When thinking about the most valuable players in the NFL, the focus usually turns directly to quarterbacks. However, there are a plethora of players at other positions that teams simply can’t afford to be without.
For example, a player like Travis Kelce comes to mind when considering value to his team, especially considering that the Kansas City Chiefs traded their top receiver, Tyreek Hill, to the Miami Dolphins.
Aaron Donald and Travis Kelce highlight top non-QBs
Quarterbacks typically get the most attention in the NFL, but what about other positions? Marcellus Wiley and Emmanuel Acho share their list of most valuable non-quarterbacks.
Key stats: In 2021, Chase played 17 games and reeled in 81 receptions for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Acho’s thoughts: “I chose Ja’Marr Chase because his team made it to the Super Bowl, and he was the most valuable person outside of the quarterback on his team. Remember, he had a 266-yard game and had over 1,400 yards receiving, breaking the rookie receiving record.”
Key stats: Last season, in 17 games, Andrews caught 107 balls for 1,361 yards and nine touchdowns.
Wiley’s thoughts: “Which tight end had the most receiving yards last year? Which tight end had the most catches last year? When does Lamar Jackson throw the ball when his eyes are closed? Mark Andrews is a beast, and he deserves it.”
Acho’s thoughts: “We know Jimmy G struggled, and we know that Deebo Samuel balls. Why did Deebo Samuel ball, and why was Jimmy G alive to see it? Because of this beast, this monster, this animal, had a First-Team All-Pro season.”
Key stats: In 16 games, Kelce snagged 92 receptions for 1,125 yards and nine touchdowns.
Wiley’s thoughts: “The reason why he’s above Mark Andrews is that there’s no Cheetah now. When you lose Cheetah, the value of Kelce certainly rises on this team.”
Key stats: Donald played all 17 games for the Rams and recorded 12.5 sacks, 38 solo tackles, and four forced fumbles.
Acho’s thoughts: “Ninety-eight sacks for his career, he won the Super Bowl, had two sacks in the Super Bowl, all-around dude, and appears to be the heartbeat of his team.”
Key stats: In 17 games, Garrett recorded 16.0 sacks, 33 solo tackles, and one forced fumble.
Wiley’s thoughts: “Myles Garrett is a monster out there in terms of what he does up front, and it always starts up front. Defensively, turning the corner, he has no weakness. He’s gigantic, he can still bend, he has acceleration, quickness, speed, everything.”
Key stats: Diggs, in 16 games, had 11 interceptions (the most since 1981) for 142 total yards and two touchdowns.
Acho’s thoughts: “The Cowboys defense isn’t good, but he is, and Parsons is. The Cowboys’ defense was 19th in the league in yards given up, which means they bent but they did not break. Why didn’t they break? Because Diggs was breaking on routes.”
Key stats: in 15 games, Watt recorded 22.5 sacks, 48 solo tackles, and five forced fumbles.
Wiley’s thoughts: “T.J. Watt has led the NFL for the last two years in sacks. T.J. Watt is the best at putting those quarterbacks down for the last two years.”
Key stats: In a full season (17 games), Taylor rushed the ball 332 times for 1,811 yards and 18 touchdowns on 5.5 yards per attempt.
Acho’s thoughts: “Eighteen-hundred yards, eight-consecutive games with 100 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown, an NFL record, he tied that. More than anything, they were 9-1 when he rushed for over 100 yards.”
Wiley’s No. 1: Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams
Wiley’s thoughts: “How can he be the best player in the game and then, not number one in terms of value as a non-quarterback? It has to be Aaron Donald at No. 1.”
Get more from National Football League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more.