49ers MVP candidate No. 1: WR Deebo Samuel
Trey Lance probably stands as San Francisco’s most realistic MVP candidate, given the preference for the award going to quarterbacks.
Yet the 49ers’ most-valuable offensive player is, without question, Deebo Samuel.
Samuel’s contractual standoff with the Niners aside (let’s assume that gets figured out), one can assume his breakout 2021 campaign should be an indicator of things to come. After all, recording 1,770 total yards from scrimmage last season, third most in the league, was done in such a unique way with him being a dual-threat weapon, both catching passes for chunk gains through the air and serving as a legitimate rushing prowess out of the backfield.
Now, Lance’s presence and potential as a dynamic passing/rushing threat might mean the 49ers don’t funnel their offense through Samuel as much as they did a year ago, which would likely hinder the receiver’s MVP chances.
Despite that, few offensive players in the league hold the kind of prowess Samuel has, and that’ll surely factor into the MVP discussion by the time 2022 comes to a close.