Continuing my Top 100 series:
Players #71 - #100
A few caveats to this list. 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
70) OG Brandon Scherff - Washington Football Team (N/R)
Made two Pro Bowls his first three years but struggled to stay healthy the past few seasons and has missed 15 games the last three seasons. Still the Washington Football Team franchised him so he couldn't hit the open market.
69) C Rodney Hudson - Las Vegas Raider (N/R)
Elite pass blocking Center. Will give Derek Carr extra time to find Henry Ruggs III downfield.
68) CB Marlon Humphrey - Baltimore Ravens (86)
Him and Marcus Peters are the best cover corner tandem in the league and Humphrey is coming off a 1st Team All-Pro season with a career best 3 INTs and 2 defensive TDs.
67) LB Demario Davis - New Orleans Saints (67)
PFF's top rated overall Linebacker in 2019. Does a great job in coverage, but also great flowing sideline-to-sideline against the run. Took a few years, but he's emerged into an elite LB.
66) C Jason Kelce - Philadelphia Eagles (94)
32 years old and entering his 10th season, but coming off his 3rd straight 1st Team All-Pro. He can do it all. Best pulling Center in the game. 2018 Steven Cheah Block of the Year Award winner.
65) OT Terron Armstead - New Orleans Saints (N/R)
Terrific player, but durability a huge concern. In seven seasons has never played a full 16 games, although coming off career high 15 games in 2019. And don't jump on this man:
64) OG Ali Marpet - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (N/R)
He's gotten no love really because he's played in Tampa, but Ali Marpet is a beast. Such a steady pass blocker and absolute mauler in the run game. This block at the end of this video was a game sealer:
63) Casey Hayward Jr. - Los Angeles Chargers (N/R)
"Showcase" is one of the most overlooked players in the last few years. Consistently locks his guy down and can tackle. A complete Cornerback.
62) CB Marcus Peters - Baltimore Ravens (53)
Does he tackle? No. Does he make plays? Consistently. 5 INTs and 3 TDs in 2019, but it's also his 3rd team in five seasons. Maybe he's found a home in Baltimore.
61) LB Bobby Wagner - Seattle Seahawks (13)
Tackling machine and a cog in the middle of the Seahawks D. He's been to six straight Pro Bowls and with 159 tackles last year, shows no signs of slowing down at age 30. He gets a ton of shine due to the elite defenses he's been on and while I think he's a fantastic player, there are other stud LBs that are better in my opinion. But keep reading to find out who they (plural) are…
*some will be revealed tomorrow
60) EDGE Za'Darius Smith - Green Bay Packers (48)
Talk about versatility! He had 15.5 sacks his first year in Green Bay and lined up all over to get them:
59) QB Drew Brees - New Orleans Saints (12)
Quietly coming off the best QB Rating of his career (116.3), but does his arm strength is starting to go which is shrinking the field. His footwork however, remains elite:
58) S Minkah Fitzpatrick - Pittsburgh Steelers (35)
Fitzpatrick is just a football player. He can line up at either Safety spot, Nickel CB or even play Boundary CB if needed. Miami couldn't figure out how to use him properly, so their trash is another team's treasure, and Steelers defense was made immediately better by his presence. Teams have to be aware of where #39 is on the field.
57) WR Amari Cooper - Dallas Cowboys (49)
He's been reborn since getting to Dallas. A technician running routes he earned his big contract and will continue to grow with others like CeeDee Lamb taking attention away from him.
56) QB Tom Brady - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14)
Yards per attempt (6.6) was his lowest since 2002 (6.3). But how much of that was the talent around him? He certainly upgraded in the skill position department, so let's see…
55) EDGE Danielle Hunter - Minnesota Vikings (40)
Back to back 14.5 sack seasons, he's really developed into a problem. He's like Dhalsim he's all arms and legs which makes him tougher to land hands on.
54) RB Nick Chubb - Cleveland Browns (36)
He was just born to play Runningback. Excellent vision and can pass block too. A solid receiver, he's only getting better. PFF's #1 ranked RB he may see a dip in production if Kareem Hunt takes on a bigger role, but Chubb is capable of being a 3 down bell cow for the Browns.
53) OG Joe Thuney - New England Patriots (N/R)
Such a technician. I'm interested to see how he does with Dante Scarrnechia's departure, but this guy blocked Aaron Donald 1-on-1 for the two biggest plays of Super Bowl LI. Absolute baller.
52) RB Derrick Henry - Tennessee Titans (10)
I'd imagine this could be a controversial ranking for the league's leading rusher. But he's pretty specialized. He's not a receiving threat and doesn't play on 3rd downs. He's an excellent downhill runner on 1st and 2nd down and a load in the open field. But he needs a team built around his skill set, which is what he has in Tennessee right now.
51) S Tyrann Mathieu - Kansas City Chiefs (39)
Has shockingly only made one Pro Bowl, which came in 2015. He has outstanding range and is versatile. He can line up in the slot, play in the box, cover Tight Ends, or play the deep middle. A big reason why the Chiefs are reigning Champions.
50) DT DeForest Buckner - Indianapolis Colts (56)
You know he's good if he gets dealt for the 13th pick straight up. The 49ers wanted him, but just couldn't afford him. He's better than his former interior teammate Arik Armstead and boasts 19.5 sacks and 26 TFLs is the past two seasons. Can he keep it up in Indy?
49) QB Dak Prescott - Dallas Cowboys (46)
Threw for career best 4,902 yards and 30 TDs. And they upgraded their receiving corps with 1st round WR CeeDee Lamb. And he's playing for a huge contract. Look out…
48) EDGE Shaq Barrett - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (32)
Lead the league with 19.5 sacks in his first season as a full-time starter. If that was any indication of what he's capable of, he'll be getting a long term deal from GM Jason Licht soon enough.
47) DT Grady Jarrett - Atlanta Falcons (91)
He's a shorter guy at just 6'0" but stout at 305 lbs. He's really quick and can rush inside and his numbers have gotten better each year across the board. Going into Year 6 he's entering his prime.
46) QB Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay Packers (16)
Played all 16 games and barely cracked 4,000 yards (4,002). Packers moving to a power running game? Rodgers feels slighted by the Jordan Love pick. He's going to set the league on fire this year.
45) S Derwin James - Los Angeles Chargers (N/R)
This could end up being a controversial spot as he missed the first three months of football last season, but he didn't take too long to get the rust off in December. And at 6'2" 215 lbs is physically exactly what you want for the position, but he uses his size so well. He's a great blitzer and just has incredible instincts that you can't teach. You worry about his injury history, but he's only one year removed from playing all 16 games.
44) WR Chris Godwin - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (38)
He's gotten better in each of his three seasons and officially broke out last season with 1,333 yards & 9 TDs. He does everything well from releases, to route running, to having excellent hands, contact balance after the catch, open field elusiveness, and run blocking. He's the most complete receiver in football.
43) LB Eric Kendricks - Minnesota Vikings (83)
He could be even higher, but need more on ball production. His athleticism is silly and he can cover like a nickel, but he's also got 100+ tackles in four straight years. Dominant player.
42) EDGE Von Miller - Denver Broncos (26)
He's been in the league nine years and been to eight Pro Bowls. A lethal get off combined with the ability to convert speed into power make him an unstoppable force when healthy.
41) OT Lane Johnson - Philadelphia Eagles (N/R)
Three straight Pro Bowls for the former #4 overall pick out of Oklahoma. But he'll probably be best known for being the original winner of the Steven Cheah Block of the Year award:
Is anybody on this list too high or too low? Let me know in the comments or on twitter. And stay tuned for #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.