The 10th NFL 100 dropped recently and all I can say is ewwww.
Being player voted, you would expect it to be better. Something I learned time ago while in college, just because athletes play a sport at high levels doesn’t mean they are well informed on the sport. In football, many guys know very little outside of their own positions and some can’t even do that right. Then you have players who can’t take emotion out of the equation, meaning they think their friends are better than they actually are. It’s a sentiment I have heard from a few former NFL players as well. Apparently things don’t change too much once you jump to the pros.
It would be real easy to say “wELL yOu’Ve NeVeR pLaYeD iN tHe nFl!” You’ve probably never been a politician, but we all have our thoughts on politics. Don’t bring that watered down argument here.
The list isn’t a total atrocity. Most are in the right range, but some are either ranked too high or too low. One of the biggest glaring issues is that the best offensive lineman is ranked 29th. If you can’t block, you can’t win in the NFL. At least the actual lineman is correct, but that person should be in the top 10. Spoiler alert, he is in mine, which I will get to shortly. The second best lineman is ranked 62nd. That is fucking stupid.
Cue the stigma of lineman not getting enough love. How is that receivers, which is one of the most worthless positions in the NFL in terms of wins, gets 11 guys before David Bahkitari?
Another big misfire is Jadeveon Clowney at 41. You mean the guy who hasn’t lived up to the worth of his draft status? Get out.
Here are my top 10 Players in the NFL heading in to 2020.
10. Bobby Wagner, Linebacker, Seattle Seahawks
Career Stats: 1,075 Tackles (645 Solo), 58 Tackles for Loss, 19.5 Sacks, 10 Interceptions, 47 Pass Break Ups
2020 Rank: 13th
2019 Stats: 159 Tackles (86 Solo), 7 Tackles for Loss, 3.0 Sacks, 1 Interception, Pass Break Ups
Since Luke Kuechly decided to hang up his cleats, the gap between the best linebacker in football and second best is relatively wide. Seattle has left a lot to be desired since the Legion of Boom broke up. Seattle has been stuck with one of the worst rosters in football over the last 2-4 years. They are finally retooling some pieces though.
Thanks to QB Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner, they have yet to lose more than 7 games in a season. They are consistently above the fold. Wagner has been able to mask many of the defensive woes such as a lack of pass rush because of his ability to fly to the ball. Having not only one of the smartest quarterbacks, but having one of the smartest defensive quarterbacks has led to a successful career on a successful team. He doesn’t seem to be slowing after leading the league in tackles last season.
9. George Kittle, Tight End, San Francisco 49ers
Career Stats: 216 receptions, 2,945 yards, 12 Touchdowns,
2020 Rank: 7th
2019 Stats: 85 receptions, 1,053 yards, 5 Touchdowns
Kittle is the best two way tight end in football and it’s not particularly close. He was the focal point of the San Francisco offense. He helped them open running lanes acting as basically a sixth lineman on the field. In the pass he is just as deadly if not more deadly. The last two seasons he has caught for over 1,000 yards on at least 85 receptions. Part of what makes Kittle so damn special as a receiver is his yards after the catch. He is second over the last two years (1,400+ yards) behind only Christian McCaffrey in YAC. Kittle ranked 1st in 2018 and 3rd in 2019. Something interesting is George Kittle graded out as a 95.0 on PFF in 2019. The next highest grade for a tight end was Gronk in 2011 at 92.0. That 95.0 also gave him the highest grade of any player across the league.
8. Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback, New England Patriots
Career Stats: 374 Tackles (329 Solo), 24 Interceptions, 111 Pass Break Ups
2020 Rank: 9th
2019 Stats: 53 Tackles (44 Solo), 6 Interceptions, 20 Pass Break Ups
The reigning defensive player of the year. Gilmore helped anchor the league’s best pass defense. While the league has widely adapted more zone concepts and make no mistake the Patriots follow suit. However, they led the NFL in Cover 1 plays because of their personnel allowing them to play man more often. Gilmore is a big part of that. Over the last three seasons since joining the Pats, Gilmore has stepped into the limelight as one of the leagues best corners by far.
7. Quenton Nelson, Guard, Indianapolis Colts
Career Stats: 32 Starts, 2 Sacks Allowed, Logged 98.5% of Snaps, 85.5 Career Grade (PFF)
2020 Rank: 29th
2019 Stats: 1,045 Snaps, 0 Sacks Allowed, 91.2 Grade (PFF)
Aside from being the youngest of 39 cousins, Nelson is an absolute stud on the line. Andrew Luck, prior to retirement, spent plenty of time on his ass due to poor offensive line play. When the Colts drafted Nelson, he went from one of the most unprotected passers to one of the most protected passers. Nelson is far and away the best offensive lineman in the league. The Colts offense was certainly watered down last season after Luck’s retirement. However, they still managed a level of efficiency that was not aesthetically pleasing, but winnable. They unexpectedly lost their starting QB and still managed to go a competitive 7-9. That is in large part to how they can control the clock and line of scrimmage.
6. Tre’Davious White, Cornerback, Buffalo Bills
Career Stats: 181 Tackles (145 Solo), 12 Interceptions, 43 Pass Break Ups
2020 Rank: 47th
2019 Stats: 58 Tackles (48 Solo), 6 Interceptions, 17 Pass Break Ups
Still getting no damn love. It’s just aggravating at this point. He has been an elite and I mean elite corner since day one in the league. White ironically was picked 27th overall to replace Gilmore. He has been so much more than Gilmore ever was in Buffalo.
- 2017 Against – 39/81, 601 Yards, 3 Touchdowns, 4 Interceptions, 64.9 QB Rating
- 2018 Against – 40/73, 461 Yards, 2 Touchdowns, 2 Interceptions, 71.8 QB Rating
- 2019 Against – 45/90, 626 Yards, 0 Touchdowns, 6 Interceptions, 45.0 QB Rating
- Career Against – 124/244, 1,688 yards, 5 Touchdowns, 12 Interceptions, 59.6 QB Rating
- Career Average Against – 41/81, 562.7 Yards Per Season, 1.6 TDs Per Season, 4 Interceptions Per Season, 60.6 QB Rating Against
As a point of reference for the same three season window, the heralded Gilmore has allowed 10 touchdowns and 1,755 Yards and hauled in 10 interceptions making the QB rating against of 65.2. To be fair, he also gets targeted more frequently in man, which has also led to substantially more pass break ups.
The common knock for some people may be the classic man v zone which is stupid in and of itself. However make no mistake about it, White is great in man. Last season alone, QBs were 13/33 against him in man as he broke up 7 of those passes. White enters his fourth year in the league and is the focal point of the Bills defense.
It will never cease to amaze me how many people look at Gilmore and slight White so harshly from the players to sports writers to EA. You are all morons for that.
5. Christian McCaffrey, Running Back, Carolina Panthers
Career Stats: 2,920 Rush Yards, 4.7 Yards Per Carry, 24 Touchdowns
303 Receptions, 2,523 Receiving Yards, 15 Touchdowns
2020 Rank: 6th
2019 Stats: 1,387 Rush Yards, 4.8 Yards Per Carry, 15 Touchdowns
116 Receptions, 1,005 Yards, 4 Touchdowns
He is the best running back in football by far. He can do it all and do it all better than just about anyone. He is hands down the best receiving back in football. He not only finished the last two seasons with a pair of 100 reception seasons, he also finished this past season with a rare 1,000 rushing AND receiving yards.
4. Michael Thomas, Wide Receiver, New Orleans Saints
Career Stats: 470 Receptions, 5,512 Yards, 32 Touchdowns
2020 Rank: 5th
2019 Stats: 149 Receptions, 1,725 Yards, 9 Touchdowns
Can’t Guard Mike, period. Thomas officially holds the title of best receiver in the NFL. Drew Brees getting hurt in 2019 proved that. With Teddy Bridgewater, Thomas reeled in 49 catches, 617 yards, 3 TDs. Those numbers came on 62 targets, still maintaining a high catch rate of 79%. Based on the numbers, the projections for Thomas without Brees was still 130 receptions, 1,600 yards and 8 TDs.
Thomas catches the ball at higher rates than the league has ever seen. In 2018, he shattered the record for catch rate among players who received at least 145 targets in a single season. He caught 85% of his passes. The next best was Wes Welker at 77.2%.
Keep in mind, that is the highest catch rate among qualified receivers in a single season. Thomas has a career catch rate of 78.1%. Because of that, the Saints more often than not play in front of the chains. I believe that leads to more wins because your offense is constantly in favorable situations.
3. Aaron Donald, Defensive End, Los Angeles Rams
Career Stats: 312 Tackles (220 Solo), 72.0 Sacks, 117 Tackles for Loss, 15 Forced Fumbles
2020 Rank: 3rd
2019 Stats: 48 Tackles (29 Solo), 12.5 Sacks, 20 Tackles for Loss
What he is doing is absolutely unheard of. He plays primarily on the interior of the defensive line. He generates better numbers than EVERY edge rusher in the league. He just blows up the line. He faced the most double and triple teams in the NFL by a mile. He was also first in beating those double and triple teams. He is a fucking freak. He is easily the best player in football (non QBs). Honestly, I wouldn’t have a problem with people putting him above my number two guy. If positional value wasn’t such a vital factor, he could be number one.
2. Russell Wilson, Quarterback, Seattle Seahawks
Career Stats: 64.5 Comp%, 29,734 Yards, 7.9 Yards Per Attempt, 227 Touchdowns, 68 Interceptions, 101.2 QB Rating
3,993 Rush Yards, 19 Touchdowns
2020 Rank: 2nd
2019 Stats: 66.1 Comp%, 4,110 Yards, 8.0 Yards Per Attempt, 31 Touchdowns, 5 Interceptions, 106.3 QB Rating
342 Rush Yards, 3 Touchdowns
Wilson has been one of the most efficient and smartest passers since entering the league. As a I alluded to with Wagner, Wilson’s upstairs makes that offense click. He doesn’t need to be in pass heavy offenses to be effective. Seattle is one of the few teams who can play behind the chains and be comfortable doing it. Wilson’s ability to escape pressure and fire downfield makes him a threat even on third and long. He is already going into the Hall of Fame without question. His style of play leads to win. He has had some miserable offensive lines. There was a gap in the running game until recently. Unlike some of the other elite level QBs in the league, his receiving corps have been very average beyond the number one receiver lately.
1. Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs
Career Stats: 65.9 Comp%, 9,412 Yards, 8.6 Yards Per Attempt, 76 Touchdowns, 18 Interceptions, 108.9 QB Rating
500 Rushing Yards, 4 Touchdowns
2020 Rank: 4th
2019 Stats: 65.9 Comp%, 4,031 Yards, 8.3 Yards Per Attempt, 26 Touchdowns, 5 Interceptions, 105.3 QB Rating
218 Rush Yards, 2 Touchdowns
In two years, he knocked the NFL on it’s ass. He legitimately has a shot to eventually be the GOAT out of the gate. He could end up in the discussion before his damn extension ends.
He is the scrambling ability of Russell Wilson. He is the arm of Aaron Rodgers. He is the leader and situational moxie of Brady. I won’t say the accuracy to Brees because that is a stretch. He literally possesses three of the NFL’s most winning QBs dominant traits.
Someone basically created a 99 juggernaut in Madden and threw him on the Chiefs. Mahomes is the past, present and future of the league. He has an MVP and Super Bowl MVP with two AFC Championship appearances. The Chiefs are number one in the redzone and on 3rd down over the last two seasons because of Mahomes.
If you want a more in depth breakdown, read here…