When considering the MVP award in a lost year, you’re really talking about the kind of players who help the team weather bad stretches and excel during the good ones. Ideally, these are the indispensable players, the ones central to the team’s identity and great no matter how poorly the team around them is faring.
Here are our picks for 2019. You’ll notice a theme.
The Falcons had yet another uneven year with the offense never really getting out of second gear. Julio Jones should just get the MVP every season but Grady Jarrett took another big step after signing his blockbuster deal. Defensive tackles rarely show up on the stat sheet, but Jarrett was still 0.5 sacks from leading the team in getting after the quarterback. He has unquestionably become on the league’s premier defensive linemen, and in so many games felt like the only defensive presence. He definitely earns the team MVP for his consistency and unstoppable effort. - Matt Chambers
To me, the question is simply this: Who was the most valuable player all year long? I think you’d have a hard time arguing for anyone other than Jarrett.
Fresh off a monster offseason deal, Jarrett put up his best NFL season thus far, finishing the year with 7.5 sacks, a league-best number of run stuffs, 12 tackles for loss and 16 quarterback hits. He had maybe two games all year that could be described as “off” by his standards, and even then he was still probably the best defender on the field for both of them. Jarrett is the absolute gold standard for this defense, the team’s best defender, and the man who kept them vaguely afloat in the first half of the season on that side of the ball and keyed the improved performance in the second half. The Falcons wouldn’t have done much of anything in this miserable year without him, and he deserve every honor you can lob at him. - Dave Choate
I know that Grady is the best player on the team at this point, but in my eyes the most consistent and reliable in 2019 was our franchise left tackle. For all the moaning fans do about Jake, he was easily our best offensive lineman on the year and he finished 6th in PFFs blocking and allowed pressures, ahead of guys like Taylor Lewan, Andrew Whitworth and Tyron Smith.
He did this while the team rotated multiple guys at the left guard spot next to him, creating uncertainty and instability to his right. He did this while Alex Mack had a down season (for his standards) overall. He did this while being left out on an island with extra blocking help going to the right side of the line.
He’s everything you could want at one of the most difficult positions to scout in the NFL. This year, he elevated his play yet again when everything around him was regressing. That’s impressive. - David Walker
While I’d like to join DW in going against the grain here, I have to stick with the consensus after Jarrett’s dominant campaign. Week in and week out, Jarrett showed up and put on a performance — whether that was during the defense’s resurgence in the second half, or in that first half of the season where he was the only defender who played well.
Jarrett should have been a Pro Bowler a long time ago, but I guess it’s better late than never for him to have been selected to his first Pro Bowl this year. The Clemson man solidified his status as one of the most dominant interior defensive lineman in football, and he more than justified the contract extension the Falcons gave him this past offseason. - Adnan Ikic