On a normal NFL MVP ballot, voters are asked to rank their top five choices for the league's most prestigious on-field honor. Those ballots are then compiled to determine the season's MVP, which will be revealed during NFL Honors ahead of Super Bowl LVIII.
But what if the ballot was expanded? ESPN's Seth Walder expanded his rankings with a 100-player list of MVP candidates, and the Broncos boasted representatives on both sides of the ball. Cornerback Pat Surtain II ranked 42nd following a stellar third season, while left tackle Garett Bolles came in at 52nd after leading the Broncos to strong improvements in their offensive line performance.
In addition to high placements in the overall ranking, Surtain and Bolles ranked in the top five among their position groups. Surtain ranked as the third-most valuable cornerback and sixth-most valuable defensive back, and Bolles ranked as the fifth-most valuable offensive tackle and sixth-most valuable offensive lineman.
Walder also delved into the methodology of his ranking, which combines basic and advanced statistics with awards and player grades.
"The ballot represents my opinion, which is usually heavily influenced by quantitative evidence, such as pass block win rates and our Receiver Tracking Metrics," Walder wrote. "I factor in All-Pro teams and qualitative information such as Pro Football Focus grades, though, too. I also shared versions of the list with trusted colleagues and NFL team staffers to get feedback, which I consider quite valuable."
Surtain earned his second Pro Bowl nod in 2023 and helped spur the Broncos' midseason resurgence on defense. Regarded as one of the league's best cornerbacks, Surtain secured a key fourth-quarter interception against the New York Jets and recorded 12 passes defensed and a career-high 69 total tackles.
Bolles, the longest-tenured Broncos offensive player, shined in his seventh season after missing 12 games in 2022 with a leg injury. He started all 17 games for the Broncos and held Browns All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett to two pressures and no sacks in a Week 12 matchup on Nov. 26.
Click here to read more about ESPN's list of top-100 MVP candidates.