With the NFL’s top 100 well under way, we here at Real Sport thought we would give you our own version; The RS 100. Every writer here had the chance to vote for the 100 best players from the 2015 season. This ranking was done regardless of position value or salary cap cost. It was simply based on who had the best 2015 season. As a result you won’t see quality players like Jordy Nelson anywhere on our ranking as he didn’t play a single snap in the 2015 season. Voting panel: Toby Durant, Remy Cabache, Cameron Tennyson, Rebecca Rennie, Daniel Hernandez, David Pruett, Ryan Tolster
70: Carlos Dunlap, DE, Cincinnati Bengals
(TD: #52, RC: #79, CT: #76, RR: #86, DH: #73, DP: NR, RT: #95) A solid player throughout his 5 yr career with the Bengals coming into 2015, Dunlap typified the improvement of the entire defense from functional to elite registering double digits sacks for the first time in his career. Always a solid player against the run, the 13.5 sacks this year showed he has elite pass rushing skills to go with it.
69: Kam Chancellor, Safety, Seattle Seahawks
(TD: NR, RC: #80, CT: #82, RR: #93, DH: #58, DP: #87, RT: #61) Accustomed to being higher on these kind of lists, Chancellor probably hurt himself with his ill-advised holdout that lasted into the season last year. By seasons end, Chancellor, and by extension, the Seahawks defense were again performing at an elite level but the early season holdout and accumulated rust were enough to see him drop outside the top 50 position his talent should merit.
68: Stephen Gostkowski, K, New England Patriots
(TD: NR, RC: #49, CT: #52, RR: #88, DH: #78, DP: #93, RT: #73) That a kicker is ranked this high might come as a surprise; that that kicker is Stephen Gostkowski is not. Having established himself as the top player at his position Gostkowski continues to deliver, posting his 3rd straight season converting over 90% of his kicks. The veneer did slip in the playoffs however, when he missed the first XP since his rookie season, a kick that likely would have seen New England go to overtime in the AFC Championship game.
67: Chris Ivory, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (New York Jets 2015)
(TD: NR, RC: #73, CT: #66, RR: #99, DH: #60, DP: #56, RT: #65) Ivory was part of a running back by committee approach early in his career with the Saints and then again when he joined the Jets. Last year though he proved he is capable of being a feature back as his pounding style took him over the 1000 yard mark for the first time in his career. It was somewhat of a surprise that the Jets allowed him to leave in free agency and sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
66: Navarro Bowman, LB, San Francisco 49ers
(TD: #34, RC: #71, CT: #94, RR: NR, DH: #48, DP: #72, RT: #92) Following his horrific knee injury at the back end of 2014 just getting back on the field was an achievement for Navarro Bowman. He did more than that though, playing at his customary high level despite the changing cast around him. Another year removed from the injury, look for Bowman to climb this list again in 2016.
65: Chandler Jones, DE, Arizona Cardinals (NE Patriots 2015)
(TD: NR, RC: #70, CT: #61, RR: #74, DH: #72, DP: #60, RT: #60) Strange off field happenings aside, Jones was an elite performer in 2015 on a defense that always seems to play better than the talent suggests it should. Talent is not something Jones lacks though, nor is production with 12.5 sacks, 4 Forced Fumbles and an Interception a strong return. Some surprise then, that New England were willing to trade him to Arizona this offseason.
64: Zack Martin, G, Dallas Cowboys
(TD: #66, RC: #60, CT: #NR, RR: #26, DH: #68, DP: #85, RT: #79) Just 2 yrs into his career Martin has already established himself as one of the top players in the position -2 Pro Bowls in 2 years, 1st team All Pro in 2014 and 2nd team All Pro in 2015. Although injuries played a part in the offensive production of the Cowboys dropping, the play of Martin did not leading to a deserved position on this list.
63: Phillip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers
(TD: #33, RC: #93, CT: #32, RR: NR, DH: #83, DP: #66, RT: #37) Don’t let the team’s record fool you – Phillip Rivers was a tremendously effective QB last season. Operating a hugely under powered offense decimated by injuries, the play of Rivers kept San Diego in more games than they should have been in, even if they weren’t winning. With weapons returning, Rivers will hope that his high level of play is rewarded in the win column.
62: Malcolm Jenkins, Safety, Philadelphia Eagles
(TD: #55, RC: #51, CT: #47, RR: #61, DH: #53, DP: #58, RT: NR) A rare bright spot in a troubled Philadelphia defense, Jenkins has justified the big contract given to him in 2014 by Chip Kelly with consistent high level play. A 99yd interception return TD from a Tom Brady throw is a good way to cement your place on this list!
61: Andrew Whitworth, Tackle, Cincinnati Bengals
(TD: #43, RC: #46, CT: #45, RR: #24, DH: NR, DP: #86, RT: #78) Whitworth played somewhat inspired in 2015, perhaps motivated by Cincinnati using high draft picks on Offensive Tackles the last 2 yrs. In his 10th season, Whitworth showed he isn’t ready to move on from the only team he has known in the NFL, with his 3rd First team All Pro selection.
- RealSport NFL Top 100: Selections 100-91
- RealSport NFL Top 100: Selections 90-81
- RealSport NFL Top 100: Selections 80-71