NFL wide receivers that should have been league MVP: 21. Steve Smith, 2005
Steve Smith was the little engine that could for most of his career. He was never the biggest or most talented, but he was always the most tenacious receiver in the league and a lot of people could argue he was the toughest. He played most of his career for the Carolina Panthers, and because they were never a perennial NFL powerhouse, he would often fall under the radar.
In 2005, he made sure everyone knew his name. He led the league in receptions (103), yards (1,563), and touchdowns (12). He literally led the league in every main statistic for all receivers in 2005. He did this with Jake Delhomme as his quarterback. How is that not MVP worthy?
The Panthers went from 7-9 in 2004 to 11-5 in 2005. Smith led this team to heights they thought were in the past. Smith was injured for the majority of 2004, which shows just how important he was to this franchise. His presence was the main factor in the Panthers adding four wins from year to year.
Again, how could anyone else argue they were the MVP that season? Okay, Shaun Alexander had himself an insane season that year, but Smith deserved a lot more credit. He was the best receiver in the league, and it wasn’t particularly close. And he didn’t even get a vote? He trailed Tiki Barber? It really is hard to be a wide receiver in the NFL.