Not just for QBs: Examining Christian McCaffrey’s MVP chances

Carolina Panthers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) — If you’re Patrick Mahomes, recent history suggests a back-to-back MVP honor is headed your way.

If you’re Christian McCaffrey, you’re not buying it.

Eleven out of the last 12 MVP winners have been quarterbacks, but Carolina Panthers dynamo running back may put a dent in history.

His historic yards from scrimmage pace will likely keep him ahead on the minds of many voters as the season progresses.

With his output and usage in the Panthers as high as ever, there is no reason why McCaffrey can’t reach his current pace of 2,771 scrimmage yards, barring injuries.

The feat would shatter ECU alum Chris Johnson’s 2,509 scrimmage yard mark.

Many figured McCaffrey might take a slight step backward with Kyle Allen in at quarterback, but he hasn’t. All you need to do is get him the ball and he has shown the ability to do the rest.

McCaffrey and former Buffalo Bills running back Thurman Thomas are the only players in NFL history to record at least 500 rushing yards and 250 receiving yards in their team’s first five games of a season. Thomas accomplished the feat in 1991, the year he won MVP. 

McCaffrey may become just the third running back to rush for 1,000 yards while accumulating 1,000 receiving yards (Marshall Faulk, 1999 and Roger Craig, 1985). Unfortunately, neither guy won an MVP award for their efforts.

Though the Panthers have a solid team all-around, if they make the playoffs, much of their success will be attributed to McCaffrey, which heightens his MVP chances.

Besides, isn’t that the true point of the award?

Currently, he leads the NFL in carries (105), yards (587), yards per game (117.4), touches (136) and yards from scrimmage (866). He’s averaging 5.6 yards per carry while having 31 catches for 279 yards and seven total touchdowns on the year — including an 84-yard scamper against the Jaguars in Week 5 — the longest run in Panthers franchise history.

His 866 yards from scrimmage to open the season is the second-most in NFL history since 1950, behind only Jim Brown’s 988 in that 1963 season, per NFL Research.

Even if the league’s darling Patrick Mahomes continues to sling touchdowns with his eyes closed, or another talent like Seattle’s Russell Wilson makes a strong case, it will be hard to ignore the video game-like numbers McCaffrey continues to put up week-to-week when it’s time to vote.

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