A few clarifiers:
- This is a current list based off of the 2017 season. Not an all-time or career based ranking. A few star players that were injured for most or the entire 2017 season have either been placed lower on the list or have been omitted from the list entirely.
- Yes, there are REALLY good players not on this list. 100 sounds like a long list that should include all really good players but it’s not. Trust me. I thought the same thing until I actually started to break it down. Think about the math. Think about all the positions that are available. Now think about the top 10 guys at each position. Not even the top 10 for every position could fit on a list of 100.
So here it is, the NFL top 100: 80-71
Mark Ingram was the “Thunder” in the “Thunder and Lightning” backfield that took the league by storm in 2017. Despite splitting the backfield with rookie phenom Alvin Kamara (yes he will be on the list), Ingram had a career year in 2017. Reaching career highs for rushing yards and touchdowns Ingram was named to his second pro bowl. He will miss the first four games of 2018 for a league PED violation. Must have been that beer someone tossed on him. Stay classy Buffalo.
The 2-time Pro Bowler was rewarded this offseason with a 5-year, $80 million contract extension that includes $50 million guaranteed. That makes him the highest paid offensive linemen in the league. Lewan will have a lot of pressure on him to keep Mariota upright in 2018.
Ranked as the 3rd best guard by Pro Football Focus, Norwell was a big ticket item in free agency this offseason. The Jaguars, who correctly believe keeping Blake Bortles protected for as long as possible is their only chance, didn’t hesitate to make Norwell the highest paid guard in the league at the time. From undrafted to 1st Team All-Pro in 3 years…not bad.
77: Matthew Stafford- QB- Detroit Lions
I have always respected Mathew Stafford. Dude is tough as nails and brought stability to a team that was a joke for the majority of my childhood. In 2017 Stafford had his highest yards per attempt as well as his highest career passer rating at 99.3. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to place you in the “elite” category. Stafford is 0-3 in the postseason and just crossed the dreaded 30-year old mark. Now it’s not all on Stafford, he was sacked a career high 47 times last year. Now he’s not going anywhere but the pressure for Stafford is there.
Geno Atkins is everything you want in a defensive tackle. He’s powerful, quick, and hasn’t missed a game since 2013. Named to his 6th Pro Bowl last season Atkins was rewarded just this week with a 4-year $65.3 million contract extension to stay with the Bengals through 2020. He had 9 sacks for the second year in a row and will look to continue his success in 2018. I couldn’t find any decent tweets or highlights for Atkins so here is a picture from his account in a wild Batman costume.
Have I mentioned I’m a Redskins fan? So all the Eagles on here really piss me off and we aren’t even out of the 70’s yet. Regardless, Ertz is a baller. He made the Pro Bowl in 2017 with 74 catches for 824 yards and 8 touchdowns. And he missed two games due to injury. Of course, Ertz did not attend the Pro Bowl because he was playing in Super Bowl LII where he had 67 yards receiving and a touchdown. Whether it’s Nick Foles or Carson Wentz starting under center in Week 1 for the Eagles, they will rely heavily on Ertz.
Gerald McCoy is a shining light on a dark team. Even at 30 years old McCoy is still cranking out Pro Bowl seasons. Effective against the pass and the run McCoy had 6 sacks and 47 tackles in 2017. In 2018 he will be playing next to Bucs 1st round pick defensive tackle Vita Vea. Both should benefit greatly from playing next to one another.
A 3rd round pick in the 2016 draft, Byard went from relatively unknown outside of the Tennessee area to a Pro Bowler in 2017. He quickly established himself as a premier ball hawk in the secondary hauling in eight interceptions in his first full season as a starter. He is only one of 5 players in NFL history to intercept 5 passes over two weeks.
If Sean Lee had played every game possible throughout his career, I have little doubt we would be calling him a future Hall of Famer. Unfortunately for Lee, that has not been the case. Lee’s intelligence sets him in a special class of defenders. His presence will help the Cowboys’ young linebackers greatly. In 2017 Lee played in 15 games for only the second time in his career. Yet, he has never played a full season. Lee had 93 tackles and 2.5 sacks this past season.
Ryan Kerrigan is Mr. Consistent. Unlike Lee, Kerrigan has started every game since entering the league in 2011. Sorry, my Redskins bias came out there. With 13 sacks and a pick six to his name, Kerrigan made his 3rd pro bowl in 2017. Double-digit sacks in 3 out of the last 4 seasons has made Kerrigan better known throughout the league, but many, including myself obviously, believe Kerrigan is underrated amongst the league’s pass rushers. The Redskins being a team more often towards the bottom than the top is likely a factor.
All right everyone, there is your 80-71. Love it? Hate it? Have thoughts of your own? Find me at @Hinesmantrophy. Check back next week for 70-61.
Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.