10 dark-horse Super Bowl MVP candidates who aren’t Patrick Mahomes, Brock Purdy

San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages
8 of 10

3. Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers

He finished fourth on the team this season in terms of receptions (60), yet he tied for the club lead with seven touchdown catches. He was third on the club in rushing yards, but only All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey (14) reached the end zone more often when it came to the run (5).

Versatile wide receiver Deebo Samuel enjoyed a monster year in 2021 when he earned All-Pro honors. He finished with 1,770 total yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns. This season, he played in 15 games and came up with the second-most yards from scrimmage (1,117) while reaching the end zone 12 times.

Samuel is as dangerous a weapon as there is in the NFL because of his ability to run and catch. He’s a very physical performer once he gets the ball in his hands.

So, what are the odds that a wide receiver can come away with the game’s MVP award. Perhaps a little better than you think. While quarterbacks have won the award 32 times, wideouts are second on the list (8) and have earned the honor twice in the past five games. There was Rams’ star Cooper Kupp in Super Bowl LVI and three years earlier, New England’s Julian Edelman got the nod in Super Bowl LIII.