Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Official 2017 r/NFL Top 100 Players (of the 2016 Season) - #40-31

Hello, hello, hello! Who’s ready to get started on today’s list? If your answer is “not me” then that’s too bad, because you’re here and I’m here, so welcome to the r/NFL Top 100 Countdown!

Today we bring you Part VII of our series, revealing players 40-31 as voted on by our rankers, as well as the Ranking Predictor for the players ranked 50-41.

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

Now, for the Ranking Predictor for the players ranked 41-50 on Wednesday:

#50 - Geno Atkins, 4-3 DT, Cincinnati Bengals 33.33% 30.56% 36.11%
#49 - Richard Sherman, CB, Seattle Seahawks 44.44% 41.67% 13.89%
#48 - Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers 30.56% 36.11% 33.33%
#47 - A.J. Bouye, CB, Houston Texans 22.22% 36.11% 41.67%
#46 - Jadeveon Clowney, 3-4 DE, Houston Texans 63.89% 25.00% 11.11%
#45 - Kelechi Osemele, Guard, Oakland Raiders 25.00% 61.11% 13.89%
#44 - LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills 19.44% 38.89% 41.67%
#43 - Janoris Jenkins, CB, New York Giants 16.67% 52.78% 30.56%
#42 - Casey Heyward, CB, San Diego Chargers 16.67% 30.56% 52.78%
#41 - Jerrell Freeman, 3-4 ILB, Chicago Bears 13.89% 22.22% 63.89%

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.
2- These rankers can handle many criticisms. But 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 so are pretty good, and we’ll release an aggregate of the with the post mortem on July 27th!

With that out of the way, are you ready for the hurricane? Because, I know I am.

Part VII of the Top 100 Players (of the 2016 Season), players ranked #40-31, starts now!

#40 - K.J. Wright - 4-3 OLB - Seattle Seahawks - Previous Rank: 68

Check out K.J. Wright’s stats here!

Written by /u/Super_Nerd92

When one asks which Seahawks player is the most underrated, KJ Wright is the frequent response. Seattle's defense doesn't lack for talent and many are not afraid to speak their minds and get media recognition. By contrast, you don't hear much from Wright, who is quietly one of the best coverage linebackers in the NFL and a key contributor to an elite defense. Luckily, his position on the list this year shows that we can drop the underrated label--/r/NFL knows all about the guy by now.

Both Wagner and Wright needed to step up last season with Bruce Irvin leaving for the Raiders, leaving a rotation of unproven guys at the SS OLB spot. Both guys delivered career-best seasons. Wright has racked up 100 tackles a season for the past 3 seasons, but the total rose to a career-high 126 last season. He earned a well-deserved Pro Bowl for the first time in his career. He missed just 5 tackles all season according to PFF, who gave him the "highest tackling efficiency" among 4-3 OLBs.

Wright has always been good in coverage, and last season he broke up 5 passes--tying his career high. Where he really stepped up was at the line of scrimmage. His 10 stuffs and 4 sacks are both career highs, and came despite star DE Michael Bennett being absent for 5 games. When the Seahawks needed that extra pressure at the line, he delivered. The always-versatile linebacker well deserves the #40 spot.

#39 - Cameron Jordan - 4-3 DE - New Orleans Saints - Previous Rank: 67

Check out Cameron Jordan’s stats here!

Written by /u/Bouzal

Lots of things have be used to describe the Saints defense the last few years. "Dumpster fire" comes to mind. As does "train wreck," "laughing stock," and "third term abortion." However, none of those can be used to describe Cam Jordan, who has played at a borderline elite level for years now and has been criminally unnoticed. Snubbed from the NFL Top 100 this year, he is finally getting some respect here at 39. (Full disclosure, I had him at 26, but I'll take what I can get).

It is understandable why Jordan might be less noticeable than some other players. His numbers, straight up, don't necessarily make him stand out: he racked up only 7.5 sacks in a league where stats have unfairly become the barometer for good defensive end play among casual fans. But watch him on tape and take a look at some different numbers and you'll get a whole new story. He graded out as PFF's 3rd ranked edge defender with a 92.1 grade, and finished 2nd in the league in total pressures with a whopping 72. To add to that, he is a fierce run defender, and rarely allows a back to get to the outside. Jordan is also the team captain on defense and all accounts say he is a wonderful and fun member of the locker room. Plus, his hair game is and always has been utterly on point.

In summary, if Cam was on a member of a halfway decent defense, he would be constantly discussed as a top tier defensive end, and thankfully he is starting to get that recognition regardless. Let's hope this year the Saints can ascend and actually be that halfway decent defense.

#38 - Fletcher Cox - 4-3 DE - Philadelphia Eagles - Previous Rank: 26

Check out Fletcher Cox’s stats here!

Written by /u/MikeTysonChicken

Fletcher Cox followed up an excellent 2015 season with another excellent season to come in at 38th on the r/NFL Top 100 for 2016. Fresh off of a large contract extension, Fletcher Cox looked to feast on opposing offenses after changing to a one gap scheme that better suited his skill set. Cox was still an excellent force along the interior for the Eagles despite making 3 fewer sacks in 2016 (6.5) than in 2015 (9.5) - just ask the Steelers offensive line. True to his name, Cox is a fierce penetrator.

Cox is a Monster. At 310 pounds, Cox hustles and plays as hard as any player in the league. He plays with power and control to make even the best linemen in the league struggle. He draws so much attention along the interior of the line it still amazes me the plays he is able to make. Cox is disruptive and his 2016 is reflective of that.

Fletcher Cox finished as PFFs 5th rated interior defender, including finishing as their 5th best interior pass rusher. Additionally, Cox placed at 32 on the NFL1000 top players for 2016, including their 3rd rated defensive tackle. This isn’t a coincidence; Jim Schwartz’s defense is designed with Cox in mind. His defense allows a man of incredible strength and athletic ability to attack the QB each snap. Cox is dominant and the new defense allows him to make more of these plays. But his skillset isn’t limited to making plays. He is able to create for others as well. He also changes directions of plays on a regular basis. Cox is a cornerstone player for the franchise, something the organization has openly stated this offseason. The defense is built around what Cox can do. Considering Cox is only 26, that’s probably a wise thing to do.

#37 - Joey Bosa - 3-4 DE - San Diego Chargers - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Joey Bosa’s stats here!

Written by /u/milkchococurry

The 3rd overall pick in the 2016 draft did not start the season on the best foot. A needlessly protracted contract dispute and subsequent minor injuries kept Bosa out of the first 4 games of the season. The Chargers drafted Joey because they needed an impact player on the defensive front that could consistently mess with the opposing backfield, be it harassing opposing quarterbacks or decking a tailback behind the LOS.

He delivered.

In just 12 games, Bosa established himself as the cream of the pass-rushing crop of the 2016 draft and has all but completely placed himself in the NFL’s highest echelon of backfield haymakers. PFF graded him in the top 5 overall at his position and if you look at the numbers, you can see why. Bosa generated 59 quarterback pressures, tied with Von Miller for the most QB pressures in the first 12 games over the past decade. The easier stat to reference for Bosa is his 10.5 sacks on the season, but what is more notable is how he got to that number in so few snaps. For comparison, Khalil Mack managed to get 11 sacks on the season, but did it with 461 more snaps than Bosa took to get to 10.5. That’s kinda nuts.

Watching Bosa play last year was like watching a seasoned veteran at work. He doesn’t have the same purported athleticism as my personal pre-draft choice DeForest Buckner, but the motor never stopped for Bosa on any and every play he was on the field and the techniques he displayed with his hands (watch the video carefully) are…let’s just say he was difficult to counter. Just by his 2016 performance, you can pretty easily tell that Bosa has the potential to become one of the very best edge rushers the game has seen in a good while.

Oh, and by the way, Joey turned 22 years old yesterday (July 11th). Happy Belated Birthday Joey!

#36 - Ndamukong Suh - 4-3 DT - Miami Dolphins - Previous Rank: 36

Check out Ndamukong Suh’s stats here!

Written by /u/BlindManBaldwin


I might root for the orange and blue but I was born, raised, and live in the scarlet and cream. As such, Ndamukong Suh is one of my favorite players. His 2009 season (cough he was robbed of the Heisman cough) was what got me into football big time. The 2016 season was another in a long line of successful, dominating seasons for one of the best tackles in football.

Suh's stats don't tell the whole story. He does the grind-it-out, dirty work in the trenches. He eats up blocks so guys like Cameron Wake can dominate. He's been described as Mr. Everything for the Dolphins, with Vance Joseph saying he was the Dolphins' Von Miller. Suh was PFF's 2nd highest graded tackle for a 4-3 tackle. The Dolphins defense may not have ranked too high and struggle, but injuries and problems with their LB group really caused problems schematically for DC Vance Joseph. Suh, however, still played fantastically and was one of the defensive leaders on the first Dolphins team to make the playoffs since 2008. When he does make the direct sack, he still has a force unmatched by few in the NFL. I wouldn't want to get tackled by Suh. While the Dolphins lost their first playoff game, their future is bright with a great HC, a solid QB, some good pieces on offensive, and of course #93 anchoring their defense.

This one's for you, Suh! Thanks for making the best moment in my Husker life and still making great football moments in the big leagues!

#35 - Andrew Luck - QB - Indianapolis Colts - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Andrew Luck’s stats here!

Written by /u/jaysrule24


As we prepare to begin a new campaign, it is time to evaluate our performance from the previous year’s offensive. While we did not win the number of battles we felt we were capable of winning, we were still far from the least effective battalion in the war. Although many of my soldiers struggled throughout the campaign, Lieutenant General Hilton and I had our best campaigns. 2016 was the most efficient operation of my career, despite fighting through a grievous shoulder wound the entire fall. I now eagerly await the beginning of our next offensive.

Warmest regards,

General Luck (Ed. Note: Click the link for the gif and stat breakdown. We had to get a General Luck in here, damnit. So damn good - MJP)

#34 - Greg Olsen - TE - Carolina Panthers - Previous Rank: 39

Check out Greg Olsen’s stats here!

Written by /u/Bersinator

Another year, another 1,000-yard season for Greg Olsen. In a league surrounded by oft injured Tight Ends such as Tyler Eifert, Jordan Reed, and Rob Gronkowski, it's been proven that the best ability is availability. Greg Olsen has done exactly that, as he has not missed a start since 2011.

In 2016, Olsen became the first Tight End in NFL history to post three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. The 3-time Pro Bowler put up at least 3 touchdowns in seasons. Seeing a theme here? That's a 1,000-yard season, touchdown, and Pro Bowl for each leg. As you may have already guessed, Greg Olsen views his three legs equally.

Greg Olsen may not be the fastest or most physically gifted player in the league, but he is one of the best at finding and exploiting gaps in the defense. Just look at this film breakdown of his 9 reception, 181-yard game against the Bucs. Credit to /u/thehbrwhammer. We all know how great of a receiver Olsen has become, but one of his biggest criticisms has always been his blocking. While his run blocking is still not great, he has emerged as a top 10 pass blocking Tight End according to PFF with a 71.7 grade in that aspect (87.5 overall).

I thank the Bears every season for allowing Olsen to come to Carolina in what is probably the best trade in the Panthers 22-year history. He has been one of the top Tight Ends in the league these past few seasons and has been a perfect model of consistency. I look forward to another great season from G-Reg and despite getting up there in age, he seems to think he'll do just fine.

#33 - Sean Lee - 4-3 OLB - Dallas Cowboys - Previous Rank: 64

Check out Sean Lee’s stats here!

Written by /u/Romosexua1

After having his first several seasons ended early due to injury, many wondered if Sean Lee would ever live up to his full potential. The back to back Cowboys tackle leader and 1st Team All-Pro linebacker has erased nearly all of those doubts, and jumped a whopping 31 spots from last year’s list.

With several key players being injured or suspended on defense, Lee needed to step up and play every role a linebacker could, and he excelled at all of them due to his incredibly high football IQ. It almost seems like he knows the offensive call before the offense does. Whether he is needed to drop back in coverage or blow up the run game he does it with ease. It's safe to say that he's the backbone of the defense, because even when his primary job is pass defense, he still plays sideline to sideline as if his only role was to stop a run

Simply put, Lee covers up the inconsistent mess that is the Dallas defensive line, and without him, it would be justified to be nervous about the Dallas defense next year. But fear not, as long as the General Lee keeps taking pressure off of the secondary, the sky's the limit for this young defense.

#32 - Brandon Graham - 4-3 DE - Philadelphia Eagles - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Brandon Graham’s stats here!

Written by /u/MikeTysonChicken

There is no Eagle I am more excited to see on this list than Brandon Graham and I am thrilled to see him at #32 here… suck it Earl Thomas!

I say that last bit in jest since it was common for such a long time to consistently compare the careers of Brandon Graham and Earl Thomas. For the unaware, the Eagles cut the ultimate fan favorite Brian Dawkins in 2008. What became immediately evident after this wildly unpopular move was the Eagles never had a replacement on the roster that was remotely capable of stepping into Dawkins shoes and play at a high level. That’s not a position that I would want to be in as a player. No matter what his replacements would do, they would always be compared to the legend that came before him. The bar was set really high and the Eagles did their best to consistently miss at the position. Enter the 2010 draft.

Everyone in Philadelphia wanted Earl Thomas since he had the talent to be a great safety and a true cornerstone player – which we were right about. Then Andy Reid does Andy Reid things and trades up for the “fastball” defensive end from Michigan with Earl Thomas on the board. And the rest is history.

It took a while for Graham to find his footing in Philadelphia and the franchise has since been rewarded with a 2016 performance that was as good as any you’ll find in the NFL from a defensive end. 2016 wasn’t really a breakout year for Graham, but it was the first year where he was in a place that would really allow him to shine. It took a scheme change to 3-4 and position change to OLB under Chip Kelly to revitalize Graham and eventually earn (and keep) his roster spot. Then it took a change back to 4-3 to allow Graham to shine. No matter where you stand on #EarlThomasGhazi, at the very least, choosing between Graham and Thomas is a difficult debate.

As for his play on the field, well, we can let the tape do the talking. Graham plays with power, leverage, and speed to consistently win on the edge in the NFL. He is smart and he blows plays up. He is relentless and he never gives up on a play. Oh, did I mention he plays with power?.

Graham finished as PFFs 2nd best Edge Defender behind only DPOY Khalil Mack. Additionally, Graham finished with 83 pressures on the season which was second only to Mack again. From the same source, Graham notched a pressure every 5.8 pass-rushing snaps. And before you get your boners in a twist about PFF, Graham finished second in pressures per Football Outsiders as well. While sacks are important, the ability to consistently affect offenses on a week to week basis is paramount to the success of the defense. Few were better than Graham at that in 2016. If Graham were able to raise his sack percentage to league average for 2016, he would have had double digits sacks and DPOY consideration. That’s not knocking other worthy candidates, just high praise for someone who’s worked his ass off to get it. I love Brandon Graham and he is very worthy of high praise.

#31 - Devin McCourty - New England Patriots - Previous Rank: 72

Check out Devin McCourty’s stats here!

Written by /u/ward0630

The New England Patriots are an imposing defense from the first line of defense to the last. That last line of defense is Devin McCourty..

McCourty has been one of the most dependable and consistently great Patriot defenders over the last six years. That’s why he’s been a co-captain of the team six times since he was drafted in 2010, why he earned his second pro-bowl nod this past season, and why he was named a second team all-pro.

As the leader of a New England secondary that ranked third in the NBA according to Pro Football Focus, McCourty earned the highest run coverage grade of any member of the secondary and played over one thousand snaps during the regular season. He totaled fourteen postseason tackles, one pass breakup, and one beautiful interception.

Although not known as an enforcer, some of the hits McCourty delivered in the clutch this past season were remarkable. Just look at this game-sealing slam in week 15. With the Dolphins threatening to cut the lead to one possession midway through the fourth, McCourty comes up big again.

Some players are on this list because their performances this past season exceeded what we expected of them. Devin McCourty is not one of those players, because as anyone who has watched Patriots football for the last six years knows, McCourty has put in top 100 performances every season of his career.

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!)

Extra stuff!

Here is a link to the spreadsheet for each ranker’s 100 thru 31:

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, click here for 60-51, or click here for 50-41!

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 FRIDAY - Players Ranked 30-21!

Submitted July 12, 2017 at 11:47AM by NFL_Top100
via reddit

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