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Three Giants in ESPN’s list of Top 100 2022 MVPs; Saquon Barkley snubbed

Some emerging stars and one big omission

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

While it’s unlikely that anyone on the New York Giants will be taking home this year’s NFL MVP award, Big Blue did get some recognition in ESPN’s latest exercise: a ranking of the 2022 season’s top 100 MVP candidates.

The list is based around criteria including advanced metrics and Pro Football Focus grades, but positional value was a big factor. That means quarterbacks and other premium positions dominate the list, because the gap between top-ranked Patrick Mahomes and a league-average quarterback is huge.

Let’s break down the Giants’ representation:

27. Andrew Thomas, OT

Thomas has emerged as a top-flight left tackle, anchoring a surprisingly effective Giants offense. One area where Thomas stood out was a lack of penalties. He was flagged just once all year, for a 5-yard illegal formation penalty.

Lane Johnson of the Philadelphia Eagles is the only offensive lineman ranked above Thomas, even though the list is dominated by tackles.

31. Dexter Lawrence, DT

What makes Lawrence’s production — 7.5 sacks and a 17% pass rush win rate at defensive tackle (fourth-best) — so impressive is that he did it while mostly playing nose tackle. In fact, 288 of Lawrence’s 444 pass rushes this season came as a 0- or 1-technique, per NFL Next Gen Stats. As a result, he had the ninth-highest double-team rate at defensive tackle but still made an impact in the pass rush.

Lawrence is ranked as the second-most valuable defensive tackle after Chris Jones. He’s listed well ahead of Quinnen Williams and Aaron Donald.

48. Daniel Jones, QB

There are 14 quarterbacks on the list, 11 of whom are ranked above Jones. It’s a huge indicator of Jones’ progress to see him even mentioned in these rankings. But at the same time, there’s a sizable gap on the list between Jones and some other quarterbacks who are arguably in the same tier, such as Tua Tagovailoa ranked at No. 12 and Jared Goff at No. 15.

Saquon Barkley does not appear on the list. The positional value aspect of the rankings left running backs struggling to make the cut. Only six of them made it — Christian McCaffrey, Nick Chubb, Austin Ekeler, Josh Jacobs, Travis Etienne and Derrick Henry — with McCaffrey the highest-ranked at No. 50. Still, it’s surprising to see a player who was at one point in the conversation for Offensive Player of the Year left out entirely.