It feels odd naming an MVP for a 2-6 team halfway through the season. It might feel even more odd for the player named the MVP under the circumstances, but sometimes you just have to embrace the weird, right?
MVP: Rashaan Melvin, CB
Melvin was a huge boost for a team that had just lost Vontae Davis to injury before the season started, and was filling most of their secondary positions with fresh-faced rookies.
He’s posted 2 interceptions, 11 passes defended and 23 tackles in 7 games this year according to Pro Football Reference. He continues to make play after play, making it very tough for quarterbacks to throw to his side of the field.
In fact, Pro Football Focus backs up the claim that he has been a major playmaker for the Colts thus far:
These CBs have been ballhawks this season pic.twitter.com/J60ryeXxEv— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 31, 2017
Where Colt Rashaan Melvin's PFF grade ranked amongst CBs in 2016; 52nd. Where it ranks in 2017; 5th.— PFF IND Colts (@PFF_Indy) October 20, 2017
Their charting isn’t overly reliable, but while watching Chuckles and Co. bumble through the season, Melvin’s play has stood out enough to back these numbers up. This includes when he carried the defense to victory, with 2 interceptions, against the Cleveland Browns.
If his play can be stretched out throughout the entire 16-week season, he may be rewarded with a shiny new contract and permit Indianapolis to let Vontae Davis go, which will allow them to potentially gain a compensatory pick as well. Basically, Melvin has made it possible for this defense to maintain a Davis-level talent, while also being rewarded with an extra pick by letting the actual Davis walk.
Runner-up: Jabaal Sheard, OLB
A respectable portion of the Stampede Blue community was debating whether Melvin or John Simon deserved MVP honors, but Sheard’s play merits serious recognition too.
Sheard has made it look as though the Horseshoe has some semblance of a pass rush this year, and though his 2.5 sacks trail Simon’s 3, he has gotten there via the more traditional route.
Simon has showcased favorable pass rush skills as well, but he’s mostly shown a knack for getting pressure via blitzes.
Sheard, on the other hand, has been getting to the quarterback from his outside linebacker spot going one-on-one against offensive linemen and/or tight ends.
Both have been great against the run, but again I would be inclined to say Sheard has a small edge over Simon in this facet of the game. In fact, Sheard may be one of the premiere run defenders from the edge:
The NFL leaders in run stops among edge defenders pic.twitter.com/h5KIvXIgD0— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 29, 2017
With that said, a case can easily be made for Simon as well, including, but not limited to, his ability to make a Spider-Man like catch on a pick 6, like he did here:
In fact, MVP arguments could even be made for some of the rookies including Malik Hooker, Nate Hairston and Marlon Mack, which is infinitely encouraging to see.
The sad realization is that almost no offensive players are viable candidates for midseason MVP. T.Y. Hilton could be called upon as an MVP contender, but he has had an utterly inconsistent season, which could be attributed to the also up and down play from the quarterback position.
It’s safe to say that this is a close race mostly due to the dearth of talent on this roster, which will need further revamping during the off-season.
Let us know your thoughts via the poll and the comments section below.
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