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. They ranked Michael Turner in the top 100 seven years ago, yet the guy couldn't even move. Five summers ago, the fossilized Jared Allen was voted 68th. When he tackled players, he had to find his walker afterward. Three 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!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!
Two years ago, 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.
A year ago, Case Keenum was 51st. Let me repeat that. Case Keenum was 51st. Here's what I wrote:
CASE KEENUM IS 51ST!? WHAT!?!?!?!? HOW IN HELL IS CASE KEENUM BETTER THAN PHILIP RIVERS!?!?!?!?
The NFL players last year thought that Case Keenum was a better player than Philip Rivers. Like I said, these players have no clue.
Predictably, there were some very dumb choices in the NFL Top 100 Players of 2019. I've highlighted them, marking the underrated players in blue and overrated players in red.
99. Derrick Henry: "I don't think Derrick Henry is a top-200 player!" - Kenny Ortiz, who is probably right about Henry.
96. Carson Wentz: OK, not a bad start. I only have a problem with one of the rankings in the 100-91 range. That would be Carson Wentz, who is much better than some of the quarterbacks ranked ahead of him. Why did the players quickly forget that Wentz was the MVP frontrunner in 2017?
80. Mark Ingram: I don't have a big issue with this, but it seems weird to believe that Mark Ingram is a better player than stellar defenders like Harrison Smith, Bradley Chubb and Darius Slay.
78. Kirk Cousins: If Kirk Cousins is the 78th-best player in the NFL, then I'm the Queen of England. Cousins is a mediocre starting quarterback who has an extensive history of choking in late-season games. I don't know if he'd make my top-150 list, so I don't know what in the world he's doing at No. 78.
71. C.J. Mosley: I'm not surprised to see C.J. Mosley this high. He's always been overrated. He's a solid player who thrives in run support, but he's not very good in coverage.
NFL Top 100 Players of 2019: 70-61:
70. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts
69. Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
68. Phillip Lindsay, RB, Broncos
67. Dee Ford, OLB, 49ers
66. Eric Ebron, TE, Colts
65. Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Buccaneers
64. Amari Cooper, WR, Cowboys
63. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, Texans
62. James Conner, RB, Steelers
61. Jaylon Smith, LB, Cowboys
66. Eric Ebron: Eric Ebron has sucked his entire career, yet after a 13-touchdown campaign, thanks to Andrew Luck, he's suddenly better than Matt Ryan, Harrison Smith, Darius Slay and his own teammate, T.Y. Hilton.
65. Jason Pierre-Paul: What year is this, 2014? Jason Pierre-Paul is a good pass rusher, but he's not the 65th-best player in the NFL. Pierre-Paul is also 30, so he was bound to decline before the neck injury he suffered this offseason.
62. James Conner: James Conner is better than Jadeveon Clowney? What!? How can the NFL players vote like this? If you were to ask the Texans and Steelers if they would swap Clowney and Conner, which team would say no first? The Texans, of course. In fact, they'd have to receive a first-round pick in addition to Conner to say yes! Conner is a solid runner, but he was a byproduct of the Steelers' great offensive line. He has no business being in the top 100.
NFL Top 100 Players of 2019: 60-51:
60. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
59. Zack Martin, G, Cowboys
58. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals
57. Danielle Hunter, DE, Vikings
56. Joey Bosa, DE, Chargers
55. Xavien Howard, CB, Dolphins
54. Calais Campbell, DT, Jaguars
53. Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers
52. Tyron Smith, OT, Cowboys
51. Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans
60. Larry Fitzgerald: Larry Fitzgerald is a no-doubt first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he's not the 60th-best player in the NFL any longer.
NFL Top 100 Players of 2019: 50-41:
50. Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns
49. Myles Garrett, DE, Browns
48. Melvin Ingram, OLB, Chargers
47. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers
46. Patrick Peterson, CB, Cardinals
45. DeMarcus Lawrence, DE, Cowboys
44. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
43. David Bakhtiari, OT, Packers
42. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers
41. Cameron Jordan, DE, Saints
50. Baker Mayfield: Baker Mayfield is already better than Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson and Matt Ryan? Umm, OK. I like Mayfield, but this rating is overly optimistic right now.
32. Jared Goff: Goff is a talented quarterback who works hard, and he definitely deserves a spot in the top 100. But not as high as No. 32. Goff has the luxury of being coached up at a very high level by Sean McVay, which is why he has looked so good the past two years. We saw what happens when McVay can't out-coach someone (i.e. Bill Belichick) in the Super Bowl. Goff was completely rattled and played terribly as a result.
29. George Kittle: I like George Kittle, but I wouldn't put him ahead of Zach Ertz. I think it makes sense to swap Kittle and Ertz on this list.
25. Russell Wilson: Russell Wilson is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, and thus he should be a top-10 player. Wilson single-handedly carried the Seahawks to the playoffs last year; without him, Seattle would have two wins at most.
24. Luke Kuechly: The best linebacker in the NFL should be in the top 15, maybe even the top 10.
NFL Top 100 Players of 2019: 20-11:
20. Andrew Luck, QB, Colts
19. Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs
18. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys
17. Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers
16. Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants
15. Bobby Wagner, LB, Seahawks
14. Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints
13. Michael Thomas, WR, Saints
12. J.J. Watt, DE/DT, Texans
11. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans
I have no issues with this group! On the podcast (see the video), I was concerned that the incompetent players would put someone like Nick Foles or Dak Prescott in the top 20, so I'm glad to see that didn't happen.
NFL Top 100 Players of 2017: 10-1:
10. Von Miller, DE/OLB, Broncos
9. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
8. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
7. Antonio Brown, WR, Raiders
6. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
5. Todd Gurley, RB, Rams
4. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs
3. Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Bears
2. Drew Brees, QB, Saints
1. Aaron Donald, DT, Rams
7. Antonio Brown: As far as his previous production is concerned, Antonio Brown is a top-10 player. I don't think there's any doubting that. However, I'd like to bring up two things that would make me question this ranking. First, Brown has always played with a future Hall of Fame quarterback, so we'll have to see how he fares with a sub-par one. Second, Brown's poor attitude in the locker room ruined the Steelers' 2018 campaign, so I think that's something that must be factored into his standing in the top 100.
2. Drew Brees: I love Brees, and he deserves to be in the top 10, but placing him above Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes is questionable. Flipping Brees and Brady's spots in the top 10 would make lots of sense.
NFL Top 100 Players of 2019 - Snubs:
Kevin Byard, S, Titans - There's a reason the Titans signed Kevin Byard to a 5-year, $70.5 million contract. He's one of the best players at his position despite being excluded from the Pro Bowl. Byard was also left out of the top 100, so it seems as though the players are just as clueless as the fans.
Lavonte David, LB, Buccaneers - Lavonte David is one of several players on this list to constantly be snubbed in the top 100. He's one of the top linebackers in the NFL, yet he's always excluded.
Brandon Graham, DE, Eagles - Brandon Graham made the game-winning defensive play in the Super Bowl a year ago, and he followed that up with a terrific 2018 campaign. Graham has been one of the most underrated players in the NFL over the years.
Chris Harris, CB, Broncos - There aren't many cornerbacks in the NFL better than Chris Harris. Had he been slotted in the 40-60 range, I wouldn't have complained about it. Keeping him out of the top 100 is just stupid.
Lane Johnson, OT, Eagles - Lane Johnson is the best right tackle in the NFL. He easily could have made the top 40, yet he was absent from this list entirely.
Alex Mack, C, Falcons - Do NFL players not know who Alex Mack is? He is snubbed every year, yet is perennially the best center in the league.
Shaq Mason, G, Patriots - It could be argued that Shaq Mason is now the top guard in the NFL, so it's ridiculous that he wasn't slotted into the top 100 at all.
Quenton Nelson, G, Colts - Quenton Nelson was another guard who should have been included. His presence on the offensive line was a big factor in Indianapolis' offensive surge in the second half of 2018.
Joe Staley, OT, 49ers - Joe Staley is snubbed every year, and I don't know why. He's an excellent tackle, but players apparently can't appropriately evaluate offensive line performance.
Leonard Williams, DE, Jets - Leonard Williams is another player who is constantly excluded in the top 100. Williams is one of the best defensive linemen in the league, so it's puzzling as to why the players never vote for him.