Despite the disappointment in finishing with a 7-10 record, the Denver Broncos had three players whose performances were a beacon of light through a cloudy season. The team's three most valuable players demonstrated high-impact performance, toughness, and a can-do attitude. T
These Broncos are the foundation for getting the team back to playoff contention. Below are the three players worthy of 2021 MVP status for Denver. But which takes home the honor?
Javonte Williams | RB
The rookie's violent running style made Broncos fans roar with delight as they watched him run over helpless defenders. Williams finished ranked No. 1 in Pro Football Focus' missed tackles forced.
Even though he split carries with veteran Melvin Gordon, the rookie gained 903 rushing yards and averaged 4. 4 yards per carry. Most importantly, Williams gave the offense a much-needed physical identity.
Opposing defensive coordinators had to make stopping Denver's run game the top priority. Next season, look for Williams to assume the mantle of RB1.
Patrick Surtain II | CB
During the NFL draft evaluation process, scouts commonly referred to Surtain as 'NFL ready'. The rookie out of Alabama did not disappoint in his debut.
Surtain's size, speed, physicality, and ability to diagnose plays make him a difference-maker. The rookie sensation had four interceptions and 49 solo tackles.
In November, he was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week and was selected to PFF's All-Rookie team. The Broncos now have a lockdown corner with generational talent.
Justin Simmons | S
The veteran safety had a stellar 2021 season. After signing a four-year, $61 million extension, Simmons appeared determined to prove the Broncos organization made the right decision.
The veteran secured five interceptions and 62 solo tackles. On occasion, in critical short-yardage situations, Simmons contributed by playing in the box in order to support stopping the run.
Beyond the stats, Simmons played an essential role as the leader of the defense. With multiple injuries at the linebacker position, the veteran had to lend his voice to help ensure assignments were clear across the entire defense.
After Von Miller was traded, Simmons became without question the face of the franchise. Besides his athletic gifts, Simmons effectively communicates with teammates, media, and fans and is a bonafide force multiplier.
Not surprisingly, Simmons was again selected as the team's Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee for his charity work in the community. Despite being snubbed in the Pro Bowl voting (first alternate), Simmons was named second-team All-Pro for the second time in his career.
The MVP: Simmons
As GM George Paton looks to hire a new head coach, he can go into the interviews with prospective candidates with a bit of swagger. In the back of his mind, he knows, besides quarterback, the Broncos have ample talent on the roster to put a winning product on the field.
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