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
Von Miller, Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, Denver Broncos
(TD: #5, RC: #8, CT: #5, RR: #13, DH: #14, DP: #9, RT: #3)
The reigning Super Bowl MVP and soon-to-be richest defender in the NFL checks in at #8.
Von Miller’s destructive capabilities have been on full display ever since he entered the league as the second overall pick in 2011. Miller has a stunning 17 sacks in 2015, including playoffs, but we’ve had plenty of impressive pass rushers appear on this list, what separates Von Miller from the likes of Carlos Dunlap or Justin Houston?
This is the kind of thing Miller brings to the table as a pass rusher that very few can match. Don’t watch the fast feet and exceptional body control in the above gif. Watch his head – he doesn’t look directly at the offensive tackle even once. His eyes are FIXED on Derek Carr. He takes his steps up field and he’s eyeballing the quarterback. When Austin Howard, a $30 million tackle, goes for the cut block Miller doesn’t look at him – he stays fixated on his target and turns into the NFL version of Nightcrawler as he skips inside Howard and then bends around the J’Marcus Webb as he gets driven back and runs through Derek Carr’s soul.
That kind of move is spectacular with a glance at the tackle, without it it’s unreal.
But Miller’s pass rushing is always lauded. 66.5 sacks in 79 games will do that for you, but what really makes Miller invaluable is the fact that he can stand up and play really well at linebacker as well. Against New England in the playoffs he rushed Tom Brady and nearly hit him on one play, only to drop back, read him and pick off a pass meant for Rob Gronkowski. There are no full time pass rushers who can cover Gronk while reading Brady. Miller? He can.