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RealSport Top 100 NFL players of 2017: #90-#81

We look at the top 100 players of the 2016 season, focusing here on 90-81

#90 – Ryan Kerrigan, Outside Linebacker, Washington Redskins

The ever-reliable Kerrigan has now gone six straight seasons as an NFL starter without missing a single game. Statistically he had a career low year in combined tackles with just 33, and forced fumbles with just 2. However, with 11 sacks this 6’4” outside linebacker is as consistent and effective as ever. This powerful, strong runner isn’t the fastest runner overall, but is fast off the mark and uses his length to his advantage, always getting to his man.

#89 – DeMarco Murray, Running Back, Tennessee Titans

Way too low in my opinion, the talented runner has finally found a home in Nashville. After a great four years as a Cowboy, including back to back 1,000+ rushing yard campaigns, his one and only year in Philly came to a disappointing end as the Chip Kelly era collapsed. However, with a strong offensive line to lean on in Tennessee, he finally flourished with 1,287 rushing yards and nine TDs, together with his 377 receiving yards and three TDs, he was finally back to his best. Whilst not the prettiest runner, he’s a grinder who will get the job done, and proved reliable from day one as a Titan. 

#88 – Taylor Lewan, Tackle, Tennessee Titans

The third year tackle is proving to be as strong and consistent an O-lineman as you could want. In his first full year as a starter, he showed his worth throughout, proving capable of blocking even the toughest DE’s. He’s strong, smart, reads defenses well, and most importantly cannot be run past thanks to incredible blocking ability. A sure fire starter for years to come, given his size, effectiveness, and consistency, an heir apparent to Bruce Matthews perhaps?

#87 – Matthew Stafford, Quarterback, Detroit Lions

The comeback king had a great year in Detroit. Since his one and only 5,000+ passing yard season back in 2011, including 2016 he has now had five consecutive 4,000+ passing yard seasons. In 2016, as the Lions seemed to rely purely on the fourth quarter to win games, he proved his standing as one of the top QBs in the league with multiple outstanding clutch performances to rescue the inconsistent Lions. His big arm and very vocal self belief suits their strong receiver core to a T, with Anquan Boldin, Golden Tate, and Eric Ebron to target, making their offense extremely hard to defend with a QB like Stafford at the helm. 

#86 – Doug Baldwin, Wide Receiver, Seattle Seahawks

The 6th year star receiver had another great year in 2016. With 1,228 receiving yards, and seven TDs he proved to be ever trusted by QB Russell Wilson with 94 receptions overall. While he recorded only half of his 2015 TD tally, he proved once again he has some of the best hands in the league with some incredible receptions throughout the season. His quick feet and fast, nimble running is a nightmare for any secondary, and combining this with the accuracy of Wilson, and the duo are a threat to any defense.

#85 – Cam Newton, Quarterback, Carolina Panthers

After a year like 2015, it was inevitable that Newton would take at least a slight confidence knock from their slightly surprising Super Bowl defeat to the Broncos. However, nobody could have foreseen the complete annihilation of their offense as seen in 2016. While Newton attempted to steady the ship with some decent play, by his standards it was a disappointment, and he certainly let his disappointment get the better of him at times throughout the year. Hopefully, with a fresh year ahead of him, the Panthers will get back to their normal selves and Newton will return to being the epitome of a dual threat QB that is arguably the best in the league. 

#84 – Grady Jarrett, Defensive Tackle, Atlanta Falcons

In his first full year as a starter, Jarrett recorded 48 combined tackles and three sacks. The young DT was a wall in the middle of that Falcons D-line throughout the season, proving extremely strong as a run defender in particular. He overpowers his opponents to such an extent he practically barges through them, even striking fear into the eyes of the GOAT Tom Brady in Super Bowl LI. It was there that he really shone, with not just his power but his speed causing New England a lot of problems.

At just 24 this young player has a very bright future ahead of him as possibly one of the best defensive tackles in the league. 

#83 – Linval Joseph, Defensive Tackle, Minnesota Vikings

Big, strong, fast. The former Giant is in his seventh NFL season for is second team, but shows no signs of slowing down. He recorded a career-high 77 combined tackles and four sacks in what was a strong year for the Vikings at their new home. A hard-hitting run blocker, he finds gaps to get at the QB with ease as he can overpower most in his way. This underrated D-lineman merited his first Pro Bowl invite, and will hope next year he can add a second Super Bowl ring to his collection. 

#82 – Richie Incognito, Guard, Buffalo Bills

At 33 you’d expect a physical lineman to be on the home stretch, and possibly past his prime. However, in 2016 he was invited to his third Pro Bowl, and established himself yet again as a force to be reckoned with in the Bills offensive line. The 319 pound guard can block just about anybody, clearing the path for ‘Shady’ McCoy to exploit to his hearts content. Thanks in part to Incognito the Bills run game is strong, making up for issues on passing, and I can guarantee that despite his, shall we say advanced age, he will be around for many more years to come. 

#81 – Andrew Luck, Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts

The Colts QB had another good year, which in Indianapolis is impressive in of itself. Let down time and time again by an inconsistent offensive line and a defense which was quite simply dreadful, Luck still managed 4,240 passing yards and an overall QB rating of 96.4 over the year. With TY Hilton and Jack Doyle to target, and Frank Gore backing him up at RB, his offensive weapons remain potent, and with a little luck, next year the fans will get to see the full ability of this big armed QB.

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Anthony Reinier Wood

Thanks for viewing my profile! I've been a writer with RealSport since October 2016, focusing primarily on the NFL, and occasionally Football (Or soccer for any Americans among you). I love hearing feedback and your opinions so feel free to comment, contact me via email, or follow me on Twitter and Facebook!

RealSport Top 100 NFL players of 2017: #90-#81

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