A season ago, Bradley Chubb returned to the field after recovering from his 2019 ACL injury and made his comeback into one of the most heartwarming stories of the year for Broncos fans.
After hearing that he'd been named a Pro Bowler, Chubb struggled to hold back tears in understanding the massive feat he'd achieved, the doubt he'd overcome and the hard work involved in the successful process.
In 2021, Chubb and the Broncos hope for even more happy returns, but could he be the Broncos' most valuable player?
That's just what The Athletic's Nick Kosmider posits. With every Athletic beat reporter was tasked with picking a team MVP for the 2021 season, the Broncos beat reporter picked the fourth-year pass rusher.
"The No. 5 pick in the 2018 draft earned his first Pro Bowl honor last season, and that came on the heels of the ACL injury he suffered four games into the 2019 campaign," Kosmider wrote. "Another year removed from the injury — and with Von Miller returning to command opposite-side attention after missing all of 2020 with an ankle injury — Chubb should be primed for his best season."
The idea that a team's MVP wouldn't be its quarterback perhaps raises some question about the team's prospects, but with Denver having reloaded on defense, the pressure may not be on the starting quarterback — whoever that may be — to be a superstar.
"The Broncos would love for the MVP of their team to be the quarterback," Kosmider wrote, "but they should settle for positive steps from Drew Lock, assuming he can wrest the job from veteran Teddy Bridgewater."
Should Chubb be the MVP, though, perhaps that would imply a ripple effect for the defense. An All-Pro kind of season from Chubb would perhaps mean that Von Miller is productive in helping keep Chubb from receiving too many double-teams, which would also help the secondary and perhaps assist them in wrangling some more turnovers, which would then set up Denver's offense with short fields to get easier scoring opportunities.
Sounds like a potentially MVP-caliber impact to me.
Below the Fold
As Pro Football Focus counts down its ranking of the top 50 players heading into the 2021 season, we're keeping tabs on the Broncos who make the list. The first Bronco to appear is cornerback Bryce Callahan, who came in at No. 36. "Callahan may be the most underrated player in the NFL," Sam Monson wrote.