THE annual NFL Top 100 list has been a weekly feature since the beginning of May, with NFL players vying for a spot on the coveted list. Voted annually by the players the top 100 list gives credit to the best players heading into each season since 2011. As it stands we have players 100-11 revealed and we know who will be in the top 10, but we don’t know the order. Here are my choices for the top 10 players heading into the 2017 NFL season.
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Before I get stuck into the top 10, I just want to take a moment to acknowledge some of the snubs from the list, who deserved to make the cut.
Michael Thomas (WR, Saints), Jerrell Freeman (LB, Bears), Eric Weddle (S, Ravens), Cameron Jordan (DE, Saints), Jordan Howard (RB, Bears), Tyler Eifert (TE, Bengals) and A.J. Boyue (CB, Jaguars)
LE’VEON BELL, RB, PITTSBURGH STEELERS ( 31)
SEASON 2015 was a forgetful one for Le’Veon Bell. Not only did he miss the first four games through suspension, but he then managed just six games before a MCL injury ended his year early. Last year though he erupted for a career best 105.7 yards per game, while finishing just 93 yards short of his career total, despite playing four games less. Bell is back ladies and gentlemen.
EZEKIEL ELLIOTT, RB, DALLAS COWBOYS (NR)
THE NFL’s rushing leader cracks the top 10 in his rookie season! A large part of his success was due to his elite O-line, but make no mistake Elliott is already one of the best backs in the entire league. Elliott’s 1631 yards in his first season is the 3rd most by a rookie in NFL history.
ODELL BECKHAM JR, WR, NEW YORK GIANTS ( 2)
NO one should be surprised that human highlight reel Odell Beckham is high up on the list. After cracking the top 10 for the first time in his career in 2015, Beckham had a somewhat quiet year by his standards. His ‘quiet year’ still saw him post the 3rd highest amount of receiving yards in the league, further illustrating his dominance.
Image from giantswire.usatoday.com
KHALIL MACK, DE, OAKLAND RAIDERS ( 6)
2016 Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack is a force to be reckoned with. The defensive end has tallied 30 sacks in his first three seasons for the Raider, becoming one of the best edge rushers in the entire league. A difference maker on defense, Khalil and the Raiders are poised for serious success in 2017.
JULIO JONES, WR, ATLANTA FALCONS ( 2)
FOR years now Julio Jones has been in the conversation as the greatest wide receiver in the game. The sixth year pro makes his first top 10 appearance after 1,409 yards in 14 games for the Falcons, serving as MVP Matt Ryan’s main threat. Last year Jones ripped off 300 yards in Week 4, so don’t be surprised if he posts off a few more off the chart numbers next year.
VON MILLER, LB, DENVER BRONCOS ( 10)
WITH his highest finish since 2013, Von Miller is back amongst the league’s elite where he belongs. The highest placed defender in this year’s countdown racked up another 13.5 sacks last year fresh off his SuperBowl MVP performance. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before the linebacker wins his first DPOY award.
Image from milehighreport.com
AARON RODGERS, QB, GREEN BAY PACKERS ( 2)
AARON Rodgers hasn’t finished any lower than 11th since the inaugural list in 2011. His MVP winning season saw him earn the #1 rank in 2012 and it’s clear that this decade he is one of the best players in the entire game. Last season he showed how dominant he can be, leading the Packers to a second half surge and added an incredible playoff performance against the Cowboys. Expect more of the same from the quarterback legend.
ANTONIO BROWN, WR, PITTSBURGH STEELERS ( 1)
THE No. 1 guy at the wideout position in my eyes finishes inside the top three for the 1st time of his career. With his QB battling injuries, Brown still managed to post over 1,200 yards, while tying for the 2nd most TD catches in the league. If ‘Big Ben’ is healthy then Antonio Brown could post record receiving numbers, but either way expect another Pro-Bowl calibre season from the NFL superstar.
MATT RYAN, QB, ATLANTA FALCONS (NR)
SOMEWHAT surprisingly Matt Ryan has never finished higher than 17th (2013) with only three appearances in the top 100 for his pro career. A career year across the board saw Ryan throw 38 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, leading the Falcons to a SuperBowl appearance. Ryan has been one of the better play callers for years now and he’s reaping the benefits from his stellar MVP season.
TOM BRADY, QB, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS ( 1)
TOM Brady will become the first player to earn the #1 rank in two different years. Brady has finished 1st (2011) 2nd (2016), 3rd (2014, 2015) and 4th (2012, 2013) in every top 100 list to date and there is little doubt that he is the best player in the league entering a new season. Don’t be surprised if Brady finishes atop this list in 12 months time too.
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