NFL Top 100 Players of 2018: Analysis





I berated the players for their crappy rankings in the Top 100 NFL Players of 2011 and people seemed to like that. I ran other critiques of the Top 100 NFL Players of 2012, the Top 100 NFL Players of 2013, the Top 100 NFL Players of 2014, the Top 100 NFL Players of 2015, the Top 100 NFL Players of 2016, and the Top 100 NFL Players of 2017. I've gotten many requests to do the same for the 2018 version, so here we are.

I really find it amazing how NFL players can screw these rankings up. As I pointed out before, if you're in an office, you and your other co-workers can probably rank the best employees and come to a smart consensus. NFL players, however, continuously bungle things like this, probably because many of them don't watch film or pay attention to the other games. I mean, they ranked Michael Turner in the top 100 six years ago, yet the guy couldn't even move. Four summers ago, the fossilized Jared Allen was voted 68th. When he tackled players, he had to find his walker afterward. Two years ago, Carson Palmer was 12th, Blake Bortles was 56th, and Chris Ivory was 78th! Here was my reaction:

OH MY GOD. CHRIS IVORY IS 78TH?!??!?! ARE YOU F***ING SERIOUS??? CHRIS IVORY... IS 78TH!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!

Last year, DeMarco Murray was voted in as the 31st-best player in the NFL. Yes, DeMarco Murray, the guy who lost his job during the year. The NFL players ranked Murray ahead of Kam Chancellor, Joey Bosa, Bobby Wagner, Trent Williams and Jadeveon Clowney. Like I said, these players have no clue.

Predictably, there were some very dumb choices in the NFL Top 100 Players of 2018. I've highlighted them, marking the underrated players in blue and overrated players in red.

This year, I'm going to update the top-100 list live each week when the new bracket of 10 players is revealed, so you can follow along and laugh at the inept voting process.





NFL Top 100 Players of 2018: 100-91:

100. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Packers
99. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks
98. C.J. Mosley, LB, Ravens
97. Carlos Hyde, RB, Browns
96. Malcolm Jenkins, S, Eagles
95. Lane Johnson, OT, Eagles
94. Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings
93. Mike Daniels, DT, Packers
92. Landon Collins, S, Giants
91. David Bakhtiari, OT, Packers

97. Carlos Hyde: I don't think this is the most egregiously wrong rating ever, but ranking Carlos Hyde in the top 100 seems a bit odd, given that he has played a full season just once in his career, and he's had just one season where he's averaged better than 4.1 yards per carry. Hyde isn't a bad player, but he doesn't deserve a spot in the top 100.

95. Lane Johnson: Why is the best right tackle in the NFL only No. 95 on this list? Johnson should be inside the top 50 quite easily.

91. David Bakhtiari: Why is the best left tackle in the NFL only No. 91 on this list? Bakhtiari, like Johnson, is criminally underrated.




NFL Top 100 Players of 2018: 90-81:

90. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers
89. Jimmy Graham, TE, Packers
88. Yannick Ngakoue, DE, Jaguars
87. Andrew Whitworth, OT, Rams
86. Chris Harris, CB, Broncos
85. Bruce Irvin, DE, Raiders
84. J.J. Watt, DE, Texans
83. Linval Joseph, DT, Vikings
82. Marshon Lattimore, CB, Saints
81. Michael Thomas, WR, Saints

89. Jimmy Graham: Something players often are guilty of is ranking old, declining players too high as "lifetime achievement" awards. This is a prime example of that. Graham could barely move last year. He scored a bunch of touchdowns, but barely did anything between the 20s.

84. J.J. Watt: I know that Watt has endured numerous injuries over the past few seasons, but ranking one of the most dominant defensive players in the NFL 84th overall seems kind of silly.

82. Marshon Lattimore: Lattimore was one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL last year despite being a rookie. He should continue to improve, so it's shocking to see him out of the top 50.






NFL Top 100 Players of 2018: 80-71:

80. Kevin Byard, S, Titans
79. Marcus Peters, CB, Rams
78. Taylor Lewan, OT, Titans
77. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants
76. Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, Chargers
75. Kam Chancellor, S, Seahawks
74. Cameron Wake, DE, Dolphins
73. Thomas Davis, LB, Panthers
72. Delanie Walker, TE, Titans
71. Zack Martin, G, Cowboys

77. Odell Beckham Jr: Beckham was eighth on this list last year. So, because of an injury that knocked him out for one year, he has fallen to 77th. How in the world does that make any sense?

73. Thomas Davis: As with Jimmy Graham, Davis is getting the "he's been great for a long time, so let's vote him into the top 100 even though he's not nearly as good anymore" award. Davis is a two-down linebacker. He's not the 73rd-best player in the NFL. Get a clue, football players!

72. Delanie Walker: Like Davis, Walker is no longer a top-75 player at this stage of his career.




NFL Top 100 Players of 2018: 70-61:

70. Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons
69. Fletcher Cox, DT, Eagles
68. Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles
67. Telvin Smith, LB, Jaguars
66. Jurrell Casey, DT, Titans
65. Stefon Diggs, WR, Vikings
64. Richard Sherman, CB, 49ers
63. Geno Atkins, DT, Bengals
62. Micah Hyde, S, Bills
61. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Rams

70. Devonta Freeman: Devonta Freeman is not a better player than Zack Martin, Kam Chancellor or Odell Beckham Jr. Freeman wilts down the stretch every single year. This season, he averaged 3.8 yards per carry or worse in five of his final seven games.

64. Richard Sherman: Sherman had been a perennial fixture in the top 100, but that shouldn't be the case anymore. His play has declined a bit lately, and he tore his Achilles in the second half of the season, so he may not be 100 percent in 2018.


NFL Top 100 Players of 2018: 60-51:

60. Derek Carr, QB, Raiders
59. Casey Hayward, CB, Chargers
58. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars
57. Trent Williams, OT, Redskins
56. Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers
55. Xavier Rhodes, CB, Vikings
54. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys
53. Aqib Talib, CB, Rams
52. Jarvis Landry, WR, Browns
51. Case Keenum, QB, Broncos

60. Derek Carr: I like Derek Carr to bounce back this year, as he'll be healthy and paired with Greg Olson. However, Carr has never maintained a YPA of better than 7.0 despite playing with a pair of talented receivers. This rating, however, is not nearly as egregious as...

51. Case Keenum: CASE KEENUM IS 51ST!? WHAT!?!?!?!? HOW IN HELL IS CASE KEENUM BETTER THAN PHILIP RIVERS!?!?!?!?

Seriously, this is just dumb. I like Keenum. He's a nifty quarterback who does some things very well. But there's no way in the world that he's the 51st-best player in the NFL. Ranking him ahead of quarterbacks like Rivers and Jimmy Garoppolo is one of the stupidest things I've ever seen. I also find it interesting that he's about 40 spots ahead of Kirk Cousins, yet Cousins received way more money than Keenum did this offseason.



NFL Top 100 Players of 2018: 50-41:

50. Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans
49. Darius Slay, CB, Lions
48. Cameron Heyward, DE/DT, Steelers
47. Ryan Shazier, LB, Steelers
46. Harrison Smith, S, Vikings
45. Davante Adams, WR, Packers
44. David DeCastro, G, Steelers
43. Mark Ingram, RB, Saints
42. Earl Thomas, S, Seahawks
41. Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers

47. Ryan Shazier: I get it. It really sucks what happened to Ryan Shazier. It's a damn shame, and I hope he can play again. Everyone does as well, so that's why they decided to honor him with this ranking. However, Shazier is not going to play in 2018, so I don't think putting him on this list makes much logical sense, though I can sympathize.

45. Davante Adams: Davante Adams deserves a spot in the top 100, but not the top 50. Adams has been ranked as a better receiver than both Odell Beckham Jr. and Michael Thomas, which seems insane to me.

43. Mark Ingram: Here's another player who should be in the top 100, but not the top 50. Mark Ingram simply isn't in the same caliber as Darius Slay, Cameron Heyward, David DeCastro, Harrison Smith and Earl Thomas. Those guys are some of the top players at their respective positions. Ingram is not.



NFL Top 100 Players of 2018: 40-31:

40. Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs
39. Tyron Smith, OT, Cowboys
38. Jared Goff, QB, Rams
37. Joey Bosa, DE, Chargers
36. Adam Thielen, WR, Vikings
35. A.J. Bouye, CB, Jaguars
34. DeMarcus Lawrence, DE, Cowboys
33. Kareem Hunt, RB, Chiefs
32. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, Texans
31. Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions

38. Jared Goff: Goff is a good quarterback, don't get me wrong, but calling him the 38th-best player in the NFL seems kind of crazy. Goff doesn't even make his own pre-snap reads, and he's bound to regress a bit now that Greg Olson isn't around to coach him. I have trouble believing that he's a better football player than Tyron Smith, Earl Thomas and Harrison Smith.

36. Adam Thielen: I like Adam Thielen, and his story is great, but saying he's a better football player than Joey Bosa, Tyron Smith and Earl Thomas is definitely not correct.

35. A.J. Bouye: I'm not sure Bouye is a top-100 player. He's certainly not worthy of the top 50. Bouye has feasted because of elite pass rushes his entire career. He's not a bad player, by any means, but he gets penalized too often, and I wonder if he'd get exposed without a great supporting cast to help him.


NFL Top 100 Players of 2018: 30-21:

30. LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills
29. Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
28. Chandler Jones, DE, Cardinals
27. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
26. Cameron Jordan, DE, Saints
25. Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
24. Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs
23. Patrick Peterson, CB, Cardinals
22. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals
21. Bobby Wagner, LB, Seahawks

This is disappointing. I don't see anything wrong with the 30-21 list. Maybe Larry Fitzgerald is a bit too high; I would've put him in the mid or late 30s, but I don't think having him at No. 27 is egregious, or anything.


NFL Top 100 Players of 2018: 20-11:

20. Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints
19. Everson Griffen, DE, Vikings
18. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
17. Jalen Ramsey, CB, Jaguars
16. Khalil Mack, DE, Raiders
15. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
14. Calais Campbell, DE, Jaguars
13. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans
12. Luke Kuechly, LB, Panthers
11. Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks

18. Ben Roethlisberger: While Ben Roethlisberger used to be known as a top-18 NFL player (or better), he doesn't deserve that distinction anymore. Now 36, Roethlisberger is on a clear decline. He had some poor games in 2017, including a five-interception struggle against the Jaguars in Week 5. Roethlisberger could bounce back, but saying he'll definitely be a top-18 player is a mistake.


NFL Top 100 Players of 2017: 10-1:

10. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
9. Von Miller, DE/OLB, Broncos
8. Drew Brees, QB, Saints
7. Aaron Donald, DT, Rams
6. Todd Gurley, RB, Rams
5. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Steelers
4. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
3. Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles
2. Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers
1. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots

hopkins kuechly miller bell brown donald wilson rodgers wentz brady 8. Ben Roethlisberger: Like Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees is not the quarterback he once was. He's still very good, and he should be a top-40 player, but I wouldn't put him into the top 10 heading into 2018.

A word on Carson Wentz, as his No. 3 ranking is getting lots of criticism. It seems correct to me. Wentz is the third-best quarterback in the NFL right now behind Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, and the latter hasn't been able to stay healthy over a long period of time. Wentz is entering his third season, so if he fully recovers from his torn ACL, he could take the next step. If so, it wouldn't surprise me if he's No. 1 on this list next year.



NFL Top 100 Players of 2018 - Snubs:

Lavonte David, LB, Buccaneers - Why is David not on the top 100 list? He's one of the top linebackers in the NFL. He could've been in the top 50 without any arguments.

Rodney Hudson, C, Raiders - It's amazing how important centers are in relation to how disrespected they are. Hudson is a top-three center in the NFL, meaning he's one of the most important non-quarterbacks in the league. Forget being in the top 100; he should be inside the top 50!

Travis Frederick, C, Cowboys - This is going to be a running theme of the top 100 snubs. I'm putting the top four centers on this list, as they all should have been rated as top-100 players.

Brandon Graham, DE, Eagles - Graham made the game-winning defensive play in the Super Bowl. This was one of the many excellent plays he was responsible for in 2018, as he was an important member of Philadelphia's defensive front.

Jason Kelce, C, Eagles - It's an absolute joke that there aren't any centers on the top-100 list. Kelce was great last year, both on the field and during the Super Bowl parade.

Alex Mack, C, Falcons - And here's the fourth center. Had the Falcons held on to their 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl a year and a half ago, I would have argued for Alex Mack to be the MVP. Mack was the main catalyst for Atlanta's resurgence, and he had another fantastic season. It could be argued that Mack is the top center in the NFL, so his exclusion from this list is mystifying.

Gerald McCoy, DT, Buccaneers - The Buccaneers had three snubs on this list - David, Mike Evans being the others - but McCoy is the most egregious one.

Kawann Short, DT, Panthers - The Panthers believed Short was so good that they gave him a 5-year, $80 million contract last April. And they were right to do so! Short is one of the top defensive linemen in the league, so he should have been in the top 50.

Joe Staley, OT, 49ers - Center wasn't the only position misrepresented in the top 100. One of the top left tackles, Joe Staley, needed to be in the top 75, if not the top 50.

Andrew Norwell, G, Jaguars - There's no respect for interior linemen. Andrew Norwell has been such a great guard over the past few seasons that the Jaguars gave him a 5-year, $66.5 million contract. Just 26, Norwell has a bright future ahead of him.

Tre'Davious White, CB, Bills - Marshon Lattimore got all of the attention, but Tre'Davious White was also a fantastic rookie cornerback last year. White absolutely had to be in the top 100.

Leonard Williams, DE, Jets - Four teams were snubbed, with the Jets having perhaps the best player not on this list excluding Gerald McCoy in Leonard Williams.


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