Monday, June 26, 2017

Official 2017 r/NFL Top 100 Players (of the 2016 Season) - #100-91

Hello and welcome again to the r/NFL Top 100 Countdown!

Today we bring you the actual start of the Top 100 unveiling the player ranked from 100 thru 91, with write-ups for each player from some of this year’s rankers. We say it in every post, every year, and this year it is truer than ever- these rankings are for the 2016 season, so all players are listed with their 2016 team! To make sure you’ve read this, if someone comments about “Hey, [insert player here] plays for [insert team here]” they get mentioned in the next post for scorn, mockery and derision!

If you missed Friday’s post of the Honorable Mentions you can head right over here to our hub post and check it out!

But before we got to our rankings, remember that you, the readers of r/NFL are telling us if you think a player will have a better ranking next year, a worse ranking, or if they will be roughly the same. Today we are looking at the rankings for the Honorable Mention group

#120 - Ryan Shazier - 3-4 ILB - PIT 63.11% 27.18% 9.71%
#119 - Jordan Reed - TE - WAS 40.78% 28.16% 31.07%
#118 - Linval Joseph 4-3 DT - MIN 30.10% 49.51% 20.39%
#117 - Telvin Smith 4-3 OLB - JAX 43.69% 37.86% 18.45%
#116 - Kevin Zeitler - OG - CIN 21.36% 46.60% 32.04%
#115 - Danielle Hunter - 4-3 DE - MIN 33.98% 45.63% 20.39%
#114 - Vontaze Burfict - 4-3 OLB - CIN 9.71% 21.36% 68.93%
#113 - Josh Norman - CB - WAS 39.81% 27.18% 33.01%
#112 - David DeCastro - OG - PIT 33.01% 49.51% 17.48%
#111 - Everson Griffen - 4-3 DE - MIN 35.92% 47.57% 16.50%
#110 - Jason Pierre-Paul - 4-3-DE - NYG 38.83% 30.10% 31.07%
#T-108 - Jarvis Landry - WR - MIA 70.87% 20.39% 8.74%
#T-108 - Cliff Avril - 4-3 DE - SEA 26.21% 45.63% 28.16%
#107 - Larry Fitzgerald - WR - ARI 11.65% 29.13% 59.22%
#106 - Kirk Cousins - QB - WAS 45.63% 25.24% 29.13%
#105 - Amari Cooper - WR - OAK 76.70% 15.53% 7.77%
#104 - Mason Foster - 3-4 ILB - WAS 8.74% 64.08% 27.18%
#103 - Donald Penn - OT - OAK 29.13% 45.63% 25.24%
#102 - Zach Brown - 3-4 ILB - BUF 25.24% 45.63% 29.13%
#101 - Michael Bennett - 4-3 DE - SEA 34.95% 31.07% 33.98%

And now, are you ready for this year’s list?

Then here it is, Part I of the Top 100 Players (of the 2016 Season). Players ranked #100-91!

#100 - Xavier Rhodes - CB - Minnesota Vikings - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Xavier’s Rhodes stats here!

Written by /u/uggsandstarbux

THE RHODES CLOSED!!! After struggling with DPI's for the first few seasons of his career, Rhodes has developed into the prototypical shutdown CB. Most people probably remember seeing this play on the highlight reel, where Rhodes was clocked at 22.4 MPH - the fastest speed of anyone all season. But Rhodes didn't hit the highlight reel much more than that because he didn't allow anything his way. He allowed the lowest catch rate of any CB this season and held Eli Manning to an 11.9 passer rating when targeting Odell Beckham. That translated to 3 catches on 9 targets for 23 yards and 1 pick. But OBJ wasn't the only WR Rhodes shut down:

TY Hilton: 3 REC / 7 TGT / 45 YDS / 0 TD

DeAndre Hopkins: 5 REC / 9 TGT / 56 YDS / 1 TD (in garbage time)

Alshon Jeffery: 5 REC / 11 TGTs / 73 YDS / 1 TD (in two games)

Rhodes is a free agent after this season. Don't be surprised to see him become the highest paid CB in the league. He absolutely deserves it. He is a franchise player, and I hope he is a Viking for life. SKOL!

#99 - Dont’a Hightower - 4-3 MLB - New England Patriots - Previous Rank: 85

Check out Dont’a Hightower’s stats here!

Written by /u/ward0630

“No mistakes. No ‘my bads.’ There’s none of that no more. Everything ‘got to be perfect.’”

This single quote embodies what Dont’a Hightower means to a New England Patriots defense that ranked number one in points allowed last season. Hightower was the captain of this unit, so when it needed a clutch play he was the one asked to turn the tide and every time he was asked he delivered.

Hightower was the captain of a front seven that did not allow a 90+ yard rusher all season despite going up against the likes of LeSean McCoy, Jay Ajayi, David Johnson, and Le’Veon Bell. The accomplishments of this defense can, in many ways, be attributed to Hightower’s ability to plug the run, disguise his blitzes, and direct the defense in the face of talented quarterbacks leading high-caliber offenses.

But Hightower’s biggest achievements came when the team needed him most. Down 4 at home against the Bengals in Tom Brady’s homecoming, it was Hightower who provided a crucial play to permanently alter the tide of the game. Here you can see Hightower diagnose the blocking scheme, approach the line of scrimmage with Le’Veon Bell-esque patience before accelerating through the hole to drop Dalton for a safety. On the very next drive Gronkowski scored a TD that gave the Patriots the lead, and they never gave it back.

That was a prelude to a play that may be considered the turning point for the Patriots in their inconceivable, impossible comeback. That play came on a 3rd down and 1 with eight minutes and thirty seconds left in the game, the Patriots down by 16. Hightower disguises his blitz, gets around Devonta Freeman, and makes the play that changes the course of the game.

These plays are why Dont’a Hightower is worthy of a place on this list. He is the leader of a defensive unit that is mentally strong because its leaders, including Hightower, are mentally strong. He is the man the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady turn to when they need to do the impossible, and in doing so alter the course of history. That is why Dont’a Hightower is on this list.

#98 - Russell Wilson - QB - Seattle Seahawks - Previous Rank: 22

Check out Russell Wilson’s stats here!

Written by /u/Nintendog24

If one were to sum up Wilson’s 2016 season with one picture, it would be this one. In the first part of the season, Wilson injured his ankle, his knee and other ankle, and his pec. Due to this, Wilson experienced a down season after his record breaking stretch of games in the back half of the 2015 season. Other than center Justin Britt, the top PFF graded offensive linemen was Mark Glowinski who graded as the 63rd best guard. Despite Wilson’s time to throw being a career best, about 2.5 seconds, his pressure percentage still hovered around 40% for the year behind PFF’s worst offensive line in the league and he put up the most passing yards in the league while under pressure

Wilson is mainly this low due to polarizing opinions on him. Some say he was efficient and dealt with the offense he was given better than most any other quarterback and some say he did not have the volume stats. Nothing personified the Wilson’s toughness and the offensive inconsistency than the week 1 game against the Dolphins where, after Wilson and the offense went relatively nowhere for most of the same game, and after twisting his ankle to the point where he was almost completely immobile for the rest of the game, Wilson engineered his 1st 4th quarter comeback of the year.

Overall, Wilson certainly had a down year and I think the ranking is about right. While his overall stats were not high in comparison to other QB’s, his efficiency despite an inconsistent offense around him (sans Baldwin and Graham) was still good enough to put him in the 90’s.

#97 - Jurrell Casey - 3-4 DT - Tennessee Titans - Previous Rank: 53

Check out Jurrell Casey’s stats here!

Written by /u/thamasthedankengine

The man known as "Butt Crack" has been receiving lots of attention the past two season. After being selected to the Pro Bowl himself, rather than as an alternate, for the first time in his 6 year career, as well as being selected #86 on the NFL Top 100 by his peers this season.

He's been called "The Best Interior Lineman You've Never Heard Of" so many times that at this point most people know who he is now. Being a 3-Tech at 6'1" 305 lbs, you wouldn't expect the speed and agility of the big man. In the NFL Top 100 Video you can see a few examples of his cuts across lineman, the likes of which some Running Backs wish they could do.

One of my favorite things about Jurrell Casey is his drive and effort. From the 2015 season is probably the best example, when Jurrell nearly ran down Brandon Marshall.

Jurrell Casey and Brian Orakpo were the Titans defensive captains this past season as the corner stones of Dick's D as the Titans make a recovery from the Ken Whisenhunt and Ruston Webster years. The hope among Titans fans is that Casey can play in Two-Toned Blue for years to come, and that one day (soon) he can walk on the field for a Playoff Game.

#96 - Marcus Cannon - Tackle - New England Patriots - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Marcus Cannon’s stats here!

Written by /u/ward0630

Marcus Cannon Writeup:

Seventeen months ago, Marcus Cannon was scapegoated for an AFC Championship loss that saw Tom Brady get hit more times in a single game than any quarterback in the last 10 years. The top comments on r/patriots after that game were nothing short of an indictment of Cannon, and everything from his talent to his work ethic was questioned. (ed note: Von Miller owes at least $1,000,000 to him for this game - MJP)

“Cannon has been embarrassing.”

“Cannon weighs 300 pounds and blocks like he weighs 150.”

The distaste for Cannon grew to such proportions that users argued his $3million cap hit was toxic, questioned how Bill Belichick could ever sign such a player, and all but demanded he be cut before the team boarded the plane back to New England.

“They save like $3M if they cut him. It should be a no-brainer; he’s terrible.”

As late as September, Bill Barnwell said Cannon was “nobody’s idea of a 16-game starter.”

With a new season and a new offensive line coach in Dante Scarnecchia, Cannon underwent the most dramatic turnaround that any offensive lineman has seen in recent memory. A little over nine months after that disaster in Denver, Cannon signed a 5 year, $32.5 million extension.

Only three months later, Cannon was announced as an Associated Press and a PFF second team all-pro, with the highest PFF rating among all right tackles after the Patriots week 9 bye. Cannon also helped pave the way for LeGarrette Blount, who ran for over 1100 yards and led the NFL in rushing touchdowns.

Marcus Cannon is a story of persistence and redemption. Marcus Cannon’s abilities and performance put him on this list, but I suspect that his story carries across all fanbases and backgrounds.

For a player who was so derided to become a symbol of redemption and success in such a short time is remarkable. More than that, it is inspiring. Cannon has overcome non-Hodgkin lymphoma, foot injuries, and animosity from analysts and fans of his own team to become one of the best offensive linemen in the country. There may be other players who are more talented or more productive, but to me there is no inclusion more meaningful on this list than that of Marcus Cannon.

#95 - Gerald McCoy - 4-3 DT - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Previous Rank: 89

Check out Gerald McCoy’s stats here!

Written by /u/YouMake

Gerald McCoy has been the longest lasting star on the Buccaneers roster, he has endured some truly bad teams. Through all of this though he is still the engine that makes that defense go. McCoy's duty in the defense is to defend the weakside B gap, and to funnel the runner to David who is able to move around freely due to McCoy. He has also been our best pass rusher in the defense for a long time. Probably not known outside of the TB circle, but McCoy played most of the season through injury never complaining once about it.

Gerald more often than not draws the double team, and yet is able to produce in TB's defensive scheme. As a former D3 3tech McCoy's usage of proper footwork and his hands is absolute perfection. He's able to penetrate the OL exactly where they want it least ... up the gut. Gerald McCoy is a complete DL in every sense of the position.

#94 - Brandon Brooks - Guard - Philadelphia Eagles - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Brandon Brooks’ stats here!

Written by /u/MikeTysonChicken

At the end of the 2015 season, one thing was painfully clear: the Eagles needed a talent infusion along their offensive line. Under Chip Kelly, the Eagles only drafted 1 offensive lineman (Lane Johnson), while cutting others over the course of his tenure. There were many reasons for this, but its impact cannot be understated: the offensive line was in shambles with a lack of interior talent.

After the 2015 season, the Eagles signed the underrated Brandon Brooks from the Houston EaglesPipeline Texans, (my bad) for 5 years and $40 million. Fortunately for the Eagles, this signing paid huge dividends. Brooks has helped solidify the right guard position in passing and running game. Brooks is a mammoth of a man, at 6’5” 335, with a great ability to drive block with power in the run game as well block on the move, since he has excellent footwork. For what it’s worth, at his Pro Day in 2012, Brooks ran a 4.99 40 with a 1.71 10-yard split at 346 pounds. Additionally, Brooks added a 7.37 3-cone time at his Pro Day, which would have placed him at 3rd in this NFL draft class. The man blocks like a power lineman with the athletic ability to play in a zone scheme – yikes!

Brooks wins with strength and athleticism, helping fill a massive hole on the right side of the Eagles line. Brooks is also an excellent pass blocker, finishing as PFFs 7th rated guard in this area, in addition to finishing as their second-best run blocking guard. Overall, Brooks finished as PFFs 4th rated guard for 2016, as well as 10th among guards on the NFL 1000 positional list. He performed as one of the best guards in the game while playing alongside 5 starting right tackle combinations last season due to Lane Johnson’s suspension and subsequent injuries to other players. At 27, Brooks has a lot of good football left and should continue to serve as an anchor on the line for the next several years. In the meantime, if you are an Eagles fan and went to Miami of Ohio, invite Brooks to your wedding... he might just show up.

#93 - Doug Baldwin - WR - Seattle Seahawks - Previous Rank: 73

Check out Doug Baldwin’s stats here!

Written by /u/Super_Nerd92

Last year, /u/ciscocertified (ed note: He’s almost certified. We’re working on the CCNA flashcards this month - MJP) wrote that "2015 was the year [Baldwin] made it to the national stage." He also made what I believe was his debut on the /r/NFL Top 100 list at 73. Baldwin has slipped in the rankings a bit this year, but the Seahawks' hands-down best receiver and 2nd best QB definitely deserves the spot for the second year in the row.

Just glancing at the stats tells the story: Baldwin became an even more critical component of Seattle's offense. He posted 16 more receptions (on 22 more targets) and 100+ more yards over 2015, as the Seahawks' injured and ineffective run game put more weight on the pass. His TDs are down--from 14 to 7--which likely explains dropping the ranks that he did. But that story is more about the return of Jimmy Graham as the #1 red zone option, and of course Russell Wilson playing less effectively as he struggled with injuries that should've sidelined him, than any dip in Baldwin's play.

But let's ignore the stats--Baldwin passed the eye test with flying colors. His drop rate remained one of the lowest in the league according to PFF. In fact, according to their analysis, he caught 80.9 percent of the passes thrown towards him this season, the highest percentage among players with over 100 targets. His route-running was as crisp as ever. I'll leave you with a breakdown of my favorite game of the season, where Baldwin single-handedly torched the Super Bowl champions' secondary and powered Seattle's best win of the season.

#92 - Paul Posluszny - 4-3 MLB - Jacksonville Jaguars - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Paul Posluszny’s stats here!

Written by /u/Metaboss84

With the smell of the salty sea air hanging over Everbank stadium, one of the greatest gifts to the world Poland has ever given once again turns on the preparation.exe routine. He downs his nutritional supplement G, today, for tomorrow is gameday in in the Bank, and the machine must operate at full capacity. Once again, spry rookies look down with confused amazement as the greatest neck to ever enter their vision supports the most refined tackling machine ever. Telvin Smith walks by greeting his stalwart companion with a silent nod before the pair disappear into the film room.

That dedication and synergy allowed for this seemingly ancient Linebacker playing in a style befit for the 1970’s instead of the late 2010’s to assemble his greatest season as a pro. He tackled as well as ever, captained the Jags defense all the way to #6 in yards/game. He covered underneath routes like the robot he is, including this interception against the Elite Dragon Joe Flacco. Assuming the likes of Gus Bradley aren’t making Poz cover a slot receiver on a deep seam route every other week, Poz grounds the Jacksonville defense, and tackled his way to this top 100 list.

#91 - Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix - FS - Green Bay Packers - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix’s stats here!

Written by /u/mister_jay_peg

In a tumultuous 2016 season in the Green Bay secondary, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix helped prop up a green and untested defensive backfield for the Packers. His sure tackling (just three missed tackles in all of 2016, tied for the third-lowest at the safety position) made sure that any player who cracked through the second level didn’t tend to crack the third.

He was arguably also the Packers best and most consistent defender. Ha-Ha played in 99.9% of the team's defensive snaps for the season and was rewarded for his efforts when he was named an AP Second Team All-Pro.

With Green Bay picking up his 5th year option, and the likelihood of his second contract on the horizon, Clinton-Dix looks to be an anchor on the Frozen Tundra for as long as he stays away from the Deep-Fried Cheese Curds.

Now that the players are known, it’s time to tell us if you think they’ll be ranked higher, lower or about the same on next year’s list. Go here and submit your answers! (Yes, you need to be signed in. But this is only so people don’t vote twice. We will never collect or store your information!)

And that is today’s list! Tell us what you think in the comments below!

Coming Wednesday - Players Ranked 90-81!

Submitted June 26, 2017 at 12:02PM by NFL_Top100
via reddit

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