Broncos QB Russell Wilson shaping up to be dark-horse MVP pick?

Most of the time, the NFL MVP is a quarterback. Can Russell Wilson be at least in the conversation during his first year with Sean Payton?

Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

A dark-horse MVP candidate is a player that can outperform and play way better than what is expected of this specific player. Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson is a nine-time Pro Bowler, a former Second-Team All-Pro, and a Super Bowl Champion with the Seattle Seahawks, but has never received an MVP vote during his career.

Following his trade to the Broncos, expectations were high, and people thought that the Russell trade was the final piece for Denver to be a contender, at least in the AFC, again. But it ended up being the total opposite. Wilson's first season in Denver was a complete disaster. It was not entirely his fault, but in the end, football is a team sport, so overall, the 2022-23 season was a complete failure for the Broncos, as they finished with a top-five NFL Draft pick, which was sent to Seattle as part of the Wilson trade. Rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett was fired before the season ended.

Rich Gannon is a former NFL quarterback and one of the "33rd Team" analysts. He, alongside another five analysts from the network, including former NFL head coach Chuck Pagano, wrote an article titled "6 Darkhorse MVP Candidates in 2023". Each of the six analysts picked one player that can be a Darkhorse MVP candidate in the upcoming 2023 season.

Gannon, a former Raiders quarterback, picked a Denver Broncos player as his candidate. This player is, of course, Russell Wilson. In the article, Gannon mentions the following regarding Russ, and why he can be a Darkhorse MVP candidate in 2023:

""Russell Wilson has been close to winning MVP a couple of times, and despite his train wreck of a season last year with the Denver Broncos, he is certainly more than capable of getting the train back on the tracks. He is now with one of the best coaches and play callers in the game in Sean Payton, and I expect Wilson to get back to playing with more confidence, production and consistency.""

Rich Gannon, The 33rd Team

The Denver Broncos, at least on paper, improved the roster and the coaching staff, by trading for Super Bowl champion head coach Sean Payton, and by signing players including Mike McGlinchey, Ben Powers, Zach Allen, and Frank Clark in free agency, by re-signing 2022 breakout player Alex Singleton, and by drafting Marvin Mims, Riley Moss, Drew Sanders, JL Skinner, and Alex Forsyth.


Additionally, offensive tackle Garett Bolles, wide receiver Tim Patrick and maybe running back Javonte Williams are expected to be fully healthy for the start of the upcoming season. The Broncos must forget what happened last season with Russ and have a strong start of the season, to be contenders again.

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