With the 2016 NFL Draft now over, we face another spell of NFL offseason until Training Camp starts. However, to help bridge that gap, we do at least get NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2016, by the players. Last week, players #20-11 of this year’s Top 100 were revealed. Tonight, we found out the last 10.
If you are new to this list, there is only one thing you need to know: It is built by current NFL players, giving us an insight into how the players view each other. Which, in my opinion, makes it the most accurate and interesting player ranking available.
So, without further ado, here are players 10-1 of 2016:
#10: Odell Beckham Jr, WR, New York Giants – Last year: #32
Following his rookie season, Beckham was expected to continue his record breaking pace, and boy, did he. No player has had 150 receptions as quickly as he has, no one has had more receiving yards in their first two seasons and it’s a similar story with touchdowns. He runs amazing routes and has great hands, once he has the ball in his hands he can accelerate past very single person on the defense and outrun them to the end zone. He routinely makes contested catches, diving catches and of course, one handed catches. He is certainly already among the positions and leagues elite.
#9: Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots – Last year: #10
Gronk. Need I say more? Seriously though, he is unlike any other offensive player. There are other very good receiving tight ends, unquestionably, but none do it like Gronk does it. There are also other tight ends who are very good blockers, but none do it like Gronk does it. He is very much alone atop the tight end hierarchy and is one his way to being the greatest of all time.
#8: Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons – Last year: #13
Possibly the best way to describe Julio Jones is ‘unnatural’. He is massive, is one of the faster players on the field in most games, he runs like a running back and will out jump anyone. He can go up and get the ball like very few players in the NFL. There were several occasions last year that the DB did his job, they had good coverage, but Julio Jones managed to outdo them. He was tied with Brown for receptions but managed a few extra yards to complete one of the best single seasons by a receiver in NFL history.
#7: Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina Panthers – Last year: #14
Nobody embodies what a linebacker should be like Kuechly does. He is easily the best linebacker in the NFL right now. He is smart, fast, strong, tough, has a great work ethic and is an every down player. He is a bully against the run and has an uncanny ability to find his way to the ball carrier. Against the pass he is like a safety when he is sitting in a zone, more than willing to pick the ball off or take the head of anyone who comes into his zone. The Panthers front office have done a hell of a job finding two of the most dominating players at their positions for their team.
#6: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers – Last year: #2
Rodgers had a down year without Jordy Nelson, an underperforming Eddie Lacy and a few other injuries. However, he still had numbers that most QB’s can only dream for and he still showed that he is capable of things that very few QB’s in NFL history have been able to do. His movement in the pocket is second-to-none, his ability to throw from unconventional positions is second-to-none and his accuracy is pretty similar. Oh, and he can heave a pretty damn good Hail Mary too.
#5: Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings – Last year: #62
Peterson came back this year with a vengeance. He ran for the elusive Triple Crown; he led the league in carries, yards and rushing touchdowns. He is undoubtedly the most talented running back in the NFL at the moment. He may not be a great receiver, but no running back with his size, who has the power he has, is as fast as him or as quick and so good at cutting in any way humanly possible.
#4: Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers – Last year: #8
There are so many great NFL receivers at the moment, yet Brown stands out like very few other players. Despite his ‘lack of size’ he gets it done like no one else. He is so fast, runs impeccable routes, has very good hands, is a great deep threat, a great punt returner, unstoppable after the catch and he dominates whoever he is playing. He had 136 catches for over 1800 yards. What’s more, he scored two touchdowns on Chris Harris and the Broncos secondary, the first of which hadn’t given up a TD in two calendar years. Brown is a beast.
#3: J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans – Last year: #1
It seems that everything that can be said about J.J. Watt has been said. Long story short, he’s the best defensive player in the NFL and that the NFL has seen for years. He is so complete, and regardless of the fact that he will be at least double teamed on every play, he still racked up 17.5 sacks this year on his way to his third Defensive Player of the Year award. He is too good. Largely due to his play and his defense, the Texans were one of the hottest teams in the second half of the season and that brought them into the playoffs.
#2: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots – Last year: #3
Brady continues to defy father time. At the grand old age of 38 he continued to be the same old QB and was the best passing QB this year. Until Edelman and Gronkowski were lost, or at least effected, by injury, the Patriots looked set for an undefeated season and another Super Bowl. Even with those injuries, and relatively poor o-line play, the Patriots finished the season 12-4 and in the AFC Championship game again. As long as he is playing, he deserves to be in the top 5.
#1: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers – Last year: #73
Cam was simply unstoppable for pretty much every game. He was the same old running QB, like an overgrown RB. He had 10 rushing touchdowns and often came up with a big run or key first down. When he wasn’t running, he really turned it on as a passer. He had another 35 touchdowns through the air, with receivers like Tedd Ginn and Jerricho Cotchery catching passes. Your team can’t be 15-1 without great QB play, and Cam was absolutely the deserving MVP last year and the best player in the NFL.
So there we have it, the top 10 players of 2016 as voted by the players. So what do you think? Who has been left off that you think deserved a spot? Who was overrated? Do you think RealSport’s version is better? Let us know!