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 #30-21 of this year’s Top 100 were revealed. Tonight, we found out the next 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 20-11 of 2016:
#20: Richard Sherman, CB, Seattle Seahawks – Last year: #11
When a player is one of the first you think of when you are considering the best at a position, he deserves to be this high on this list. Sherman may always be knocked for not trailing a team’s number one receiver, but his skill, effectiveness and impact in the Seahawks system is unquestionable. Against Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant, he allowed a combined 8 catches for just over 60 yards – if that doesn’t scream elite, I don’t know what does.
#19: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans – Last year: Unranked
In a league filled with flashy, uber-productive receivers, Hopkins stood out last year. He makes plays. And that’s the end of it. He has an ability to track the ball and then go and get it like few other receivers in the NFL. He made an unbelievable amount of incredible contested catches, one handed catches and he burned plenty of DB’s too. He finished 3rd in receptions and in receiving yards, despite having to play with 4 different QB’s, none of which are exactly ‘elite’. He is certainly one of the league’s best.
#18: Patrick Peterson, CB, Arizona Cardinals – Last year: #19
After having a down year last year, Peterson returned to the immense level that he has been at for most of his career. He will be on a team’s number one receiver on every single play, and he will rarely get properly beaten. Against two of the league’s best, A.J. Green and Antonio Brown, he allowed just 4 catches for 50 yards, and that’s certainly a one up on Richard Sherman. He deserves to be exactly where he is.
#17: Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks – Last year: #22
Wilson, like the Seahawks, started the year quite slowly. But over the last 10 weeks he was probably the best QB in the NFL. He had his best passing season, by far, reaching the 4000 yard and 30 TD marks. Though they didn’t win the division, he did more than enough to show that he is absolutely worthy of the praise he gets. He can scramble in a way few ever have and will then find the killer pass. For evidence of this, just watch his play against the Vikings in the playoffs. That says everything you need to know about him.
#16: A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals – Last year: #37
The Bengals had a plethora of offensive weapons last season, and Green stood out. As always. Not only is he a physical freak that is tough to beat in any jump ball/contested catch situation, a consistent YAC and big play threat but he is a technician for the receiver position. He excels in every way on the field and can dominate whoever he goes against. This season he joined Randy Moss as the only player to start his career with 5 consecutive 1000+ yard seasons. I think that says it all.
#15: Von Miller, LB, Denver Broncos – Last year: #33
Miller wasn’t always in the spotlight during the regular season thanks to the quality of the Broncos defense, it wasn’t until the playoffs that he seemed to really turn it on. He took over the playoffs and was the biggest part of the Broncos Super Bowl victory. Nevertheless, he still showed plenty in the regular season. He has an great jump off the snap and is possibly the best speed rusher in the NFL. Not only that, but he is more than capable of holding his own in coverage and will do whatever it is that he is asked to do.
#14: Aaron Donald, DT, St. Louis Rams – Last year: #92
Donald is holding the flag high for ‘undersized’ NFL players, every single week. Every single week he wrecked an offenses interior line and almost certainly hit the QB multiple times. Just two years into his career, he has 20 sacks and countless big plays, he is already considered among the position’s elite and it is very hard to question that. What makes him so special is his speed. He is so, so fast for a defensive tackle and can win with just that. In addition, he’ll happily out muscle you and straight up bully you. He should be higher on this list.
#13: Khalil Mack, LB/DE, Oakland Raiders – Last year: #49
Mack was the first player ever to be named a First-Team All-Pro at two different positions in the same year, and it is obvious why. As a linebacker and a defensive end, he amassed over 70 tackles, sacked the QB 15 times and influenced many other plays. In one-on-one blocking situations he dominated everyone that he went against with in any way you can imagine. Furthermore, who can forget that he had 5 sacks – yes, 5 – in one game against the Broncos. He took over that game and won it for the Raiders, and he will likely win several more before all is said and done.
#12: Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals – Last year: Unranked
Coming off his second Torn ACL in his career, Palmer had perhaps his career year. He led the Cardinals to a 13-3 record, the NFC West crown and to the NFC Championship game. He had over 4000 yards, over 30 touchdowns and a 100+ QB rating. Even with the Panthers going undefeated until Week 16, the Cardinals often looked like the best team in the NFL, partly thanks to Palmer’s play and leadership. He and Larry Fitzgerald were the heart and soul of the Cardinals offense and he was definitely one of the positions elite last year.
#11: Josh Norman, CB, Carolina Panthers – Last year: Unranked
Norman came out of nowhere this year and thrust himself into the ‘Best CB in the NFL’ conversation. Like Peterson, he trailed the teams number one receiver every single week, and apart from a few big plays, he shut them down like no other cornerback did. Not only did he shut down several star receivers, but he made QB’s pay on several occasions. He had several picks, but more importantly had 2 pick-6’s. He is one of the most competitive corners in the NFL and he showed it every single week. He has great coverage skills, he can read a QB very well and he has excellent ball skills. The Redskins can’t have believed their luck when he became available.
So there we have it, players 20 through 11. We are now coming towards the end of this year’s list and there is certainly plenty to talk about, but what do you think?
Players 10 through 1 will be revealed next Wednesday at 8pm Eastern Time on NFL Network.