Friday, July 14, 2017

Official 2017 r/NFL Top 100 Players (of the 2016 Season) - #30-21

Happy Friday, everyone! Welcome to the r/NFL Top 100 Countdown!

Today we bring you Part VIII of our series, revealing players 30-21 as voted on by our rankers, as well as the Ranking Predictor for the players ranked 40-31.

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

Now, for the Ranking Predictor for the players ranked 40-31 on Wednesday:

#40 - K.J. Wright, 4-3 OLB, Seattle Seahawks 4.88% 46.34% 48.78%
#39 - Cameron Jordan, 4-3 DE, New Orleans Saints 17.07% 46.34% 36.59%
#38 - Fletcher Cox, 4-3 DT, Philadelphia Eagles 34.15% 53.66% 12.20%
#37 - Joey Bosa, 3-4 DE, San Diego Chargers 78.05% 19.51% 2.44%
#36 - Ndamukong Suh, 4-3 DT, Miami Dolphins 14.63% 48.78% 36.59%
#35 - Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts 48.78% 19.51% 31.71%
#34 - Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers 12.20% 24.39% 63.41%
#33 - Sean Lee, 4-3 OLB, Dallas Cowboys 9.76% 24.39% 65.85%
#32 - Brandon Graham, 4-3 DE, Philadelphia Eagles 4.88% 46.34% 48.78%
#31 - Devin McCourty, FS, New England Patriots 7.32% 39.02% 53.66%

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- And if you just can’t stand where we have [insert personal favorite player here] and 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!

So, who’s excited for today’s list? I know I know, EVERYONE IS EXCITED!

Part VIII of the Top 100 Players (of the 2016 Season), players ranked #30-11, starts now!

#30 - T.Y. Hilton - WR - Indianapolis Colts - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out T.Y. Hilton’s stats here!

Written by /u/imkunu

Perennially underrated in the first four years of his career, Colts WR Eugene "T.Y." Hilton exploded into the spotlight in 2014, firmly establishing himself as one of the top pass-catchers in the league. A remarkable 2016 campaign saw career highs for Hilton in targets (155), receptions (91), and yards (1448). His yardage total of 1448 was the highest in the NFL, and Hilton was the first Colt to lead the league in receiving since Reggie Wayne in 2007.

Through his first several years, Hilton was primarily labeled as a "burner" receiver whose sole purpose was to take the top off defenses and open up the middle. Now, Hilton has expanded to a more complete route tree, and is QB Andrew Luck's primary read on most passes.

Advanced statistics loved Hilton this year as well; PFF rated him as the 5th best receiver last season with the 5th highest pure receiving grade. Football Outsiders' stat DYAR saw Hilton ranked 4th.

The arrow is only pointing up for Hilton. In the five years of his career, he has shown a tremendous work ethic and drive to become a multi-dimensional receiving threat. With a career year behind him, Hilton looks to maintain his status as one of the best receivers in the NFL in 2017.

#29 - Andrew Whitworth - Tackle - Cincinnati Bengals - Previous Rank: 46

Check out Andrew Whitworth’s stats here!

(Ed. Note: We have two Whitworth writeups today because I goofed and lost track of dleonard’s and I asked yji to fill in. They both did the work, and the both deserve to be seen. - MJP)

Written by /u/dleonard1122

The 29th spot in the r/nfl top 100 ranking is Andrew Whitworth, who despite turning 35 in December, turned in yet another excellent season. Starting every game in 2017 and a team captain for the Cincinnati Bengals, Whitworth only allowed a stingy 14 quarterback pressures despite pass blocking on 561 snaps. Pro Football Pocus (PFF) ranked Whitworth second among all left tackles in the league and named Whitworth the Bengals only ‘elite’ player for 2016. After week 5 of the season, Whitworth only allowed a single sack for the remained of the season en route to his third career Pro Bowl appearance (as a replacement for an injured Donald Penn) and second in as many years.

This ranking is based on Whitworth’s performance during the 2016 season, but I’d be remiss as a Ram’s fan if I didn’t include a short excerpt of why myself and so many Rams fans are excited about Whitworth.

After 11 seasons with the Bengals, Whitworth signed a 3 year, $36M contract with the Los Angeles Rams in the offseason. Whitworth will step into a left-tackle spot that was previously occupied by recently traded Greg Robinson, and instantly provide sophomore quarterback Jared Goff with some needed protection.

Written by /u/yji

Andrew Whitworth is like a fine wine, he gets better with age. At 34, he had one of his best years yet, allowing only 14 pressures on the year on his way to another Pro Bowl season.

At 6'7 335, Whitworth is a huge OT, and he uses this size effectively. In pass protection he uses his size to control his opposition. A strong punch and velcro hands means you're never leaving his grasp once he's got his hands inside on you. Surprisingly at his size though, he's got quick feet and great technique to be able to handle speed rushers and any counters you throw at him. This allows him to be a top tier pass protector.

In the run game, he uses his long arms and power to move guys off the ball and pave holes for his RBs. The strongest part of his game is on the move though. He might have just turned 35, but he still runs like he's in his early 20s. His ability to block on the move is special, and the Bengals used this plenty of times to create big plays in the run game. This play is not from this season, but it best showcases his athleticism and highlights his game perfectly.

As a leader, Whitworth is a dominating presence. Two of the most important attributes he points to in being a great leader and establishing relationships: Time and committment. Those are two things he's definitely put into his NFL career so far, and seemingly has endless amounts of. That's why he's a top 100 player in the NFL.

#28 - Travis Kelce - TE - Kansas City Chiefs - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Travis Kelce’s stats here!

Written by /u/Steffnov

After earning an honorable mention last year, Travis Kelce has earnt his first appearance on the /r/NFL top 100 list in 2016, and instantly ended up being the #1 TE on the list. “Baby Gronk” was easily Alex Smith’s favorite target this season, equaling as many yards as the number 2 and 3 targets (Tyreek Hill and Jeremy Maclin) combined. This season, only Julio Jones had more 100-yard games than the pro bowl TE (6), 5 of which came in the second half of the season. His four consecutive 100-yard game stretch between week 10 and 13 tied an NFL record for tight ends, putting him in a list with Tony Gonzalez and Jimmy Graham. He also lead all tight ends in receiving yards in 2016.

On the field, Kelce is a match-up nightmare. At 6’5 260, he has 4.61 speed, runs routes like a wide receiver and has the strength to overpower you, both while run blocking and while catching the ball. He can take bubble screens to the house, he can go underneath and he can just take them on a go route. What you end up is a big play machine who can blow kisses by you and then ride you to the ground after having caught the ball. And after he’s made you look like a fool, he doesn’t mind rubbing some salt in your wounds.

During his signature game (week 16 vs the Broncos), he caught 11 of 12 passes (also highest for a TE this season) for 160 yards, including an 80-yard screen he took to the house. Three weeks earlier, he tortured the Falcons by catching all 8 passes his way, which was good for 140 yards. Another signature moment, though in a different light, was his ejection vs the Jags, when the former Bearcat threw his towel at a ref after he didn’t get a call his way.

Unconventionally for a TE without history in New England, Kelce doesn’t mind throwing a party every once in a while, and starred in a dating show, which pitched women from each state against each other. The winning girl lasted about a month. While Kelce might have to give the tight end title back next year, he'll certainly last longer than that.

#27 - Alex Mack - Center - Atlanta Falcons - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Alex Mack’s stats here!

Written by /u/Felix_Tholomyes

After seven seasons in Cleveland Alex Mack had had enough and left the Browns to look for success elsewhere. Therefore, it came as a surprise to many when he signed a huge contract with the Atlanta Falcons last off-season. The Falcons were by no means considered a Super Bowl contender, so why leave Cleveland just to go lose games for another city? As it turns out, reuniting with OC Kyle Shanahan was a recipe for success for Mack as the Falcons made a deep playoff run. Nobody can accuse Mack of slowing down after receiving his big contract as he showed great heart playing through injuries. Not even a broken leg in the NFCCG stopped Mack as he came back and finished the game and also played in the Super Bowl despite the injury.

To truly understand the impact Alex Mack had on the Falcons one must first recall where the Falcons came from in 2015. Mack was brought in to replace Center Mike Person, a former Guard who had been shoehorned into a position at which he didn’t have much experience. Watching Matt Ryan take snaps from shotgun in 2015 would make fans cringe as one never knew when it was time for Person to sail another snap over the head of Ryan. The signing of Alex Mack took the Falcons from having arguably the worst center in the league to having arguably the best. Mack not only brought stability to the snapping situation, his experience in recognizing formations and making pre-snap calls improved the whole Falcon OL group. Mack also provided a huge upgrade with his actual blocking skills. In particular, his run game blocking helped open up holes for the two-headed monster coming out of Atlanta’s backfield.

There were many factors which contributed to the success of the 2016 Falcons offense, but signing Alex Mack may just have been the most important. It should go down as one of the great FA moves in recent memory.

#26 - Drew Brees - QB - New Orleans Saints - Previous Rank: 34

Check out Drew Brees’ stats here!

Written by /u/Bouzal

Breezy Breezy what's good? I'll tell ya what's good - Drew Brees for the umpteenth year in a row. For yet another season, Our Lord and Savior plugged away at one of the NFLs best offenses, threw for his fifth 5,000-yard season, and dragged his defense's sorry ass to 7 hard fought wins. Yes, it wasn't perfect and roses the whole way: the 15 interceptions should give some people pause (it should be noted he through 6 in the span of 2 games before finishing out the season with 7/1 ratio over the last 3). However, it should be clear to everyone that the now 38-year-old QB is still at the top of his game. He finished 2016 as the NFLs 5th ranked passer, and his Passer Rating, Touchdowns, TD%, Yards, ANY/A, and Completion% were all highs for him since at least 2013.

Entering the final year of a contract that voids after this season, there is some question as to if he will be back next year - and it's fair why that question is being asked. After 3 consecutive 7-9 seasons, many think he would rather sign with a contender on a short deal and go for another ring. Sean Payton's uncertain future after the upcoming season also leads some to wonder if Brees will sign on again. Ultimately, it comes down to how the team performs this year. If they make the playoffs, he's definitely back, but even if they don't, I think it's more likely than not we see Brees finish out his career in a Saints uniform. After all, he has said he'd like to play ‘til 45, and the way he's going, he may just do it.

#25 - Eric Berry - SS - Kansas City Chiefs - Previous Rank: 31

Check out Eric Berry’s stats here!

Written by /u/UnbiasedBrownsFan

Eric Berry’s hybrid abilities to excel both in run defense and pass defense unsurprisingly brought him pretty high up this list. His versatility at both strong safety and free safety bring a unique mix of playmaking ability to the Chief’s defense. His presence on the field has turned the Chiefs from dead last in terms of turnovers to the number one team to throw six interceptions against.

Watching Eric Berry this season it really struck me how… elegantly he plays. That’s the best word I can use to describe it. It’s almost like everything is moving in slow motion. The way he highpoints the football and carries it with one hand never ceases to amaze me. There’s a reason this man is the highest paid safety in the league.

But we all remember the one particular game this season that was quite special. Returning to his home state Georgia, to the city where he had received cancer treatment just two years prior, Eric Berry put on a show that would move a grown man to tears. He did the Dirty Birds dirty. Using his enhanced super vision Eric Berry read the soul of league MVP Matt Ryan and took away two crucial picks. The first launched the Chiefs into a lead prior to the end of the second quarter, and in a beautiful show of respect he gave the ball to his mother. But that wasn’t good enough for Eric Berry, he didn’t want six, he wanted eight. So, what do the coaches recommend we do in situations such as these? Well, why not go for two? The first game winning pick-two in NFL history, courtesy of all-world safety, Eric Berry.

#24 - Zach Martin - Guard - Dallas Cowboys - Previous Rank: 41

Check out Zack Martin’s stats here!

Written by /u/mister_jay_peg

Something that should be apparent to you guys by now is that I have an affinity for offensive linemen. I like to study their tape as much as GamePass will allow, and I love picking apart technique. And do you guys wanna know something? I am a huge fan of Zack Martin.

I mean, he is already a 2-time First Team AP AllPro (plus one Second Team), and that's pretty impressive. But I can already hear the contrarians saying, "But he plays next to Travis Frederick! He has so much help!" But what if I told you that Martin was an absolute god damn technician and would be an All Pro in basically any city he played?

Like this right here. I know it doesn't seem like much. Yay, Zack Martin pulling and engaging. But watch it on a loop a few times. It takes him less than 10 frames to be out of his stance and in perfect form to take on Snacks Harrison. And the speed is important because Harrison is seriously quick off the ball for such a huge man, and he was already flowing to the play-side. After that, watch it a few more times. Watch how he carried himself low into the block. Harrison loses at the point of attack because Martin was able to stay low through the pull, and at contact deliver his blow lower than Harrison, standing him up. That is not something that comes easy to a lot of people, and against an elite talent it's even less so. Martin does it consistently play after play.

Here's one for pass pro. From stance to set again lightning fast. He makes first contact, he reads the spin immediately and knows he's on an island, so he keeps his left hand in constant contact (hard to see with Witten crossing the screen, I know) which forces the defender to have to brush it off, and at the end of the move his right hand is perfectly set in the DT's armpit while the left hand is still engaged with his frame, and now he can control his defenders position better than the defender can himself.

And this is just two quick gifs. But if you have the time and the desire to want to learn more about what separates good OLine play from great OLine play, watching Martin from the All22 is a great place to start. Because he is, at worst, a Top 3 guard in the league. At worst.

#23 - Joe Thomas - Tackle - Cleveland Browns - Previous Rank: 11

Check out Joe Thomas’ stats here!

Written by /u/UnbiasedBrownsFan

9945, that's the number of consecutive snaps Joe Thomas has played to start his career. Did you read that right? Joe Thomas? The Brown? You'd think on a team with perpetually nothing to play for come December you'd get a snap off here or there. Not Joe Thomas, not once, not ever. I'm entirely convinced that if Joe Thomas broke both of his legs he wouldn't miss a snap. He'd put the team on his back doe.

Thomas’ 2016 season was more of the usual, another Pro Bowl nod, his tenth consecutive. Another All-Pro recognition, his ninth of his illustrious career. He was the cornerstone of the team that averaged 4.9 yards per attempt, second in the league. What? Didn't know that? Me either. How the hell did that happen? Joe fucking Thomas is how the hell that happened. Dominant as ever, Thomas hasn't lost a step, even at the ripe age of 32. Take week one in Philly as an example, why have an offensive tackle and an offensive guard when you can just have a Joe Thomas? He can block everybody, he doesn't discriminate. He. Is. Not. Human. He looks human, he even acts human. But when he plays, he's a monster.

As a Browns fan, it's been my pleasure to watch this man give his life to an organization that has given him little in return. He WANTS to play for us. This man WANTS to be a Brown. To have a player that genuinely cares for his team as much as Joe Thomas does, that's genuinely special. Now I don't speak for all Browns fans and excuse me /u/Mister_Jay_Peg, but if I had to choose between winning a Super Bowl or Joe Thomas? Fuck the Super Bowl. (Ed. Note: I mean, you could have traded him here to Denver, become a Broncos fan, and had both. But noooooooooooooo. - MJP)

#22 - Aqib Talib - CB - Denver Broncos - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Aqib Talib’s stats here!

Written by /u/BlindManBaldwin

The Chaingrabber clocks in at #22. (Ed. Note: Please direct all hate at BMB for this one. I’m not touching it. - MJP)* Love him or hate him, Aqib Talib is undoubtedly one of the best corners in the NFL. He's coming off of his 4th straight pro bowl season and his first ever 1st team all-pro. He's one of the key pilots in the Broncos vaulted No Fly Zone secondary

Talib brings the best of both worlds to the position. He's crazy athletic with insane speed and fantastic hands. Tyreke Hill, who runs a 4.25 40, couldn't out speed the 30-year-old DB. He also is great in coverage, allowing only a 49.5 passer rating and had 0 touchdowns given up in 315 snaps in 2016. Talib shut down Julio Jones in the Broncos game against the Falcons this year. How many CBs can say that?

In 2016 Talib became the Broncos career leader in pick sixes with his fifth. As he is getting older, Talib is reaching the end of his career. He's one of the rare NFL players who peaks later in their career. Talib is quickly making an argument to be among the best CBs in Broncos history (who have a rich history with guys like Champ Bailey and Louis Wright). Talib missed three games in 2016 and dealt with a back injury all year.

Talib is an individual with a checkered history in the NFL and this continued in 2016 with controversies involving fighting players, the Crabtree incident, shoving Jordan Norwood (to the cheers of /r/denverbroncos), and reportedly yelling at Russell Okung in the locker room. However, these events make Talib the fiery and respected leader that he is in the Broncos locker room. His college DC said, “You can have one of them fat, lazy horses or you can have a thoroughbred. Talib’s a thoroughbred. And with thoroughbreds, they’ll bite you every now and then. What makes him great in football is the high energy and willingness to take a risk. And that’s the way he lives his life.”

Talib is one of the most controversial individuals in the NFL but he is unquestionably among the best corners in the league. When flying with No Fly Zone remember not to have any jewelry on or expect to have catches.

#21 - Odell Beckham Jr. - New York Giants - Previous Rank: 16

Check out Odell Beckham Jr’s stats here!

Written by /u/UnbiasedBrownsFan <--- Today’s MVP by the way

I would use three words to describe Odell Beckham Jr. last season. Smooth. Effortless. Clutch. Many consider his on-field antics a vice, but what I see is a virtue. A young man so passionate about the game of football that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done, and leave the stadium with a win. While sometimes his emotions get the best of him his demeanor is what makes him a truly special player, and why these words epitomize his play.

Smooth. Let’s forget about football for a second here. This guy is an entertainer. I’ve got to admit, sometimes the only reason I’m watching is to see this guy dance. Not to mention that run of Michael Jackson impressions he went on. I even got a kick of his Lebron James celebration… But besides the fact that he’s a great dancer he makes being a great player look

Effortless. His plays are impressive in a vacuum or just looking at a spreadsheet, but watching him make them is truly incredible. Who else can take a slant to the house as often as Odell Beckham? He even owns a monopoly on one-handed catches. His name gets dropped wherever or whenever there is a one-hander because of plays like this. He makes great plays look routine. His speed compliments both his ability to get down the field in a hurry, and his run after the catch. Not only that, but he’s not half bad at returning punts either. Now this is all fun and good until it actually matters. When the game is on the line. And that’s where I think Odell excels, in the clutch. When you need a big play and the game is hanging in the balance, who better to call on than the impassioned Odell Beckham Jr.? Who better to bring a soul-punching, gut-wrenching, game-ending play? Now I don’t know if this ranking is too high, or too low. All I know is he is only going to get better. Prepare yourselves r/NFL.

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 21:

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, click here for 50-41 or click here for 40-31!

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 MONDAY - Players Ranked 20-11!

Submitted July 14, 2017 at 01:22PM by NFL_Top100
via reddit

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