NFL Top 100

NFL Top 100 Players of 2017:

Once again NFL players voted for their peers to be named among the top 100 for this upcoming season. I want to reiterate that once more. The list might be based on what you saw from these athletes last year, but you project how well they will play in the 2017/18 season. I like the whole idea of it, but players seem to get confused with fellows who missed time or simply didn’t play at the level they’re capable of. Sure, you have to take availability into account, but as long as they’re cleared medically you aren’t supposed to project to them to be injured. At the same time you need to bump players who are suspended for a certain amount of games (like I did with Brady a year ago) or if there still are legitimate health concerns. I didn’t put offensive linemen as high as I would if the list was solely about the best players, since the question is how much value they present and that unit consists of five guys.

Now that we’ve cleared up the parameters, here’s my list. It might look pretty different to the official one, but I tried to really create it based on value.


 

Tom Brady

 

1. Tom Brady

2. Aaron Rodgers

3. Von Miller

4. Aaron Donald

5. Julio Jones

6. Le’Veon Bell

7. Antonio Brown

8. J.J. Watt

9. Khalil Mack

10. David Johnson

 

Of course when you talk about the best and most important players in the league, the great quarterbacks will be near the top. That’s why Brady and Rodgers are fighting for the number one spot. I went with Brady this year just because he came in after his four-game suspension and basically was perfect with a touchdown-to-interception-ratio of 28-to-two, while Rodgers started the year pretty slow. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year comes in at number nine, which he could improve on with another year playing at an elite level. Miller is the premiere edge rusher in my opinion, while Donald is the most disruptive interior defensive lineman in the league. I put J.J. Watt at number eight because I can’t be sure about his health, but when he is 100% he’s the best overall player in the league, regardless of position. The top ten is rounded out with the biggest offensive weapons in the NFL. Jones is a monster on the outside, while AB makes defenders look silly time after time. Bell and Johnson are two unbelievable, versatile running backs, who both have a unique running style and are excellent options in the passing game.


Matt Ryan

 

11. Matt Ryan

12. Luke Kuechly

13. Landon Collins

14. Derek Carr

15. A.J. Green

16. Patrick Peterson

17. Odell Beckham Jr.

18. Rob Gronkowski

19. Ezekiel Elliott

20. Tyron Smith

 

The reigning MVP ranks just outside the top ten, because I haven’t seen him play at this kind of level on a consistent basis. If he wants to move up he will have to show me he can do it again, even without one of the best offensive playcallers in the game. A former Defensive Player of the Year and another candidate for the award come up next. Kuechly still is the best inside linebacker in the league and Collins was everywhere for the Giants last season. I know number 14 for Carr is pretty high already, but if he finished the season and led the Raiders to the number two seed in the AFC, I would have had him as my MVP because of how heavily the team leaned on him. I have three more receiving weapons, who you could flip around a little bit. Green was dominant before being injured, Beckham won the Giants some games by simply taking passes to the house in the fourth quarter and Gronk has yet to find anybody who can cover him when he’s on the field. Peterson is the closest thing we have to a play-making shutdown corner in the league today. Zeke is the first rookie I had ever ranked in the top 20 because of his combination of physical talent and how hard he plays. His big left tackle comes in right behind him due to his combination of outstanding footwork and physicality.


 

Geno Atkins

 

21. Geno Atkins

22. Drew Brees

23. Travis Kelce

24. Earl Thomas

25. Michael Bennett

26. Trent Williams

27. Richard Sherman

28. Matthew Stafford

29. Tyrann Mathieu

30. LeSean McCoy

 

I don’t understand how Atkins fell that far on the players’ list (number 68 overall). He is a three-gap nightmare who added 36 QB hurries to his nine sacks. Brees once again led the league in passing yards on a below-average team, Kelce is an elite receiving option on any team and Thomas controls the middle of the field better than anybody in the league. Two guys I think are vastly underrated are Bennett and Williams. The Seahawk is almost unblockable throughout plays because of how slippery he is and his football IQ, while the Redskins tackle clearly is a top-two option at that position. He takes the will of some defenders away. Sherman didn’t have his best year, but he is still feared by opposing quarterbacks. Stafford on the other hand, did come into his own leading a terrible Lions squad to a playoff spot. I won’t judge Mathieu based on his 2016 campaign when he was banged up, I saw what he can do the prior year and I’m positive he will be one of the most dynamic DBs once again. Shady averaged 5.4 yards a carry and still leaves defenders standing in the open field.


 

Marshal Yanda

 

31. Marshal Yanda

32. Fletcher Cox

33. Eric Berry

34. Bobby Wagner

35. Chris Harris Jr.

36. Andrew Luck

37. Mike Evans

38. Ben Roethlisberger

39. Russell Wilson

40. Marcus Peters

 

Since one guard won’t make your team better than a top-five quarterback I didn’t put Yanda any higher, even though he’s clearly the best at his position. Cox is a monster on the defensive front, Berry was the biggest game-changer at safety last season and Wagner is the only one really challenging Luke Kuechly as the premiere inside linebacker in the game today. One of the most underrated players on the list is Harris, who can line up inside as well as outside and shut people down. There are arguments to be made that Luck hasn’t quite lived up to expectations, but without him the Colts are a two-win team. Evans is a jump-ball specialist with huge hands, who ranks just outside the best receivers in the league. I bumped Roethlisberger a little bit just because you already know he’s going to miss a couple of games like he has done for years now, but he is still capable of lighting defenses up any week. Wilson could barely move and still put up a nice year, even though he’s much more dangerous when he can extend plays. Peters allows some plays, but he comes back with way bigger ones. He’s the ultimate gambler at the cornerback position.


 

Greg Olsen

 

41. Greg Olsen

42. Gerald McCoy

43. Vic Beasley

44. Devonta Freeman

45. Jordy Nelson

46. Jordan Reed

47. Janoris Jenkins

48. Jadeveon Clowney

49. Xavier Rhodes

50. Aquib Talib

 

Olsen is the only tight-end in the NFL with 1000 yards in each of the last three years, while McCoy has the most sacks for a defensive tackle since 2013. The reigning league-leader in sacks is at number 43 for now, but he will have to show me he’s more than a streaky sack-collector to move up. Freeman is an extremely angry runner and if the Falcons gave him the ball a couple more times when they were in field-goal range in the fourth quarter, they would be Super Bowl champs now. Nelson came back from injury in a major way, stepping in as the Packers number one receiver right away again with a league-high 14 TDs. Reed is today’s matchup-nightmare tight-end everybody seems to be looking for. The Texans still had the number one defense in the league without J.J. Watt due in large part to Clowney’s freakish play at times. The top 50 is rounded out by three cornerbacks that are at a pretty similar level and all love to get under receiver’s skins. Jenkins showed up on national television when he shut down Dez Bryant, Rhodes took the Vikings defense to a new level and Talib didn’t allow a single touchdown all year long.


 

Harrison Smith

 

51. Harrison Smith

52. Eric Weddle

53. DeAndre Hopkins

54. Dez Bryant

55. Justin Houston

56. T.Y. Hilton

57. Taylor Lewan

58. Brandon Graham

59. Dak Prescott

60. Josh Norman

 

Two safeties headline the second half of this list. Smith deservedly owns the nickname “Hitman” for the way he makes receivers pay coming into his area and his excellence as an edge-setter. Weddle on the other hand is one of the most versatile and complete safeties in the NFL. Then I had the two Texas receivers graded pretty similar because of both of them having down-years. Hopkins suffered playing with Brock Osweiler, while Bryant missed some time due to injury and struggled for the most part against top corners. Houston hasn’t been on the field much over the last two years, but when he has been he has flashed absolute dominance. Hilton is often forgotten among the top receivers, but he just amassed 1448 receiving yards on 15.9 yards a catch. Lewan reminds me of Trent Williams and I already go as far as naming him my third-best tackle in today’s game. Graham’s sack total of 5.5 is so misleading in terms of the pressure he put on opposing QBs, as he just led the league defensive hurries (40). Like a month ago I said in one of my articles I believe Prescott will remain successful because of the poise he displays, but he is not the 14th-best player in the league – sorry. Norman has a special ability to bait throws and break on them, but he took a slight step back from his 2015/16 campaign.


 

Malcolm Jenkins

 

61. Malcolm Jenkins

62. Joe Thomas

63. Jarvis Landry

64. Jurrell Casey

65. Kam Chancellor

66. Jordan Howard

67. DeMarco Murray

68. Amari Cooper

69. Cameron Jordan

70. Zach Martin

 

Jenkins is a great hybrid-safety, who can come up as a nickel and constantly makes big plays. I have Thomas rated slightly lower than Taylor Lewan, because I thought I saw some decline in him in his 10th year in the league. Landry barely made the official NFL Top 100 a year ago and now all of a sudden he’s number 42, even though I thought he was equally as good already then. I always liked him. Casey is starting to get some of the recognition he deserves as a premiere three-technique with his own style of play. Chancellor had another fine season despite the four games he missed, but he is allowed to play freely because of all the talent around him. Howard didn’t even make the player’s list even though he was second only to Ezekiel Elliott in rushing yards with 0.1 yards more a carry than the Dallas star had. Murray is another RB with a huge season, finishing right behind Howard thanks to a top-three O-line. Cooper didn’t quite have the year I expected him too, but he will only get better and he’s pretty darn good already. A major snub on this year’s countdown among guys who actually played is Jordan, who has averaged 75 total pressures 17 TFLs over the last two seasons. The Cowboys offensive line really came into his own when they drafted Martin, as he has been the second-best guard in the league virtually since he was inserted.


 

Jason Pierre-Paul

 

71. Jason Pierre-Paul

72. A.J. Bouye

73. Olivier Vernon

74. Philip Rivers

75. Larry Fitzgerald

76. Calais Campbell

77. Travis Frederick

78. Dont’a Hightower

79. Kirk Cousins

80. Kelechi Osemele

 

Two of the next three spots belong to the Giants edge rushers, with JPP balling out despite missing a quarter of the season and Vernon finishing second in QB hurries as well as tied for first in TFLs. I slided Bouye in between those two due to his coming-out party, which led to a huge contract in free agency. The Chargers had a horrible 2016/17 campaign, but with some more help around him I think Rivers is good enough to make them compete for a playoff spot. Fitz is still going strong and will try to finish on a high note in his last season as a pro. Campbell just left to the Cardinals where he was one of the most unblockable defensive linemen for nine years now due to his length and strength. The best center in today’s game for me probably is Frederick, who gets his job done smoothly. Hightower is already a Patriots hero by saving them in their last two Super Bowls and he is clearly one of the top linebackers with the approach to blow up opponents. The Redskins haven’t committed to Cousins as their franchise QB, even though he has been their best man for the job since Joe Theisman maybe, but I don’t have him any higher because of his struggles in big games. K.O. is a monster and helped transform the Raiders O-line.


 

Leonard Williams

 

81. Leonard Williams

82. Lavonte David

83. Joey Bosa

84. Ndamokung Suh

85. Alex Mack

86. Sean Lee

87. Chandler Jones

88. Mike Daniels

89. Melvin Gordon

90. Jamie Collins

 

Williams is on his way to dominance with his crazy natural abilities combined with how hard he plays every snap. Another guy who missed the list despite a nice year was David, who is one the fastest sideline-to-sideline LBs in the league. The Defensive Rookie of the Year burst onto the scene, being tied for first in TFLs and making a big impact as a pass-rusher. I still think Suh could/should be better, but he sets the tone up front. Mack was a key piece to the historic Falcons offense, bringing that front together to get things going. Lee had his fair share of injury problems over a few years now, but when healthy he’s a tackling machine. The Cardinals rewarded Jones with a big contract for the pressure the applies on opposing QBs. Daniels is a trash-talking monster for the Packers, who sets the toneup front. Gordon premieres on my list after proving to me he can make things happen if he just has some room. Two more linebackers to close here. And Collins got traded to the Browns mid-season, but still remained the dynamic player he is.


 

Cam Newton

 

91. Cam Newton

92. NaVorro Bowman

93. Devin McCourty

94. Clay Matthews

95. Julian Edelman

96. Malcolm Butler

97. Ryan Shazier

98. Haha Clinton-Dix

99. Jalen Ramsey

100. Thomas Davis

 

The MVP of the 2015/16 season drops all the way to number 91 for me. I know the offensive line played poorly and I’m sure he’ll be better this upcoming year, but he still makes some dumb decisions and can only throw fast-balls. Bowman was lost for the season after four games, but I still believe he can return to being one of the best at his position. McCourty doesn’t get the credit he deserves as the last line of the defense for the Super Bowl champs. Matthews returned to the outside after being pressed into the middle-linebacker role out of necessity, but he had a disappointing season for his standards. Edelman is another one of those Patriots Super Bowl heroes and Brady’s favorite target behind Gronk. Speaking of Super Bowl heroes, Butler didn’t rest on that game-ending pick, but rather has turned into a top cornerback. Shazier is crazy athletic for a linebacker and has grown into the best defender on the Steelers. With five picks in 2016, Clinton-Dix is a ball-magnet and strong tackler. Ramsey has the potential to be the best cornerback in the league soon with the physicality he treats receivers with. And finally, Davis is one of my favorite linebackers in the league with the way he imposes his will.



 

 

The next 30 names:

 

Kawann Short (DT, Panthers), Tyreek Hill (WR, Chiefs), Cameron Wake (DE, Dolphins), Casey Hayward (CB, Chargers) , Jay Ajayi (RB, Dolphins), Cliff Avril (DE, Seahawks), Tony Jefferson (SS, Ravens), David DeCastro (OG, Steelers), Reshad Jones (SS, Dolphins), Brian Orakpo (OLB, Titans), Desmond Trufant (CB, Falcons), K.J. Wright (OLB, Seahawks), Delanie Walker (TE, Titans), Melvin Ingram (OLB, Chargers), Jason Verrett (CB, Chargers), Damon Harrison (DT, Giants), Whitney Mercilus (OLB, Texans), Everson Griffen (DE, Vikings), C.J. Mosley (ILB, Ravens), Marcus Mariota (QB, Titans), Deion Jones (ILB, Falcons), Michael Thomas (WR, Saints), David Bakhtiari (OT, Packers), Jack Conklin (OT, Titans), Jerry Hughes (DE, Bills), Doug Baldwin (WR, Seahawks), Andrew Whitworth (OT, Rams), Keanu Neal (SS, Falcons), Derek Wolfe (DE, Broncos), Dre Kirkpatrick (CB, Bengals)

Advertisements
Standard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s