balls for 1,202 yards and six touchdowns that year, finally showing that first-round draft pick potential.

White has only gotten better since then, and has clearly become quarterback Matt Ryan's go-to guy in 2010.

His play should land him not only in the discussion for best receiver, but also for MVP.

The award has never gone to a receiver and has generally been a best quarterback or best running back award.

White has not been an ordinary receiver, though, and those who give out the award needn't look further than Atlanta's Week 4 game against San Francisco, when he stripped the ball from 49ers defensive back Nate Clements after an interception, leading to the game-winning field goal.

It is downright scary to think of where this team would be without White, and that, to most, is the definition of an MVP.