FOOTBALL IS OFFICIALLY BACK! As many of you know, one of the biggest rankings that come out is the NFL top 100 list which is supposedly ranked entirely by current NFL players. I have often taken issue with this list because I clearly know more than real NFL players so I decided it was time to bring my rankings to light.
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.
- Some stars have been and are so good that they still find themselves high on the list.
- 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 starting with 100-91.
100: Justin Tucker- Kicker- Baltimore Ravens
That’s right, a kicker. But if you watch football you know that Tucker isn’t just a kicker. He was legitimately the Ravens best weapon in 2017. The last time a team counted on a kicker as much as the Ravens did in 2017 was probably the Redskins in 1982 during the strike season when Kicker Mark Moseley won MVP. With a 2017 Field Goal percentage of 91.9% and a career percentage of 90.1%, the most accurate kicker in NFL history lands as the only special teams’ player to make the top 100.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 22, 2017
99: Joel Bitonio- Guard- Cleveland Browns
Woooow a Browns offensive linemen right after a kicker. Cool… Sure, it’s not exciting but it’s correct. Linemen will get respect on this list. Bitonio is one of the premier guards in the NFL but because of the position he plays and the team he plays for there isn’t much name recognition. He signed a 5-year extension last offseason that can land him up to $51 million. Something the Browns should get credit for is that they have built their offensive line BEFORE drafting their quarterback. Many teams try doing it the other way around and it has ruined careers. Baker Mayfield will have the protection he needs assuming they can replace Joe Thomas.
98: Zach Brown- Linebacker- Washington Redskins
Full discloser, I am a Redskins fan. But that does not devalue Brown, it just means I have seen him play enough to know where he belongs on this list. This man is a tackling MACHINE. Brown logged 127 tackles in just 13 games. Brown changed the Redskins defense. His speed and awareness make him one of the top linebackers in the game. In 2018 the Redskins should hope his tackles go down a little, as a sign of an improved defensive line, that has added two Alabama first rounders in the past two drafts. Brown signed a new 3-year contract to stay in Washington this offseason after playing in 2017 on a one-year “prove it” deal.
97: Malcolm Jenkins- Safety- Philadelphia Eagles
Jenkins was named to his second Pro Bowl in 2017 but of course was not a part of the game because he was busy winning his second Super Bowl. The Eagles count on Jenkins to be the heart and soul of their defense. A job he does well, having never missed a regular season game since he signed with the Eagles in 2014.
96: Stefon Diggs- Wide Receiver- Minnesota Vikings
Technically, Diggs was slightly down in the stats column from 2016. However, I would argue this was his true breakout season. Pulling in eight touchdowns throughout the regular season Diggs established himself as a complete receiver who can hurt you from anywhere on the field. Diggs, a UMD product (shameless plug), also delivered arguably the most exciting play of the playoffs. The Minnesota miracle is an all-time great play. The pressure is on in 2018 for Diggs and the rest of the Vikings offense to blow up in 2018 following the addition of Kirk Cousins.
— sᴄᴏᴛᴛ ᴋᴇɢʟᴇʏ (@ScottKegley) January 15, 2018
95: Brandon Brooks- Guard- Philadelphia Eagles
Brandon Brooks has established himself as a top 5 guard since entering the league as a 3rd round draft choice of the Houston Texans. His second year in Philadelphia is one he will likely remember for the rest of his life. Making your first Pro Bowl and hoisting the Lombardi tend to do that. His importance in Super Bowl LII can’t be overstated. He graded as pro football focus’ 3rd best Eagle on Super Bowl Sunday and the top player on a line that only surrendered one sack all game.
94: Kirk Cousins- Quarterback- Minnesota Vikings
Kirk Cousins is an enigma. Ask 10 different people about Kirk and you will probably get 10 different answers. It’s strange that the man who pocketed over $40 million in two years only followed by signing the first fully guaranteed contract in modern NFL history still has people wondering if he’s “that good”. Kirk’s time in Washington was up-and-down and no one knows for sure who is to blame for the bad and credit for the good. The fun part is, we will all find out in 2018. Cousins went from a .500 caliber team to a legitimate Super Bowl contender. He is supposed to be the last piece of the puzzle. I don’t think there is a single player under more pressure this season than Kirk Cousins.
— NFL (@NFL) September 25, 2017
93: Jimmy Graham- Tight End- Green Bay Packers
A few years ago we were all wondering if Graham could return from his devastating knee injury. Well, he did. In 2017 Graham returned to his status of elite red zone threat bringing in 57 catches and 10 touchdowns. Now a member of the Green Bay Packers, I can’t wait to see what Graham and Aaron Rodgers can do. With Jordy Nelson now in Oakland, Rodgers will need Graham to step up quickly. Graham is poised for his first 1,000 yard season since 2013.
— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) October 29, 2017
92: Kawann Short- Defensive Tackle- Carolina Panthers
Short registered 49 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles in 2017 anchoring the interior of the Panthers defensive line. This performance followed his signing of a 5-year $80 Million contract to stay in Carolina. The Panthers were so confident in Short that his contract meant they would not re-sign former 1st round pick and fellow defensive linemen Star Lotulelei this offseason. According to Pro Football Focus, Short’s run stop percentage led all interior defensive linemen in 2017. He is a very underrated player.
91: Melvin Gordon- Running Back- Los Angeles Chargers
In his 3rd year holding down the Chargers backfield, Gordon had his best year yet. After failing to score a touchdown his rookie year, Gordon proved to be the back the Chargers needed in 2016 running for 997 yards and 10 touchdowns. In 2017 Gordon eclipsed 1,000 yards logging 1,105 yards with eight touchdowns on the ground and another 476 yards and four touchdowns through the air. I believe the addition of Gordon has extended the career of Philip Rivers, which means Gordon has extended the Super Bowl window for the Chargers.
HE WILL GO ALL THE WAY!@melvingordon25.
— NFL (@NFL) October 29, 2017
All right everyone, there is your 100-91. Love it? Hate it? Have thoughts of your own? Find me at @Hinesmantrophy. Check back next week for 90-81!