Lowest NFL draft picks to win MVP: Brock Purdy could join Kurt Warner, Tom Brady as out-of-nowhere winners

As we near the end of the 2023 NFL season, the MVP discourse gets louder every week.

Sitting atop the chart as the betting favorite to win the award heading into Week 16 is 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, which has caused differentiating opinions among the media.

Purdy has been incredible for first-place San Francisco, throwing for 3,795 yards and a league-leading 29 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. The NFL MVP has increasingly become known as a quarterback award, going to a signal caller every season since Adrian Peterson took it home in 2012.

So why the uproar?

There is no denying Purdy is surrounded by talented weapons, from NFL rushing leader Christian McCaffrey and star receiver Deebo Samuel, to stud tight end George Kittle and All-Pro tackle Trent Williams.

There’s an argument to be had that McCaffrey is as deserving as Purdy, but other QBs like Lamar Jackson and Dak Prescott are still in the mix, too.

MORE: Brock Purdy surges to front of MVP race after win over Cardinals

However, if Purdy were to take home the award, he would place himself among the least likely candidates to ever win NFL MVP.

As the “Mr. Irrelevant” of the 2022 NFL Draft, would Purdy be the lowest draft pick to ever win MVP? The Sporting News takes a closer look below.

Lowest NFL Draft picks to win MVP

The lowest draft pick to win NFL MVP is a little subjective considering the NFL Draft has undergone various changes over the years.

Going off of pick number, Washington Redskins kicker Mark Moseley takes the honor of drafted MVPs, being selected with the 346th pick in the 14th round of the 1970 NFL Draft. Moseley is also the only kicker in NFL history to win MVP, making 20 of 21 field goal attempts during the 1982 strike-shortened season.

In the modern-day NFL Draft format, you could probably guess the lowest pick to win MVP.

Tom Brady was, famously, selected with the 199th pick in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, going on to win three MVPs over his illustrious career.

The lowest non-quarterback to win MVP in the modern-day NFL Draft format is Broncos running back Terrell Davis, who was taken with the 196th pick in the sixth round of the 1995 NFL Draft. Davis rushed for a league-leading 2,008 yards and 21 touchdowns during his MVP season in 1998.

Here is the complete list of the lowest draft picks in NFL history to win MVP:

Player Position MVP season Pick Round Draft Year
Kurt Warner QB 1999, 2001 Undrafted 1994
Mark Moseley K 1982 346 14 1970
Brian Sipe QB 1980 330 13 1972
Bart Starr QB 1966 200 17 1956
Tom Brady QB 2007, 2010, 2017 199 6 2000
Terrell Davis RB 1998 196 6 1995
Larry Brown RB 1972 191 9 1969
Johnny Unitas QB 1959, 1964, 1967 102 17 1956
Joe Theismann QB 1983 99 4 1971
Rich Gannon QB 2002 98 4 1987
Norm Van Brocklin QB 1960 37 4 1949

If Purdy were to win NFL MVP in 2023, he would supplant Brady as the lowest pick in the modern-day era to take home the award. Purdy was “Mr. Irrelevant,” taken with the last pick (262nd in the seventh round) of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Has an undrafted player won NFL MVP?

Only one undrafted player in NFL history has won MVP and that honor belongs to Kurt Warner, who did it twice.

Warner went undrafted in the 1994 NFL Draft out of Northern Iowa. He tried out for the Green Bay Packers but didn’t make the cut, beginning his professional career in the Arena Football League.

After two seasons in the AFL, he took his talents to NFL Europe where he played one season for the Amsterdam Admirals. Warner led the league in touchdowns and passing yards, proving he was ready for the NFL.

The unheralded star took over as the starting quarterback of a loaded St. Louis Rams team in 1999, going on to win NFL MVP in his first season after throwing for 4,353 yards and a league-leading 41 touchdowns en route to a Super Bowl title.

His teammate, star running back Marshall Faulk, won NFL MVP the following season, but Warner took home the award again in 2001.

In his second MVP season, Warner led the league with 4,830 passing yards and 36 touchdowns but St. Louis lost to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

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