Thursday, July 6, 2017

Official 2017 r/NFL Top 100 Players (of the 2016 Season) - #60-51

I hope you all had an enjoyable 4th of July holiday, because you are in store for one HECK of an installment today! Welcome to the r/NFL Top 100 Countdown!

Today we bring you Part V of our series, revealing players 60-51 as voted on by our rankers, as well as the Ranking Predictor (the name is on you guys now, I’ve asked for replacements) for the players ranked 70-61.

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:

#70 - Tony Jefferson, SS, Arizona Cardinals 16.36% 43.64% 40.00%
#69 - Marcus Peters, CB, Kansas City Chiefs 72.73% 21.82% 5.45%
#68 - Jack Conklin, Tackle, Tennessee Titans 45.45% 43.64% 10.91%
#67 - Olivier Vernon, 4-3 DE, New York Giants 21.82% 45.45% 32.73%
#66 - David Bakhtiari, Tackle, Green Bay Packers 25.45% 41.82% 32.73%
#65 - Tyron Smith, Tackle, Dallas Cowboys 72.73% 23.64% 3.64%
#64 - Damon Harrison, 4-3 DT, New York Giants 25.45% 45.45% 29.09%
#63 - Vic Beasley, 4-3 OLB, Atlanta Falcons 43.64% 25.45% 30.91%
#62 - Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears 63.64% 18.18% 18.18%

(ed note: That 3.64% of you who think Tyron Smith will be ranked worse next year, I implore you to seek help. Seriously. My god. - MJP)

Before we start, we have two things we always want to address with you guys:

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 be the first SECOND fifth person this year to take up our offer to fill out your own Top 100 rankings here at the same form our rankers used. These lists are pretty good!

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 or click here for 70-61!

So now that you’re ready to spend some time here with us, let’s get started on Part V of the Top 100 Players (of the 2016 Season). Players ranked #60-51!

#60-T - Leonard Williams - 3-4 DE - New York Jets - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Leonard Williams’ stats here!

Written by /u/yji *

Leonard “Big Cat” Williams dominated in 2016, in both the run and pass game. He’s already on his way to becoming an elite DL and maybe even something greater. Williams racked up 55 QB pressures and 48 defensive stops on his way to his first Pro Bowl at the age of 22, just a taste of things to come for this incredible young man. For all links in this section he's #92, to help find him easier.

Listed at 6’5” 302 pounds, Williams is a very scary man. He makes the big fish look small. With his size comes remarkable strength, and he uses this strength to overpower and embarrass his opponents regularly. In the Week 8 game against the Cleveland Browns, he gave the perfect example of how easily he can ragdoll people. Essentially, Williams grabs Cameron Erving and uses him as a battering ram, effortlessly tossing him into Duke Johnson for a loss on the play. The description doesn’t really do the play justice, it takes a grown man to do that. He’s not always throwing guys around, but he does regularly impose his will with that muscle. As another example, here’s a play against the Chiefs where he moves the guard out of the way as if he weighed nothing on his way to the ball carrier. Something that he’s adept at is using this strength to anchor at the point of attack and clog running lanes. It’s what allows the Jets to play him at nose tackle and perform in a role that’s usually reserved for people 30-50 pounds heavier.

What makes Williams elite though is his explosion and quickness, both hand and feet quickness. With a quick get off and lightning fast hands, he can leave offensive linemen wondering where he went as he passes them. In the linked play, Williams easily swims past the blocker with his superior first step and hand usage. Big Cat then chases down Ajayi for the easy TFL. This swim move is something he frequently uses in the passing game as well, getting a sack on Andy Dalton here because he’s too quick to handle. You don’t often find guys that big with that type of athleticism. The Jets have taken advantage of this, and have played him all over. It’s been mentioned that he plays nose tackle, but they frequently play him outside as an edge rusher against offensive tackles as well. He’s too athletic for them to handle as well, and they are used to physical freaks at the position. This athleticism allows the Jets to play him all over and makes him a dangerous complete threat that can beat linemen in every single way.

The best part about Leonard Williams’ game is probably in the run game. He’s a key part of a team that only gave up 3.7 YPC on the ground, a top 5 number. His versatility being able to play multiple positions and being able to both shoot gaps and hold the point of attack helped the Jets replace Damon Harrison last year and still have a formidable run defense. You can’t run any zone plays or anything that moves laterally against him. He’s too strong and too athletic for you to be able to pull it off. He’s a very smart and disciplined player too. He doesn’t overrun the play and consistently waits and makes plays when RBs try to cutback. Even when he’s not making the play, he’s forcing the runner to cutback early into the arms of waiting defenders.

That’s not to say he’s not disruptive as a pass rusher though. At times he can be borderline unblockable with his ability to negate hands and close on the QB at warp speed. On this play, he uses his power to bull rush the tackle into Big Ben and cause a fumble. He might not have an absurd sack total, but he creates pressure and sets up plays for others.

To sum it all up, Leonard Williams is basically a freak and deserves his placement on the list, and at 23 years old he’s only going to get better.

#60-T - Chandler Jones - 3-4 OLB - Arizona Cardinals - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Chandler Jones’ stats here!

Written by /u/Evilan *

In 2016 the Cardinals and the Patriots made a trade. The Cardinals turned over their 2nd round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft as well as 1st round bust Jonathan Cooper. The Patriots in turn handed over their phenomenal pass rusher, Chandler Jones, who they would not be able to sign to a contract extension. This trade worked out well for the Cardinals.

Chandler Jones came into the building from day 1 ready to work and glad to be with a defense that would challenge him and make him better. In 2016 Chandler Jones wasn’t just a pass rusher, he became an every down player for the team and exceeded expectations as a run defender. What really had us Cardinals fans excited about his performance this past season was that even though he was asked to do more for us than the Patriots, he didn’t slow down one bit as a pass rusher.

In the business of sacking, Chandler Jones is a very familiar name. In his 5 seasons in the NFL, 3 of them saw him grab double digit sacks and he did the same again in 2016. He also matched a career high in forced fumbles and tackles for a loss when he penetrated through the offensive line. But enough with words, you all want to see Chandler Jones hitting people and I’m going to give the people what they want. Sacking Russell Wilson one, two, three times! Keenum as well. We didn’t forget you, Winston. Sam Bradford, come on down. And of course, a farewell present to Jimmy G.

On a defense lush with other talented pass rushers like Calais Campbell and Markus Golden, Jones still stood out as one of the best. He didn’t lead the team in sacks like he might’ve wanted, but he was key in helping Golden to turn his pressures in to numbers and in taking a bit of extra protection away from whoever Campbell lined up on. Chandler Jones’ contract of 5 years and $82.5 million might be too little for what he adds to the front 7.

#59 - Taylor Lewan - Tackle - Tennessee Titans - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Taylor Lewan’s stats here!

Written by /u/naxter48

And then there’s this asshole…

Honestly, I used to fucking hate this guy, from his off the field issues before getting drafted to his just dickishness in general. But it’s actually kind of fun to watch now, maybe it’s cause we’re winning more and it’s not miserableness all around. He might be my favorite douchebag on the field. Taylor’s a hothead, he has 12 penalties through the year, only fewer than Erick Flowers and Donovan Smith at 13. Now half of these penalties seem normal, stuff like false start and holding. But half of them are for being a little bit too aggressive. 2 Unnecessary Roughness, 2 Facemasks, 1 Illegal use of hands and an ejection during that Packers game in the next link. He’s always willing to defend our team even if a ref gets hit in the process. And honestly, that’s probably what makes him so good for the team, especially for Mariota. Knowing that that guy is gonna go all out for the team and for protecting you as a QB gives you a lot of confidence in him, especially when he performs and isn't just talk. He actually has a really good sense of humor about it all too. That was a couple weeks afterwards, when a brawl happened at the Broncos game.

Focusing on more of his actual gameplay, he only allowed 1 sack all year long, and earned his first Pro Bowl appearance at the end of the season. This was also his first full season played in 3 years of playing, only reaching 15 games last year and 11 games in his first year (6 starting). It wasn’t just pass blocking he was great at. He helped set up an amazing run game for the Titans this year, along with the rest of the OL. But he was no doubt the lynchpin for this OL, being the loudest voice on that line, especially with a rookie having just come on. Everything from the coaches and his teammates point to this guy being one of the hardest workers on the team and having a hugely improved mindset compared to his first two seasons. He's passionate and better, he knows how to control it and use it as a tool for improvement, rather than regression. He's aggressive as hell and takes no shit from anyone on the opposing team. Look for him to continue being a dominant Left Tackle and keeping together a strong OL after drinking tallboys at Predators games all season long, even if he draws a few penalties along the way.

Bonus: He even caught a touchdown this year.

#58 - Melvin Ingram - 3-4 OLB - San Diego Chargers - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Melvin Ingram’s stats here!

Written by /u/milkchococurry

When Ingram was drafted five years ago, he was considered a “luxury pick” by the Chargers, someone who the team valued highly (he was a fabulous player at South Carolina) and happened to drop farther than expected. Ingram was a defensive end in college, so the transition from hand down to standing up proved challenging for him at first, in part because his then-270 lb body was unable to handle the amount of movement and stress of the outside linebacker position. Two offseasons ago, Ingram dropped over 20 lbs and his lighter frame made him far better suited to the demands of his position and his play has improved considerable as a result.

Over the past two seasons, Ingram has tallied up 18.5 sacks (8.0 sacks in 2016) and was one of the NFL’s best in getting to the backfield and putting pressure on the QB last season. The Chargers parlayed his success with a 4 year extension worth $64M. He will now play the “LEO” in Gus Bradley’s 4-3 defensive scheme, which is pretty much a pure rushing role with Ingram primarily having his hand on the ground. Paired with Joey Bosa for years to come, Ingram is expected to continue to grow into a serious pass rushing force. Ingram’s performance in 2016 caught the eye of many of the /r/nfl Top 100 rankers and has earned his place on this year’s list.

#57 - Kawann Short - 4-3 DT - Carolina Panthers - Previous Rank: 40

Check out Kawann Short’s stats here!

Written by /u/Bersinator

Big, scary Kawann Short.

So big, in fact, his college teammates changed his nickname from K Short to KK Short because he was too big to just be "K". Hopefully it stays that way. Alright, OK let's get down to business. Kawann Short's 6 measly sacks may cause you to think he had a down year, and if you just analyze weeks 1-6, you would be even more convinced. It was his last 10 weeks of the season where he began to look much like, or perhaps even better than his 2015 self. The player that earned the 40th spot on last year's list.

KK Short, mostly known as a pass rusher, immensely stepped up his game in run defense, finishing his 2016 campaign top 10 in both stuffs and stuff yardage. Short has effectively put his name on the map these last two years, posting a combined 40 defensive hurries along with being an integral piece to a team that has finished top two in sacks in the past two seasons. I can confidently say that PFF's third highest graded interior defender well deserves the 5 year, 80 million dollar contract he received this offseason.

#56 - Kam Chancellor - SS - Seattle Seahawks - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Kam Chancellor’s stats here!

Written by /u/Nintendog24

Kam Chancellor is likely the most feared safety in the league. While other safeties may be better in one area or another, no safety can read the QB, man up on a guy like Gronk, destroy offensive linemen, play the box and lay bone jarring hits quite like Kam. Although he dealt with injuries this season, he is still in the upper tier of safeties considering his impact on the game. Kam’s best game this season was unquestionably when Seattle, after the falcons 4th quarter collapse, became the only team in the 2016 season to beat a Brady led Patriots. (14-2 on the season with one loss coming during Brady’s suspension). Without Kam it is unlikely that Seattle come away with a victory as he provided some of the biggest plays of the game. First, he forces a fumble against Julian Edelman to setup Seattle to take the lead with a TD a few plays later. After assisting the offense to gain the lead, Kam now needed to defend it. With a first and goal in the final minutes, the defense needed to make some plays. Kam made 2 of them. First by forcing himself around the corner to drag Blount back and away from the goal line. 2 play’s later on 4th and goal, the patriots line up with Gronk and Kam isolated to the left. After the snap Gronk takes a couple of steps and tries to bull through the coverage to the ball. Kam holds his ground enough to through off the route and both players watch the ball sail overhead and Brady’s comeback ultimately falls flat.

Considering injuries, this is a fair ranking for Kam. While he isn’t the best safety in the league due some coverage issues, you could argue he is the most dominant. Over the last few years, most of the Seahawks signature wins come from some highlight plays from Bam Bam and he is, according to the players, the leader of the Legion of Boom. New Seahawk Eddie Lacy said in an AMA that Kam is the hardest hitting player in the league and I think that most would agree.

#55 - Harrison Smith - FS - Minnesota Vikings - Previous Rank: 20

Check out Harrison Smith’s stats here!

Written by /u/skepticismissurvival

Versatility is once again the key to Harrison Smith's game. He's not the best deep defender in the league (that's Earl Thomas when healthy, and Devin McCourty in 2016), but he's top 5. He's probably not the best box safety in the league (hello Kam Chancellor and Reshad Jones), but he's top 5. The thing with Smith is that he's so good at every aspect of being a safety that it makes him one of the best in the league.

Why is Smith so dominant? Instinct. Smith does a fantastic job reading the offense and anticipating what will happen on the play. Although he didn't record an interception in 2016, he had a massive impact on the Vikings' pass defense. The Vikings allowed the lowest passer rating on deep throws in 2016. That's great, but look at the splits with and without Smith on the field. The impact he makes, even without picking the QB off, is astounding.

His instincts allow him to read the run and instantly provide box support, knifing into the backfield. He will often collapse down to make tackles within one or two yards of the line of scrimmage, which is rare for a safety to do and even rarer for one with deep coverage skills like Smith. He stays disciplined as a force defender, pushing runs back inside.

The final piece to the puzzle is blitzing. Zimmer loves to use Harrison as the 7th man on the line of scrimmage in Double A gap packages, and Smith is a great blitzer.

Combine all of those traits together and you have a player I wouldn't trade for any other safety in the game. He's really fantastic.

#54 - Matt Paradis - Center - Denver Broncos - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Matt Paradis’ stats here!

Written by /u/mister_jay_peg

To talk about Matt Paradis today, we're going to do a little additiona nd subtraction to figure out his ranking here in the r/NFL Top 100.

First, we're going to look at his PFF grade, which was top in the NFL for 2016. And that's okay, and that's a good starting point to have him pretty high. But then you look at his tape, and you see a player who was obviously playing hurt throughout the season with two bad hips while never missing a snap (which led to a double surgery in January this year) and struggled at times anchoring against the big, heavy 0- and 1-tech NT's, so you want to downgrade him to the bottom of this list or off of it entirely. And finally, you see a center who was forced to play on an island more than he should in a zone scheme, because both guards were tasked with picking up the pieces from a pair of historically bad tackles.

In this instance, with all of this in mind, I'm going to look for the small things in the tape that tell me that when healthy, he still has the chops to be elite, even in a brand-new power/zone hybrid scheme under Denver's new OLine coaches Jeff Davidson and Chris Strausser (Asst). (ed. note: Pardon my French, but thank fucking GOD Clancy Barrone is no longer coaching offensive line in Denver. - MJP)

Here against Tampa Bay watch him get his hips around after being basically stopped cold by his own left guard. he is able to gain left hand positions under the pads of the lineman, and lift and pivot wish a great chop step that took a possible hard push into the lane and turned it into a seal on the side of the run so Booker could trust that he could shoot the hole without being blindsided.

Also against Tampa Bay here he is displaying a great read of a stunt that is deceptively hard to read. Both DT's pinch inward, designed to force the center to commit to one or the other before the stunt develops, hoping to cause enough assignment confusion that one of them is able to come free. but Paradis reads the stutter of the left defender, knows that means the right-side defender is crossing his face, and engages that block while letting the looped defender slide, now too far, giving Schofield an opportunity to pick him up.

Finally, against the Titans he shows off his amazing footwork. His defender jumps off the snap to the outside, hoping to catch the shoulder of Paradis and forcing him to overcommit outside giving his blitzing linebacker a hole big enough that he can either come free, or at least have enough room to maneuver around the running back. But Paradis is able to not only shuffle step for step, he also anchors his right foot, not allowing himself to be pushed and leaving a single body gap where the RB easily picks up the blitz.

So realistically, I can look at his ranking anywhere from the mid-80's all the way to the low 40's, and that doesn't bother me one way or the other. Which feels just about right for a center who is regarded as one of the best in the league who is still so anonymous that you would be forgiven for mistaking him for the plumber up the street who'd just a little too into football.

#53 - Luke Kuechly- 4-3 MLB - Carolina Panthers - Previous Rank: 6

Check out Luke Kuechley’s stats here!

Written by /u/Bersinator

What can be said about Luke Kuechly that we all have not already heard? The guy just turned 26 years old and already has a plethora of career achievements. 4 Pro Bowls, 3 First team All-Pros, 1 Second team All-Pro, a Defensive Rookie of the Year award, and a Defensive Player of the Year award. Luke was the same Luke we all know and love. He was just as great in 2016 as he was in years past, finishing his season with an elite 92.9 overall PFF rating. Kuechly was forced to step up his game this season (which he has always done without fail) due to the youth of the recently drafted secondary, consisting of "I'M JAMES BRADBERRY" and Daryl Worley behind him. Those two eventually gained their footing but for a good portion of the year, Kuechly was constantly aligning players and adjusting coverages to properly defend the opposing team's formation. They do call the Middle Linebacker the Quarterback of the defense for a reason. Kuechly just happens to model that motto a little more than most.

Kuechly was on his expected pace to have another Top 10 worthy season on this list, but he unfortunately missed the last 6 games due to injury, and with the Panthers out of the playoff hunt, playing him just was not worth the risk of another concussion. I realize, and assume most of you realize that his rank of 53rd is almost entirely due to his 6 missed games. If he can remain healthy, I think we all expect him to continue his dominance as the best Linebacker in the game and earn another high spot on next year's Top 100.

#52 - Derek Carr - QB - Oakland Raiders - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Derek Carr’s stats here!

Written by /u/Trapline

Much has been, and will be said, about Derek Carr and his standing as an NFL quarterback. He has drawn superlatives from both ends of the spectrum - ranking as high as 11 on the NFL Network version of this list while also being discredited as a flawed player benefiting from a stacked roster. I believe the truth lies closer to that #11 ranking but even I wouldn’t go that far… yet.

2016 was something approaching an MVP caliber campaign rich with comeback wins and an effortless command of one of the league’s best offenses. In my eyes, Carr’s value to this offense was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt after he was injured in week 16 against the Colts. Matt McGloin, a veteran quarterback with starting experience, could not muster anything close to what Carr could and rookie Connor Cook struggled mightily as well. Neither offered the intelligence, physical ability or heart that Carr offers every week.

The trend for the 2016 Raiders was an explosive offense making up for an inconsistent defense. Much is made of Matthew Stafford’s comeback abilities but Derek Carr is racking them up at an alarming rate the last 2 seasons. Aggressive playcalling and fearlessness from the quarterback were common themes.

But beyond the comebacks and beautiful throws the true value of Derek Carr is as a leader. He is the unquestioned leader of Raiders and goes out of his way to prop up the players around him. /u/GipsySafety put it well in December in /r/oaklandraiders:

When Khalil Mack gets a sack, Derek Carr is first to greet him. Derek Carr isn't just a good player or a good QB. He's the leader... and not just the leader of the offense, he's the leader of this team. He's vocal, he's energetic, he's passionate, and he cares.

Shout out to Gipsy for his wise words along with, I believe, all of the clips linked.

I said above I don’t consider Carr a top 15 overall player in the NFL yet - with the keyword being “yet.” I do expect to consider him such at some point, probably soon, in his career. Carr’s work ethic and constant improvement have given Raider Nation hope that they haven’t known for literal decades and playoff ambitions that were laughable for most of the last 15 years.

#51 - Brent Grimes - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Previous Rank: N/R

Check out Brent Grimes’ stats here!

Written by /u/YouMake

Before we can talk about Brent Grimes the player in 2016, let's rewind the tape a bit and talk about the 2016 off-season. The Buccaneers as an organization have always been one that likes to take a chance on that player with "baggage" (Warren Sapp, Noah Spence, Jameis Winston etc.). Brent Grimes was no different. Brent Grimes entered the 2016 off-season with the baggage of a well known loud mouth of a Wife, Miko Grimes. When Brent was released by the Dolphins that got rid of not only Brent but the baggage he carries aka Miko. He lingered out there for a while until the Buccaneers offered him a 2 year contract. Which of course he accepted.

This move could of gone South fast, but boy oh boy was it a good decision to take that gamble and roll the dice on Grimes. Grimes was everything Darrelle Revis was suppost to be in 2013. For the first time since Ronde Barber we had a true #1 CB.

Brent isn't a very large man, he stands at 5'10 and weighs in at 180Lbs. Yet, he plays much bigger due to his just ludicrous vertical. That is one of his greatest assets, is that even if the receiver is physically larger than him you can't just lob it up there on him. He will go get it. This INT from 2014 needs to be included. Brent Grimes graded out from PFF as the 4th highest CB in 2016. Each person will take that in a different way. Yes, of course it's someone's opinion but he was fantastic, especially in the second half of the season. Brent did give up some big plays in the first half of the season he played a more risk/reward style. Once he became comfortable in what Smith was cooking he flourished in the scheme. He finished the season with the combined highest INT/Pass Break-ups with 18 (Break-up is the physical hitting or swatting of the ball, while a pass defense is a non completion from your given coverage). Teams started to look the other direction when looking across the field and seeing Grimes(RIP VH3).

The Carolina Panthers in week 17 wanted to challenge Grimes and boy did he rise to the occasion. The man just took a side of the field and said "Nope, not today". It was a no fly zone Sorry Bronco Fans. He was sitting on routes, jumping receivers which knotted him a pick-six. 2nd half of the game comes, the Panthers think they'll get him with the good 'ole double move. Guess what happens? He breaks up both of them and almost gets a second INT but couldn't maintain control once he contacted the ground.

Grimes final stat line for that game: Targeted 7 times, allowed 3 TOTAL yards, 3 Pass Break-ups, 4 PDs, 1 Pick-six. PFF grade him with a 99.9 that game. It was one of the best individual games I ever had the pleasure of watching.

Brent Grimes is getting up there in age, yet plays with a lot of energy and is a fun to watch. I'm excited to see what the future holds in 2017.


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!)

If you can’t see the link to today’s poll you can click here:

Here is a link to the spreadsheet for each ranker’s 100 thru 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 MONDAY - Players Ranked 50-41!

Submitted July 06, 2017 at 12:48PM by NFL_Top100
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