By Joel Devick
It’s hard to believe we are a quarter of the way through the NFL regular season, but time flies when football is on. The 2017 season has been one of ups and downs, and the league has been in the spotlight for many reasons, other than the play on the field. The MVP race; however, is one of the most underrated story lines not being talked about.
Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Kareem Hunt, the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year, is also the leading candidate for MVP. Hunt, a third-round draft selection this year, leads the NFL in rushing with 502 yards. No other rusher in the league has more than 400 yards, showing how impressive Hunt has been. The Toledo grad is one of many with big-play ability in the Chiefs’ offense, making him not only a top performer, but a fun guy to watch.
Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are the only undefeated team left, and both Hunt and Alex Smith are big reasons why. Smith has abandoned the safe throwing style he was known for before this season for a riskier aerial attack, and it has worked out well. Smith has not only been more lethal, but also extremely efficient. He leads the league in passer rating (124.2), completion percentage (76.0) and has yet to throw an interception. The Chiefs have a scary good offense with Smith airing it out.
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
Lost in the shuffle, somehow, is Tom Brady. The biggest issue for the Patriots, along with Brady, is that when they aren’t on top, they aren’t talked about as much. Without some heroics from Brady in Week 3 against Houston, the Patriots would be 1-3. Nonetheless, Brady is tied for the league lead with 10 passing touchdowns and zero interceptions. Half the battle for a quarterback in winning MVP is getting results, and if Brady can bring out his Week 3 form every week, watch out.
Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Not many people would have picked the Rams to be 3-1 at this point, especially on the back of Todd Gurley and quarterback Jared Goff after both had such poor 2016 seasons. Gurley has started 2017 the way his rookie campaign ended, becoming the motor of the offense. Gurley has recorded 362 rushing and 234 receiving yards against some good defenses, and being in the weaker NFC West could lead to even better numbers down the road.