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2021 Detroit Lions awards: Most Valuable Player

Who was the Lions’ most valuable player in 2021?

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Cincinnati Bengals v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions didn’t have a banner year in 2021—unless you want to raise a literal banner for some former player’s accomplishments. Not only did the Lions finish 3-13-1, but they originally had zero Pro Bowlers (before Jonah Jackson filled in as an alternate), they received no All-Pro votes, and they didn’t even have a single free agent that made PFF’s top 100 for this upcoming offseason.

And none of that feels like a particular snub. The Lions simply didn’t have a player who dominated all year. There were good streaks for some, injuries that shortened the season for others, and a whole lot of players who improved as the season went on, but didn’t truly feel like the “Most Valuable Player.”

That makes the 2021 Detroit Lions MVP award—the final in our award series—tough to deal out. Normally an award just given to Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff’s performance wasn’t good enough to just hand it to the quarterback this year. But there also wasn’t a player whose performance was noticeable every week and made a huge difference.

So it should come as little surprise that our staff has a lot of different nominees for the 2021 Detroit Lions Most Valuable Player award. Check it out.

Previous awards:

So without further ado, here are our choices for 2021 Detroit Lions Most Valuable Player.

2021 Detroit Lions Most Valuable Player

Kellie Rowe: Amon-Ra St. Brown

John Whiticar: Amon-Ra St. Brown

The Lions rattled off three wins in their final six games, and St. Brown was a key reason why. The offense, wide receivers in particular, were unspectacular to start the season. After Dan Campbell took over play calling, the Lions finally started using St. Brown to his full potential, and that potential turned out to be glorious. Regardless of quarterback, the offense ran through St. Brown.

Erik Schlitt: Amon-Ra St. Brown

St. Brown entered training camp with swagger for days, but we didn’t get to see a lot of it during the early parts of the season. As his confidence emerged, so did his production, and it’s no small coincidence that the team followed suit. What he was able to accomplish over the final six games of the season could alter the direction of this franchise for the next decade.

Mike Payton: D’Andre Swift

The Lions MVP. That’s a tough one. I’m going to go with D’Andre Swift. The second-year running back really showed that he keeps getting better and better and he put the team on his back early on in the year before the offense started to open up.

Ryan Mathews: Taylor Decker

For a three-win football team, it feels like a strange exercise to determine a team’s most valuable player. Nevertheless, for this Lions team, I think the MVP was left tackle Taylor Decker. Sure, he only played in nine games, but Decker’s absence marked a dark period for the offense, and his return coincided with the offense turning a corner, both statistically and stylistically. In the Lions’ first eight games, the team averaged 16.7 points per game, ran for 93.1 yards per game, and touted a lowly -18.43 expected points on offense. When Decker returned, the Lions’ points per game output increased to 21.2 ppg, they ran the ball for 126.7 ypg, and their expected points on offense increased to 25.3. Oh yeah, he caught a touchdown pass, too.

Morgan Cannon: Tracy Walker

The only steady presence that was available for the majority of the season, Walker is my MVP in year one of the rebuild. He was the lone veteran leader on a defense ravaged by injuries and cleaned up a lot of issues on the back end of the defense - both pre and post-snap. He was a vocal leader in the locker room and seemed to enjoy how this coaching staff interacts with players. For the right price, I really hope the Lions are able to keep Walker in the fold.

Chris Perfett: Amon-Ra St. Brown

Men are mortal. They fall, wither and die. You can raise your temples and your technologies and all your scientific advancements, but you will be nothing but the statue of Ozymandias in the desert, withering away. All it takes is time, undefeated. But a god is eternal. A god survives on faith, and its splendor echoes across time. Amon-Ra, great of the sun, has risen again. He has come from the sunny lands of southern California. He is catching footballs, he is scoring touchdowns, and he is here, he is eminent and imminent. Praise the Sun God.

Hamza Baccouche: Josh Reynolds

Jeremy Reisman: Charles Harris

While Amon-Ra St. Brown had the most impressive stretch of games, and guys like Josh Reynolds and Taylor Decker deserve a ton of credit for the sudden offensive turnaround, if we’re talking about a player who played the best over the course of the entire season at a high-impact position, the answer is Charles Harris. Harris not only provided consistent pass rush, but was a force in the running game, too. Though his play wasn’t able to lift the entire defensive unit, he did just about as much as you could possibly expect out of him, and that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Poll

Who was the the Lions’ MVP in 2021?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Amon-Ra St. Brown
    (634 votes)
  • 13%
    Taylor Decker
    (149 votes)
  • 4%
    Tracy Walker
    (52 votes)
  • 4%
    D’Andre Swift
    (53 votes)
  • 0%
    Josh Reynolds
    (10 votes)
  • 7%
    Charles Harris
    (87 votes)
  • 13%
    Other
    (160 votes)
1145 votes total Vote Now