We're rolling now with the Top 100 list. For reference, here are: #81 - #90, #91 - #100. We roll on as these are my Top 100 Players I'm viewing for this upcoming season based on last season's performance and potential. I did run this by a few people in the league to ensure it's an accurate representation. Here are my guys #71 - #80. The next list will come out next Tuesday at 11am eastern.
*Note - This list is exempt of any Rookies and other Players that played zero games in 2020 due to either injury or opt outs.
80) CB Stephon Gilmore - New England Patriots (2020 Rank: 8)
I might get crushed for this, which is fine, but Gilmore is entering his 10th season and coming off a year in which he fell off quite a bit from his Defensive Player of the Year campaign in 2019. He missed five games and his off-season has been spent rehabbing a quad injury that ended his season early. In 2020, Gilmore's INTs dropped by five (from six => one). But maybe his most troubling stat was his PBUs went from 20 => three in 2019. Is some of that teams just completely shying away from him? Maybe, but my fall wasn't nearly as bad as PFF had him graded, ranking him the 61st overall CB last year giving Gilmore his lowest grade since his second year in the league.
79) OT David Bakhtiari - Green Bay Packers (2020 Rank: 38)
Bakhtiari is one of the best LTs in football, but he tore his ACL during a practice on New Year's eve. Reports vary on his return date but the team is certainly hopeful he'll be back for Week 1 and there is word he's working really hard to make that happen. But the injury is the only reason he is this low as he was outstanding last season for the Pack. He's a good run blocker and fantastic blindside protector in the passing game. And the idea of this guy taking Dana B to the woodshed in a chugging race is also very appealing.
78) C Corey Linsley - Los Angeles Chargers (2020 Rank: N/R)
Speaking of Packers Offensive Lineman, Linsley had a fantastic year as one in 2020 making 1st Team All-Pro at Center. He parlayed that success into a big 5-year/$62.5M contract in Los Angeles to keep their big, young signal caller, Justin Herbert upright. He'll have to adapt to new teammates and a new offense, but Linsley is so talented and such a hard worker (5th rounder in 2014) that I expect him to transition quickly.
77) S Jesse Bates - Cincinnati Bengals (2020 Rank: N/R)
Bates flies under the radar because he plays in Cincinnati, but he's a big time player at the Safety position. He's rangy in coverage and seems to always be around the ball. Bates also has the versatility to come up and drop ballcarriers for minimal yards in run support.
76) G Joel Bitonio - Cleveland Browns (2020 Rank: N/R)
Nick Chubb gets a lot of the glory, but Bitonio is a staple at Left Guard for one of the league's best Offensive Lines. He can anchor against big DTs in pass pro and move them in the run game. Check out this season saving block he makes here:
75) WR Julio Jones - Tennessee Titans (2020 Rank: 9)
Jones was dealt on Sunday to the Titans for a 2nd round pick and a day 3 pick swap in 2023. Jones is entering season 11 and missed seven games last year. When healthy, he's still a freak and a physical marvel, but he's clearly on the back nine of his Hall of Fame career. As long as his body can hold up, he still has the ability to take the Titans to the next level. Pairing him with A.J. Brown is wise as it'll not only give Brown a role model to pattern his work habits after, but it will free up Derrick Henry as it wouldn't be wise to load the box with eight defenders if you've got Brown and Jones on the outside.
74) QB Dak Prescott - Dallas Cowboys (2020 Rank: 49)
This is probably too low, but we're taking injuries into consideration. Dak was playing at an MVP level last year before a gruesome leg injury ended his season after just five weeks. After getting a massive 4-year/$160M contract this off-season, Prescott appears to be all systems go for 2021. Will he need some time to knock the rust off? Will his confidence in the leg be the same? These uncertainties drop him a bit down the list, but he's a no doubt top 10 QB when healthy.
73) EDGE Shaq Barrett - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2020 Rank: 48)
Shaq started off slow coming off a league leading 19.5 sacks in 2019. But it's not how you start, it's how you finish and he was a problem towards the end of the year, especially in the playoffs with four sacks and eight QB hits in the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl combined.
72) LB Darius Leonard - Indianapolis Colts (2020 Rank: 32)
The Maniac is exactly that on the field. His numbers fell slightly this past season, but he's still a force and averages 10 tackles per game in his career. He can also cover, rush the quarterback and of course stop guys in their tracks. Bills QB Josh Allen seems to be leapfrogging, stiff arming, or running by guys. But not the Maniac…
71) CB James Bradberry - New York Giants (2020 Rank: N/R)
Bradberry came to the Giants on a 3-year $43.5M deal which was seen as a big deal for a young guy who had never been to a Pro Bowl. But that all changed this year after making headlines in the Big Apple and showing he was worth every penny. Bradberry made his first Pro Bowl this year and had 18 PBUs which sound like a ton, but then again, he's had double digit PBUs in each of his five NFL seasons.
Stay tuned next Tuesday at 11am eastern for the next installment of my Top 100 list, #61 - #70.