The NFL Top 100 is an annual off season countdown of the NFL’s best players. The series has ran since 2011 and although it has it’s controversies it is a list that NFL fans look forward to. The list is voted for by NFL players in a poll designed by the league itself, where players are suppose to vote based on upcoming season projections.
The season finale of this years top 100 is tonight, and although we know the players who will feature we don’t know the order in which they will be placed. There has never been a two time, number 1, New England Patriots’ Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers are in contention for the honour as both will be placed somewhere in the top 10 tonight.
Trying to predict where the top 10 will be placed is tough, because evidently they’re all great players, but we’re going to give it a go.
10- Le’Veon Bell
Bell last season was just something else. He missed the first four games through suspension. A quarter of his season gone before he even got started. Despite that however he still put up massive numbers. He averaged 156 yards per game from the line of scrimmage, 105 rushing and 51 receiving, and also had a total of seven rushing and two receiving touchdowns.
He did all that despite only playing six games in 2015 and missing the first four of 2016. Just incredible. The stats only show you so much, one thing it won’t show is the amazing patience that Bell possess in the backfield waiting for the O-Line to create the gap before he takes off. If he injury and suspension free he could be near impossible to deal with.
9- Ezikiel Elliot.
The fact a rookie season performance was enough to get Elliot into the top 10 says a lot about how impressive that rookie season was. Zeke was drafted 4th overall by the Cowboys in the 2016 draft and his impact was immediate. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry and racked up a total of 1,631 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns from his 15 regular season games in 2016.
It was his explosiveness, and ability to break through for massive gains that made the league sit back and realise we where watching a guy who’s going to be running all over the league for years to come. In 10 of his 15 games last year Elliot had 20+ yard long runs.
The reason I have him 9th is because despite all that, he didn’t even win rookie of the year last season, that award was giving to his Cowboy teammate Dak Prescott, who placed 14th, so I’m relatively surprised Zeke has already placed better than Dak.
8- Khalil Mack
Mack was picked 4th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft and has been a major player for Oakland since. He was an absolute standout for the Raider last season on defence, and the year before that. He averages double digit sacks per season since coming into the league, with a total of 30. Demonstrating just how elite his pass rushing is.
A long with his 11 sacks last season, Mack had a pick 6 and a total of 5 forced fumbles. Impressive in itself but when you talk about clutch plays that’s exactly what they where. His ability to make a play when it appeared to matter most is what was most impressive.
Mack on defence and Derek Carr leading the offence, Raiders fan’s have a lot to be hopeful about in the upcoming seasons.
7- Odell Beckham Junior
OBJ is quickly becoming one of the biggest stars in sports never mind the NFL. His on off relationship with a kickers net last season was one of the most oddly intriguing and captivating parts of a Giant’s game. First he hit, and it hit him back, then he apologised, then he proposed. It was like a bad love story from a soap opera.
Despite all the sideshow stuff Beckham is one of the league’s elite players. In each of his three seasons in the National Football League Beckham put in Pro Bowl earning performances. He averages, 374 yards, and 12 touchdowns, making his average slightly better than his performance last season, which was 1,367 yards for 10 touchdowns. Despite being slightly lower than Beckham’s average, his 2016 performances did prove to be enough to help the Giants get to the play offs for the first time in Beckham’s young career.
It’s not just the remarkable stats, it’s the big plays. He’s becoming famous for his impressive shows of athleticism to make the most ridiculous catches. Despite an awful first showing in an NFL post season, Beckham should surly bounce back and remain among the league’s elite next season.
6- Antonio Brown
The second member of the elite Steelers offensive trio to feature in the top 10, Antonio Brown’s stats are simply phenomenal. It’s mind blowing to think the Brown wasn’t taking until the 6th round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
In the last four seasons Brown has averaged 120 catches, 1,579 yards and 11 touchdowns. With those kind of numbers it’s very easy to see why he’s in the top 10.
5- Von Miller
The Super Bowl 50 MVP is a sack machine. Not many would argue if you say Miller is the best defensive player in the league. He and Mack are the only two defensive players to feature in the top 10, so I think it’s only right that at least one defensive player is in the top 5.
The 2013 Season aside, where Miller was suspended and had a knee injury, he has got double digit sacks every season in the NFL, including that monstrous rookie season where he exploded into the league with 18.5 sacks. It’s not just his regular season performances that get him recognition. In the 2015/16 AFC Championship game against Tom Brady’s Patriots and Super Bowl 50 against Cam Newton and the Panther, Miller got five sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception across the two games. Clutch performances to say the least.
4- Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan was last season MVP, a lot of amazing performers last year but Ryan tipped them all, that says enough in itself. His MVP season saw him lead the Atlanta Falcons to a 11-5 regular season record where Ryan threw for 4,944 yards, a TD-INT ratio of 38-7 and achieved a passer rating of 117.1.
As much as those stats are incredible, his post season performances where arguably better. In his three post season games, Ryan threw for 1,014 yards, with a 9-0 TD-INT ratio and a passer rating of 135.3.
I suppose the biggest question mark beside Ryan and the Falcons is whether or not they can bounce back from that disappointing Super Bowl loss to the Patriots, as well as losing their highly rated offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
Atlanta Falcons have the MVP in Matt Ryan, but the impact Julio Jones made to their offence last season both just amazing. Jones has over 1,400 receiving yards in the last three seasons. Including a career high of 1,871 in 2015. It’s those kind of numbers that make NFL corner backs and defensive coordinators fear the prospect of facing the Falcons.
Seemingly all attention is on containing Jones, it just opens of the offensive for big plays elsewhere, last year Freeman, Sanu and Gabriel had brilliant seasons and the Julio Jones effect must be credited somewhat for those performances.
He is an absolute must to defend against correctly, if you don’t he will punish you, just ask the Panthers, his 300 yard game against them in week four of last season ranks as one of the best receiving games in the leagues history.
His big play ability is on another level, and he demonstrated that in the biggest stage where he made one of the most unbelievable catches I’ve ever seen, if you haven’t seen it or want to watch it again click on the highlighted text. When Jones made that catch I thought there was no way Falcons where losing, not with Julio making plays like that. I was wrong.
2- Aaron Rodgers
You think Aaron Rodgers you think about those absolutely spectacular plays when his team needed him most. Or what about the incredible game he and the Packers had in the play offs against the Cowboys? Amazing stuff.
The Packers have had some elite quarterbacks in their history but Rodgers is right up there. His clutch plays are something else. Last season he had 40-7 TD to INT ratio, threw for 4,428 yards and despite that being his best since 2011, it just felt like a routine season for Rodgers.
Last season in week 11, everything looked down for the Packers. They had lost four in a row, they where 4-6 heading into week 12, the chances of getting to the play offs looked minimal, if not just a case of mathematics keeping them in contention. It certainly didn’t seem realistic, but Packers have Rodgers and went on a five game winning streak and got all the way to the NFC Championship game just to be beat by the Atlanta Falcons.
1- Tom Brady
I think Brady will be the first player to get the honour of being the first two time number one in the NFL top 100. As a result of deflate-gate Brady like Le’Veon Bell who started my top 10 missed the first four games of the season because of suspension.
Brady is arguably the best players there’s ever been never mind right now. His 28-2 TD-INT ratio last season set an NFL record. Despite missing a quarter of the season, Brady still threw for 3,554 yards, achieving a passer rating of 112.2.
But let’s be honest the reason why Brady is at the top of this list, is because of that comeback. Manchester United v Bayern Munich 1999, Liverpool v AC Milan 2005, Cavs v Golden State Warriors in 2016. But was any of those legendary sporting comebacks as good as the Patriots comeback against the Falcons in Super Bowl 51? I really doubt it 25 points down, that is crazy. Yet somehow, someway, Tom Brady managed to lead the Patriots to victory, to win his record fifth Super Bowl ring.
The G.O.A.T? Possibly? The best in the NFL? We’ll have to wait to see tonight when the NFL countdown their top 10 at 8PM Eastern.