Monday, July 10, 2017

Official 2017 r/NFL Top 100 Players (of the 2016 Season) - #50-41

Did everyone enjoy their weekend? Or at least not hate it? Either way, welcome to the r/NFL Top 100 Countdown!

Today we bring you Part VI of our series, revealing players 50-41 as voted on by our rankers, as well as the Ranking Predictor for the players ranked 60-51.

Have you missed any of the previous days? CLICK HERE FOR THE RANKINGS HUB!

Now, for the Ranking Predictor for the players ranked 62-70 on Wednesday:

#60-T - Leonard Williams, 3-4 DE, New York Jets 46.81% 31.91% 21.28%
#60-T - Chandler Jones, 3-4 OLB, Arizona Cardinals 23.40% 53.19% 23.40%
#59 - Taylor Lewan, OT, Tennessee Titans 34.04% 51.06% 14.89%
#58 - Melvin Ingram, 3-4 OLB, San Diego Chargers 34.04% 44.68% 21.28%
#57 - Kawann Short, 4-3 DT, Carolina Panthers 29.79% 48.94% 21.28%
#56 - Kam Chancellor, SS, Seattle Seahawks 34.04% 29.79% 36.17%
#55 - Harrison Smith, FS, Minnesota Vikings 51.06% 36.17% 12.77%
#54 - Matt Paradis, Center, Denver Broncos 14.89% 40.43% 44.68%
#53 - Luke Kuechly, 4-3 MLB, Carolina Panthers 85.11% 8.51% 6.38%
#52 - Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders 76.60% 10.64% 12.77%
#51 - Brent Grimes, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6.38% 21.28% 72.34%

Broken record time!

1- As always, these rankings are based 100% on the 2016 season, so all players are listed with their 2016 teams and cities. We know the Chargers have moved to Los Angeles. We know. (And we’re so sorry.) 2- If you think you can generate a better list you can always fill out your own Top 100 rankings here at the same form our rankers used. These lists are pretty good!

Regardless of whether your reactions to the list so far have been happiness, minor annoyance, major frustration or jumbo anger, you’re still here, so let’s get started on Part VI of the Top 100 Players (of the 2016 Season). Players ranked #50-41!

#50 - Geno Atkins - 4-3 DT - Cincinnati Bengals - Previous Rank: 27

Check out Geno Atkins’ stats here!

Written by /u/Sanswagata

At the exact halfway point of the top 100 is my main man Geno Atkins. Geno lead the entire league in sacks from the defensive tackle position. He used his power and leverage to take over guards and centers. He absolutely demolished some of them, like this poor fellow from Miami (1:30 of the video, couldn't find standalone). He had one more sack than Aaron Donald, and was 18th overall. He received a defensive player of the week honor for week 13 where he obtained 2 sacks and 4 tackles. His ability to generate pressure from the inside is insanely valuable, pressure from the outside can be more easily avoided by a QB stepping up. If a QB is not supremely mobile, pressure down the middle is some of the hardest to avoid, which even if it is avoided, it allows for another member of the line to wreak havoc, like a Carlos Dunlap. Geno was forcing QBs to take the Atkins diet throughout the entire year, and had at least half of a sack in 8 games with at least one full sack in 7 games. He also had some great run defense as well. He was the anchor of the defensive line, and possibly the best player on that side of the football for the Bengals, which lead to another Pro Bowl nod for the 29-year-old vet. Making two in a row since fully recovering from his ACL tear, he wasn't fully healthy in his first year back, but boy is it exciting now that he is.

#49 - Richard Sherman - CB - Seattle Seahawks - Previous Rank: 19

Check out Richard Sherman’s stats here!

Written by /u/Nintendog24

As with most seasons, Richard Sherman found himself at the center of controversy again and again and again and sigh… again. As a result, Sherman gets a lot of flak for who he is. (my personal favorite being Dan Carpenters wife suggesting that someone should castrate him.)

On and off the field, at least you can call him consistent. What most people considered a down year for Sherman would be a dream for most DB’s. PFF rated him among the top cornerbacks in both coverage and he was generally ranked as the best run defending corner, along with other Seahawk counterparts, by most statistics. This is despite key injuries to both Earl and Kam at different points in the season. This is also impressive in light of the injury that was revealed at the end of the season. Though it is not known when he sustained this injury my personal best guess would be against the Bills on the play you can see him grasping his knee in pain. I don’t believe rankers took this into account, and neither did I, considering he never showed up on the injury report but the toughness and grit is impressive nonetheless. Sherman’s best games came against his strongest opponents. First, against the Jet’s where, after getting out muscled on a couple completions, Sherman tightened his coverage and notched 2 interceptions by first running a better route than Marshall on the back shoulder then undercutting an underthrown ball for his second. His other great games came against the best receiver last year in Julio Jones. Although Jones had a good game statistically, most of his yards came on plays designed to get him away from Sherman's coverage through motions and zone breaking patterns. Against Sherman specifically, Julio was targeted 5 times and completed 3 of them for only 40 yards. Considering Julio’s 300-yard game against the panthers, I’ll take 40 yards any day of the week.

All told, this is a pretty good ranking for Sherman. He did not have very many flashy plays and did not take over games like in past years. He had a number of dropped interceptions that I think he could have pulled in and this likely dropped him on peoples lists. Objectively, I would say he and Harris are still the top 2 corners in the league but, considering the ranking is for the 2016 season only, this is a good spot for him to be.

#48 - Jordy Nelson - WR - Green Bay Packers - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Jordy Nelson’s stats here!

Written by /u/Economy_Cactus

Jordy spent the 2015 season on IR with a torn ACL, but this past year he made his return to be the 2016 Comeback Player of the Year.

Jordy overcame doubts and an offseason setback to prove that he still has what it takes to be an elite receiver in this league. Jordy started out the season hot scoring 5 receiving TDs in his first 4 games, which was promising for Green Bay Fans. However, there was still doubt that Jordy was still the deep threat he once was. Jordy seemed slower on the field and the doubt climaxed in week 7 of the NFL season. In week 7, Davante Adams caught 13 passes for 132 yards and 2 TDs while Jordy caught one ball for only 9 yards. This week led to doubts if Jordy was even a part of the Packers offense anymore.

Jordy responded by leading the league in touchdowns. Nelson is more than just deceptively athletic, he also has an incredibly high football IQ. When the play breaks down, Aaron Rodgers scrambles and seems to have a mind meld with Jordy to always find him open. As a hard hat wearing, lunch pail carrying kind of guy... Jordy earned #48 spot this year.

#47 - A.J. Bouye - CB - Houston Texans - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out A.J. Bouye’s stats here!

Written by /u/Metaboss84

For all those who wanted to know what a person who makes over 60 million dollars in five years, look no further than NFL top 100 player AJ Bouye. How did he earn that glorious paycheck? Simple, he played at an elite level for the entire season, smothering dangerous receiving corps like the Jags and Colts; doing his part to make Houston the best defense in the NFL last season.

AJ Bouye makes his debut on the NFL top 100 list, in part because his seasons previous to this year have had Bouye learning and perfecting his craft. In fact, most people outside of Houston likely didn’t even know who Bouye was, in part because of his origin as an undrafted player out of Central Florida, he finally seized the #1 role in Houston. He broke out in large part because of his excellent agility, as well as ability to read receivers and break on their routes. AJ demonstrates his ability to break on the ball and disrupt a receiver downfield here. (Bouye is the CB on the bottom on this play) PFF fell in love with Bouye, grading him only behind the two Denver corners. While on this play, he complete smothers Green Bay’s Devonta Adams, creating a rare situation where Aaron Rodgers has no perfect window to magically nail downfield. And he made these plays all season, against everyone.

Using his beautiful athleticism, and elite vision, AJ Bouye smothered his way into /r/nfl’s top 50 players of 2016. While he didn’t post the gaudy interception numbers of a Marcus Peters, he did stonewall any passing game than aimed to get past him. Simply put, AJ Bouye played like a 60-million-dollar man.

#46 - Jadeveon Clowney - 3-4 DE - Houston Texans - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Jadeveon Clowney’s stats here!

Written by /u/Barian_Fostate

The world has been waiting to see what a healthy Jadeveon Clowney could do in the NFL for an excruciatingly long time, and in 2016 we finally got just that. Despite J.J. Watt missing the vast majority of the season, the Texans defensive front was still among the league's best simply because of Clowney's dominant presence. Whether he was playing outside linebacker, 5-technique defensive end, or even 3-technique defensive tackle, Clowney's physical gifts allowed him to excel in literally any alignment or personnel grouping.

In fact, he might be the only person I've ever seen play defensive tackle at a Pro Bowl level at 265 or fewer pounds. If that doesn't speak volumes about how gifted Clowney is, nothing ever will.

2017 will potentially be an even bigger year for the Clown. With Watt back in the fold and Whitey Mercilus still playing outside linebacker at an elite level, Clowney could potentially be free to be even more flexible in this system going forward. He is already too long, too strong, and too fast for most offensive linemen to handle one on one, but lining up that kind of weapon all over the place to guarantee the best possible matchups could be what finally gives Clowney the eye-popping production that we have all expected since he was drafted.

Godspeed, Andrew Luck. You're going to need it.

#45 - Kelechi Osemele - Guard - Oakland Raiders - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Kelechi Osemele’s stats here!

Written by /u/trapline

When the Raiders signed Kelechi Osemele in unrestricted free agency the contract value made many speculate that he was being brought over to play LT and replace Donald Penn (including Penn himself). Not long after, though, Penn signed a new 2-year deal and the Raiders intention of building a high-priced elite line was clear. Kelechi Osemele was brought over to play LG (moving standout Gabe Jackson to RG) and he was paid well to do so. After year 1 the investment seems to have been sound.

Osemele is one of 3 Raiders offensive lineman to not allow a sack in 2016 (G. Jackson, R. Hudson) and brought a much needed “dog” to the offensive line room. A big mean man with a simple nickname, “KO,” he introduced a brutal run blocking presence the line was lacking while offering stellar pass protection between Penn and Hudson. Previously Donald Penn had been the “enforcer” on the line and drew the personal foul penalties in 2015 to match but KO brought a new demeanor and changed the culture of the room. The unit started tracking pancakes and fining lineman who failed to produce enough. He took a group of technically proficient players and added a mean streak to match - dramatically changing the offense with one signing.

#44 - LeSean “Shady” McCoy - RB - Buffalo Bills - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out LeSean McCoy’ stats here!

Written by /u/UffaloIlls

Guess who's back!

LeSean "Shady" McCoy is the definition of the word "superstar." Everything about McCoy is flashy, from his ankle breaking jukes to his private "females only" parties. He brings glitz and glamour to the rust belt, and us Bills fans just can't get enough. I'm sorry Kiko Alonso, but you're chopped liver.

Some have called McCoy "the most dynamic running back since Barry Sanders," and his ability to cut on a dime (his two cents is free) was a key part of why the Bills boasted the top ranked rushing offense in the league for the second consecutive year.

Despite only averaging 15.6 rushing attempts per game, Buffalo's virtuoso bobbed and weaved his way to 1,267 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground last season, tacking on another 356 yards and an additional score as a receiver. All told, McCoy had 7 games where he rushed for over 100 yards and 4 games were he scored multiple TDs. For the season, he averaged a whopping 5.4 yards per carry, good for 3rd in the NFL. And on top of all that, he ranked 1st in the league in "breakaway" runs of 15 yards or more. Try to shut that down, MTV.

But Shady wasn't just dynamic, he was also versatile in an offense that revolved around him and him alone. Remarkably efficient, LeSean McCoy hauled in 87.7% of the balls thrown his way, making him the most reliable pass the entire league. And he wasn't just racking up checkdowns targets either: his 6.25 yards per target was a better than some wide receivers, Allen Robinson for example (5.85 YPT). Of the 15 games that he played in, there were only 5 in which he failed eclipse 100 total yards from scrimmage.

LeSean McCoy's knack for making defenders look stupid and turning broken plays into big gains earned him every bit of this #44 ranking on /r/NFL's Top 100. Shady's back, tell a friend.

#43 - Janoris Jenkins - CB - New York Giants - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Janoris Jenkins’ stats here!

Written by /u/Bersinator

For a player as boisterous and brazen as Janoris ‘Jackrabbit’ Jenkins, a move from St Louis to New York seemed a fitting change for the corner. Infamous for his up and down play with the Rams, Jenkins would put together a stellar 2016 as the #1 corner for the G-Men.

Among a number of big offseason signings, questions abounded about the value of giving a known gambler prone to hunting picks at the expense of being beaten deep a five-year deal with $29 million guaranteed. They’d soon reap the rewards of their investment, as Jenkins allowed just 50% of the passes thrown his way to be caught, with only 0.84 yards per coverage snap allowed. On 3rd down he’d allow 0.46, the fourth fewest allowed in the league. Through 14 weeks PFF would record him allowing just one touchdown. He was the 6th ranked corner by PFF and the 2nd ranked corner by the NFL1000.

He would spend 2016 locking up receivers with his combination of athleticism, smooth movement, excellent reactions and an uncanny recovery ability. Jenkins was trusted with some of their most difficult defensive responsibilities and he repaid that trust tenfold over the course of the season.

The most impressive facet of his season was how Jenkins would rise to the occasion to shadow and lock up elite receivers in man coverage. He wasn’t just feasting on subpar competition.

  • In Week 5 he covered Jordy Nelson on 14 plays and allowed just 2 for 29.
  • In Week 14 he covered Dez Bryant and held him to 1-10, making an interception and forcing a fumble on the one catch Dez did have.
  • In Week 10 AJ Green was 4-23 on 7 targets when covered by Jenkins (who did score a touchdown in zone coverage).

Jenkins came up big against big time receivers.

His contributions would also not go in vain. This wasn’t a season where a defender racked up stats on an otherwise unimpressive team. With the arrival of Janoris Jenkins as their #1 corner (among other signings), the Giants D would leap from 30th in overall defense by DVOA to 2nd and 28th in pass defense by DVOA to 4th. Jenkins was a huge part of that transformation.

Did I mention Jackrabbit became the first player to intercept Aaron Rodgers twice at Lambeau Field? Hell of a 2016.

#42 - Casey Heyward - CB - San Diego Chargers - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Casey Heyward’s stats here!

Written by /u/milkchococurry

The 2016 Chargers defense was one of the NFL’s best in taking the ball away from opposing offenses. The unit posted 18 total interceptions last season (T-1st in the league) and got at least one turnover in 15 games last season. A big part of the defense’s success in this regard has been the stellar play of cornerback Casey Hayward.

Signed by the Chargers to a 3-year deal last offseason, the former Packer wasted little time in establishing his dominance on opposing receivers. Hayward tallied 7 interceptions in 2016, tops in the league, but not only did he show great ability in taking the ball away, he prevented other top receivers from getting the ball. Hayward had the 3rd lowest QBR on passes against him, tied for 3rd in passes defensed and perhaps most importantly, and had the 2nd most coverage snaps against an opposing team’s #1 receiver.

In 2016, Hayward shut down the top receivers in the game consistently and made QBs pay for throwing his way. His performance this past season earned him a Pro Bowl nod and, better yet, a place on /r/nfl’s Top 100 Players List.

#41 - Jerrell Freeman - Chicago Bears - Previous Rank: 66

Check out Jerrell Freeman’s stats here!

Written by /u/imkunu

After a certain miserable former Colts GM failed to match an incredibly fair offer to Jerrell Freeman, the linebacker ended up signing with the Bears in the 2016 offseason. In his first season in Chicago, Freeman continued to establish himself as one of the best LBs in football. In fact, Freeman's 93.9 Pro Football Focus grade was #1 among all linebackers (God damn it, Grigson).

A consistent, hard-hitting tackler, Freeman racked up a team-leading 110 combined tackles despite missing 4 games due to a suspension. That was 32 more than second place on the Bears (Hey Grigs, the leading tackler on the Colts had 79).

One of Freeman's biggest strengths has been pass coverage, and while his PFF score in that regard was relatively lower than usual (60.6), he still was able to be a factor, being credited with 5 passes defended. Freeman also improved in his pass rushing ability, and his run defense took a step forward as evidenced by his 7 tackles for loss.

All in all, the Bears have themselves a high quality, versatile linebacker for the next few seasons. At age 31, Freeman more than likely still has several good years left if he stays injury-free. At the moment, Jerrell Freeman has truly blossomed into one of football's best all-around defenders (This write-up brought to you by the Fuck Ryan Grigson corporation).

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!)

Here is a link to the spreadsheet for each ranker’s 100 thru 51:

Did you want to browse the galleries of the previously ranked players? Click here for 100-91, click here for 90-81, click here for 80-71, click here for 70-61 or click here for 60-51!

And if you want to see the gallery for today’s player cards, click here:

And that is today’s list! Tell us what you think by saying more than we suck in the comments below!

Coming WEDNESDAY - Players Ranked 40-31!

Submitted July 10, 2017 at 11:30AM by NFL_Top100
via reddit

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