I was not exactly pleased with the NFL's Top 100 list. I realize that the players ranked it, but some of the rankings were just puzzling (Patrick Mahomes at #4?!, Lavonte David #100?!), so Rone challenged me to come up with my own Top 100.
And here we are. A few caveats. I did not include anyone not in the league last year, even if they were an elite player previously (see: Gronk, Trent Williams) and I also didn't include anyone that's either opted out or going to miss the season due to injury (see: Brandon Brooks). But this is a list of players I think are the best players right now going into this season:
*Note: Number in parenthesis next to team name is where that player fell on the NFL's Official Top 100 Players of 2020
100) QB Carson Wentz - Philadelphia Eagles (N/R)
Boasts a great offensive line and still got sacked 37 times. Better receiving corps this year will help per this stat below. Has durability concerns which is why they drafted Jalen Hurts in the 2nd round.
99) OG Rodger Saffold - Tennessee Titans (N/R)
A big loss for the Rams turned out to be a huge gain for the Titans. He struggled earlier in his career at Left Tackle but has been great since kicking inside to Guard. Derrick Henry doesn't win the rushing title without Saffold.
98) S Budda Bakers - Arizona Cardinals (97)
Baker made an immediate impact as a rookie in 2017 getting 1st Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl accolades. A tackling machine in the secondary, he's super versatile, but needs more on-ball production (0 career INTs, 14 career PBUs)
97) EDGE Matt Judon - Baltimore Ravens (N/R)
The Ravens didn't let him walk by using the Franchise tag on him and they are typically one of, if not the smartest organizations in the league. Judon is a good young EDGE rusher that continues to get better. Made his first Pro Bowl in 2019.\
96) QB Matthew Stafford - Detroit Lions (N/R)
In eight games in 2019, had 19 TDs and 5 INTs before a back injury derailed season. If he can stay healthy in 2020, Detroit could bounce back.
95) S Earl Thomas - Baltimore Ravens (75)
Not the Safety he once was, but can still cover a ton of ground in the deep middle of the field. Baltimore moved him around more which was fun to see last year as well.
94) C Ryan Jensen - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (N/R)
Keep your head on a swivel around this guy, he will earhole you into next week. He's a great communicator and seems to always make blitzers pay:
93) S Justin Simmons - Denver Broncos (N/R)
This guy has gotten better every single season. Denver felt he was so good they didn't want to let him go and franchised him. Simmons finished 2019 with career highs in INTs (4) and PBUs (15).
92) EDGE Demarcus Lawrence - Dallas Cowboys (N/R)
Got paid with a 5-year $105M deal but had only 5.0 sacks. He's still a monster, but would like to see more production after a big contract.
91) QB Matt Ryan - Atlanta Falcons (N/R)
Quietly only two years younger than Aaron Rodgers. Will need to cut INTs (14) and sacks taken (48) down to continue to stay on this list.
90) S Ant Harris - Minnesota Vikings (N/R)
Had a huge 2019 with 6 INTs and 11 PBUs. He's a playmaker and the Vikings made sure he didn't hit free agency by franchising him. He'll have to prove he can do it again in 2020, but if he does, he'll be in line for a monster pay day.
89) TE Zach Ertz - Philadelphia Eagles (85)
He's Carson Wentz's security blanket and while not a blazer, just technically sound in his route tree. Always finds a way to get open and is still productive going into season eight.
88) RB Alvin Kamara - New Orleans Saints (42)
Kamara is a dual threat, but really more dangerous as a receiver. Incredible contact balance, he can stay upright through a lot. But he's never had a 1,000 yard season and for a good portion of last season had fewer TDs than Ndamukong Suh.
87) S Kevin Byard - Tennessee Titans (N/R)
With 17 INTs in the past three seasons, everybody that knows football except Deion Sanders knows Byard by now.
86) OT Taylor Lewan - Tennessee Titans (N/R)
I work with this guy! He's a beast at the Left Tackle position and constantly clearing holes for Derrick Henry. And if you don't keep your head on a swivel against him, watch out!
85) DE Calais Campbell - Baltimore Ravens (79)
He'll be 34 when the season starts and playing for a new team in the Ravens, but he's playing his best football lately with 31.5 sacks in his past three seasons combined. He's a force against the run and should help improve the Ravens defense immediately. And you better watch out for his cross chop!
84) OG Richie Incognito - Las Vegas Raiders (N/R)
Turned 37 last month but still gets it done at a high level. Once earned the title of dirtiest player in the league, now he's just a great player. And he'll be around a bit longer having just signed a 2-year $14M extension after last season.
83) WR Keenan Allen - Las Angeles Chargers (77)
While I don't think he's better than Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, & Tyreek Hill, he certainly is a terrific Receiver. His route running is divine and he's a constant safety valve for his QB. His numbers may decline this year with Tyrod Taylor/Justin Herbert, but make no mistake, he's always open.
82) CB Jaire Alexander - Green Bay Packers (N/R)
He's a smaller guy 5'10" 196 lbs. that plays with a big chip on his shoulder. Very explosive and aggressive. But need to see more ball production to be higher on the list. Does a nice job getting hands on balls (17 PBUs in 2019), but need more than three career INTs in two seasons.
81) WR Odell Beckham Jr. - Cleveland Browns (59)
Probably the most talented Receiver in the league, he hasn't put it all together since his early years in New York. Last year was an abject disaster but he's back to being himself which hopefully results in more game breaking plays from this polarizing WR.
80) EDGE Frank Clark - Kansas City Chiefs (95)
Got paid like a top rusher and delivered in the playoffs with 5.0 sacks in the post-season en route to a Lombardi Trophy. Plus this move is just silly:
79) RB Aaron Jones - Green Bay Packers (33)
He's been overlooked, but he's a replica of Alvin Kamara. Led the league in total TDs with 19 in 2019 and it's his versatitility that makes him special. He can split out and run receiver routes and check out the way he can adjust to a ball:
78) S Eddie Jackson - Chicago Bears (N/R)
Jackson is entering his 4th season and has already made two Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team. He's a ballhawk who can roam the middle and take any overthrow the other way for six. Not only that, he can cover man-to-man too:
77) CB Darius Slay Jr. - Philadelphia Eagles (92)
"Big Play" Slay is coming off his 3rd straight Pro Bowl but found a new home in Philadelphia. He butted heads with Lions HC Matt Patricia and will look to get back to his 2017 1st Team All-Pro form in Philly.
76) DE J.J. Watt - Houston Texans (46)
He's played a full 16 games once in the last four years, the other three years he's combined for 16 total games. But in that full season, which was 2018, he put up 16.0 sacks, so it's not like he can't do it anymore. He's just gotta stay on the field.
75) S Harrison Smith - Minnesota Vikings (64)
Smith can do it all on the field - he can cover Tight Ends, he can play in the box, he can blitz, and he's instinctive as heck. 11 INTs in the last three seasons and the guy has made five straight Pro Bowls.
74) DT Akiem Hicks - Chicago Bears (N/R)
Only appeared in 5 games last season due to a freak elbow injury, but had 23.0 sacks the previous three years combined. An enormous dude to block at 6'4" 352 lbs. he's a guy I'd want on my team manning the middle.
73) WR Stefon Diggs - Buffalo Bills (54)
It's clear he wasn't a Kirk Cousins fan but he moves on to a much less accurate passer in Josh Allen. We'll see how his transition goes, but he's another smooth operator who crushes releases (shoutout to his college WR coach Keenan McCardell for instilling that in him).
72) CB Jalen Ramsey - Los Angeles Rams (37)
Forced his way out of Jacksonville to land with the Rams. Has never been a big ball production guy dating back to college, but he's so long, wirey, and athletic, he just locks his man down.
71) LB Fred Warner - San Francisco 49ers (70)
This dude is going to be scary good. He's only 23, can cover anybody and averages 121 tackles per year. Stud.
Is anybody on this list too high or too low? Let me know in the comments or on twitter. And stay tuned for #41-#70 on Tuesday morning, #11-#40 on Wednesday morning, and #1-#10 on Thursday morning. While you wait, give the Going Deep podcast a listen. You can get it anywhere you listen to pods: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher.