NFL Top 100 Players of 2020: Deshaun Watson rises, Lamar Jackson regressing

The two most-recent NFL MVPs. Record-breaking contracts and record-setting performances. As we delve into the NFL top 100 for the 2020 season, prepare to be surprised who is within the top five. Also, prepare to disagree with where one future Hall of Fame quarterback is ranked.

Swipe down to see our NFL top 100 picks, or tap here to jump to our top 50.

Updated: November 27 at 11:45 AM EST

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100. Marcus Maye, safety, New York Jets

After trading Jamal Adams, Maye became the focal point of New York’s secondary. The 27-year-old free safety has played well this season, grading as one of Pro Football Focus’ top cover safeties. He is continuing to make quite the impact in 2020, and should be rewarded with a nice contract this offseason.

99. Byron Jones, cornerback, Miami Dolphins

Miami made Jones one of the highest-paid defenders in NFL history for a reason. A first-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys, the 27-year-old will continue enjoying life in Miami as a shutdown cornerback for a team on the rise.

98. Marlon Humphrey, cornerback, Baltimore Ravens

Just ask the New England Patriots what it’s like to face Humphrey. He has become one of the NFL’s rising stars on the defensive side, earning All-Pro honors in 2019. Humphrey is a big reason why Baltimore boasts one of the NFL’s best defenses.

97. Joe Mixon, running back, Cincinnati Bengals

Mixon is still flying under the radar, and was well deserving of a contract extension. If the Bengals can build even a competent offensive line around Mixon and quarterback Joe Burrow in the coming years, the offense is in great hands regardless of who’s coaching the team.

96. Kenny Golladay, wide receiver, Detroit Lions

While he might not be Megatron, this 6-foot-4 receiver is still unstoppable on the field. Golladay’s highlights from this past season, like this touchdown, showcase how he led the NFL in receiving grabs last season. The Lions are far worse on offense when Golladay is out of the lineup.

Detroit Lions news: Latest rumors on Kenny Golladay’s future in Detroit

95. Eric Kendricks, linebacker, Minnesota Vikings

Once a star on UCLA’s campus, Kendricks has found a home on Minnesota’s defense. The former second-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft elevated his game last year, earning first-team All-Pro honors, and he must be recognized as one of the NFL’s top 100 players.

CHECK OUT: Love Minnesota sports? Head to Minnesota Sports Fan now for the very best local headlines.

94. Earl Thomas, safety, free agent

Thomas drew headlines for an ugly incident this offseason, but no one should let it take away from his impact on the field. The 31-year-old proved he is still a top safety and even a quiet finish to his NFL career shouldn’t harm his case for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

93. Anthony Barr, linebacker, Minnesota Vikings

The New York Jets will look back on the 2019 offseason and feel pain. Just when Barr was ready to sign, he spurned New York and returned to the Vikings. Needless to say, Minnesota is very happy to still have its Pro Bowl linebacker.

92. Josh Allen, defensive end, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars have made plenty of draft blunders in recent years. Taking Allen with the No. 7 overall pick in 2019 isn’t one of them. He racked up 10.5 sacks in his rookie season, proving he wasn’t a fluke at Kentucky. Allen will be one of the NFL’s top pass-rushers here soon.

91. Jonnu Smith, tight end, Tennessee Titans

Everyone was waiting for Smith to get his opportunity and it’s happening this season. He’s always been an exceptional athlete and that’s turning into big numbers in 2020. He is a go-to for Ryan Tannehill and this offense isn’t the same when Smith is sidelined.

90. Jimmy Smith, cornerback, Baltimore Ravens

If you want to know why Baltimore’s defense is so good, just watch their secondary. They boast two of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, with Smith and Humphrey locking down receivers. Across 421 coverage snaps this season, per PFF, Smith boasts a top-10 grade among all corners.

Related: NFL defense rankings: Saints rise, Patriots plummet entering Week 12.

89. Justin Jefferson, wide receiver, Minnesota Vikings

It takes a lot for a rookie to jump onto the NFL top 100 players list during the season. However, Jefferson is quickly proving he deserves the recognition. Despite dealing with some middling quarterback play, he is on pace for over 1,300 receiving yards in his first year. We knew the 2020 draft class was loaded at receiver, but Jefferson might prove to be the best.

88. Allen Robinson, wide receiver, Chicago Bears

It’s the same story in Chicago as he went through in Jacksonville. Robinson is an elite wide receiver, but poor quarterback play constantly hurts his stats. He’ll likely be available for NFL teams in free agency next year and we hope he lands in the right spot, almost any quarterback is better than Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles.

Chicago Bears news: Latest rumors on Allen Robinson’s future in Chicago

87. Jadeveon Clowney, defensive end, Tennessee Titans

To say that this former No. 1 pick struggled with injuries in his season with the Seahawks would be an understatement. Clowney recorded all of three sacks in 13 games. This coupled with a high asking price has him as a free agent. Despite that, the track record for success is here. From 2016-18 with the Texans, Clowney tallied a combined 53 quarterback hits and 24.5 sacks. He needs to really produce for the Titans if they want to make another deep playoff run.

86. Chase Young, edge rusher, Washington Football Team

The No. 2 overall pick is doing everything we knew he was capable of coming into the NFL. He is a force off the edge, creating all kinds of havoc with 25 stops, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. It’s not quite the Nick Bosa-like impact, but it won’t be long before Young is playing at that level.

85. Calais Campbell, defensive end, Baltimore Ravens

In what might be one of the most lopsided trades in NFL history, the Ravens acquired Campbell for a Day 3 draft pick this past spring. A defense that was already frightening now has a five-time Pro Bowl selection added to its defensive line.

84. Keenan Allen, wide receiver, Los Angeles Chargers

Since missing most of the 2016 season, Allen has returned to NFL stardom. Coming off three consecutive seasons with 1,100-plus receiving yards and six touchdowns, the Chargers and fantasy owners know they can always count on Allen to deliver.

83. Josh Allen, quarterback, Buffalo Bills

We doubted Allen coming into the season, accuracy was an alarming concern. While there is still erratic play from the 24-year-old gunslinger this season, his 21-to-7 TD/INT ratio is impressive, and his 68.4% completion rate is a stunning improvement over his marks in 2019 (58.8%). Plenty of credit goes to offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and receiver Stefon Diggs, but Allen’s progression is undeniable.

82. Demario Davis, linebacker, New Orleans Saints

Davis bounced around the NFL from 2012-17 with the Jets and Cleveland Browns, then he found a home in New Orleans. One of the league’s most underrated defenders, this former third-round pick’s road to becoming an All-Pro linebacker is incredible.

81. Brian Burns, edge rusher, Carolina Panthers

Carolina drafted Burns with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft, recognizing an edge rusher with elite physical tools. We’re seeing that athleticism and explosiveness turn into production and it’s only his second season. His 13.5 sacks and 32 pressures in 27 career games are solid figures, but bear in mind he’s made only 16 starts. Now that he’s a full-time fixture in the lineup, Burns is on track to be a future All-Pro edge rusher.

80. Kenny Clark, nose tackle, Green Bay Packers

One of the most underrated defensive linemen in the NFL, Clark earned his first Pro Bowl appearance since the Packers made the UCLA product a first-round pick back in 2016. The 314-pound defensive tackle recorded 62 tackles, nine tackles for loss and six sacks. His importance inside also helped set the stage for a pair of elite edge rushers in that of Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith with the Packers. 

79. Ryan Ramczyk, offensive tackle, New Orleans Saints

A first-round pick out of Wisconsin back in 2017, Ramczyk has started all 57 games in which he’s appeared in three-plus seasons with New Orleans. He’s coming off an All-Pro performance manning right tackle for the Super Bowl contenders. Along with left tackle Terron Armstead, he’s one of the primary reasons Drew Brees was sacked just 12 times in 11 games last season. 

78. LaVonte David, linebacker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dec 21, 2019; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) reacts as he makes a tackle against the Houston Texans during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 21, 2019; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) reacts as he makes a tackle against the Houston Texans during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

For some reason, David is not mentioned among the best inside linebackers in the NFL. While he’s getting more shine as the Buccaneers are a primetime TV fixture in 2020, he still continues to fly under the radar. Despite this, the former second-round pick from Nebraska continues to prove his worth. David, 30, recorded 123 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, seven passes defended and three forced fumbles for the Bucs last season.

77. Justin Simmons, safety, Denver Broncos

It’s pretty sensational what Simmons has done in Denver since the team made him a third-round pick from Boston College back in 2016. The safety has recorded 35 passes defended and 13 interceptions since becoming a full-time starter as a sophomore. He’s coming off a Pro Bowl campaign and will soon be among the highest-paid safeties in the NFL after his lucrative one-year deal expires. He’s a legit top-100 player in the NFL.

76. Odell Beckham Jr., wide receiver, Cleveland Browns

While some might see him as overrated, Beckham Jr’s struggles in 2019 can be attributed to playing through a sports hernia injury. With the Browns committed to OBJ and a potential rebound season by Baker Mayfield, he wasn’t on track to be a top-10 receiver once again before tearing his ACL, but Beckham’s talent still merits a spot in the top 100.

Cleveland Browns rumors: Odell Beckham Jr. trade destinations

75. Frank Clark, defensive end, Kansas City Chiefs

Clark was one of the primary reasons Kansas City earned that elusive Super Bowl title in his first season with the team. Acquired from Seattle during the spring of 2019, the former West Virginia star recorded 14 quarterback hits, eight sacks and three forced fumbles. Clark has tallied eight-plus sacks each of the past four seasons. 

74. Rob Gronkowski, tight end, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski
Aug 20, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) train during training camp at AdventHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Returning after a one-year hiatus, we’re not sure what to expect from this 31-year-old future Hall of Famer with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. Gronkowski has not played a full 16-game slate since 2011, leading to him retiring in the first place. When on the field, he’s as dominant as they come. That includes a career 65% catch rate and four All-Pro honors. 

73. Anthony Harris, safety, Minnesota Vikings

Yet another under-the-radar safety, Harris is slated to play under the franchise tag in 2020 after showing out for Minnesota last season. The former undrafted free agent from Virginia led the NFL with six interceptions, tallying 60 tackles and 11 passes defended in the process. He and Harrison Smith are among the league’s premier safety duos. 

72. Ezekiel Elliott, running back, Dallas Cowboys

Elliott transcends the running back position in that his importance to the Cowboys’ success can’t be ignored. Here’s a dude who has put up north of 7,000 total yards in four NFL seasons. Those are some insane numbers. He also makes Dak Prescott a much better quarterback under center. It’s a symbiotic relationship, though, and without Prescott, Zeke has struggled behind a banged-up offensive line.

71. Darren Waller, tight end, Las Vegas Raiders

Speaking of flying under the radar, Waller recorded a combined 18 receptions in his first four NFL seasons after the Ravens made him a sixth-round pick back in 2015. Breaking out big time with the Raiders in 2019, the Georgia Tech product recorded 90 receptions for 1,145 yards while catching 77% of his targets. He’s now on the brink of joining the elites, George Kittle and Travis Kelce, and is a potential fantasy football stud.

CHECK OUT: If you’re a Raiders fan and you’re not checking out Silver & Black Today daily, you’re missing out.

70. Andrew Whitworth, left tackle, Los Angeles Rams

Everyone loves to talk about Tom Brady beating Father Time, but Whitworth’s success is just as incredible. A second-round pick in 2006, the 38-year-old tackle has allowed just one sack in the past two seasons. Even more absurd, he’s surrendered just six pressure on 316 pass block snaps this season. He is one of the oldest players in the NFL — and one of the best.

69. D.K. Metcalf, wide receiver, Seattle Seahawks

Metcalf proved to be more than just a workout warrior in his rookie season. He posted some gaudy stats (900 receiving yards, seven touchdowns) for a rookie and we’re just seeing glimpses of his potential. The rising star has proven to be a fantasy football monster this year with numerous big plays.

68. Tyler Lockett, wide receiver, Seattle Seahawks

Another player who doesn’t necessarily stand out from a national perspective, Lockett has quickly become Russell Wilson’s favorite target in Seattle. Over the course of the past two seasons, the Kansas State product has recorded a resounding 77.2% catch rate while putting up north of 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns. He’s a legit No. 1 receiver, making him an ideal complement to the more explosive DK Metcalf. 

67. Adam Thielen, wide receiver, Minnesota Vikings – Best undrafted player

Injuries limited Thielen to just 30 catches for 418 yards last season. This doesn’t take away from what the Minnesota State product has done since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent back in 2014. Combined, Thielen tallied north of 200 catches for nearly 2,600 yards in 2017 and 2018. He’s returned to form this season with 11 touchdown catches already.

66. Josh Jacobs, running back, Las Vegas Raiders

The only member of this Vegas team to crack the top 100, Jacobs was absolutely sensational as a rookie. The former Alabama star tallied north of 1,300 total yards at a clip of 5.0 yards per touch. Now that the Raiders are focusing on opening up their offense in 2020, Jacobs is more of a bruising bell cow who’s seen his yards per carry drop below four. It’s only a matter of time before he finds more running room.

65. Aaron Jones, running back, Green Bay Packers

It’s still baffling that Jones is not talked about among the game’s elite backs. All the former mid-round pick from UTEP did last season was record 1,558 total yards and 19 touchdowns at a clip of 5.5 yards per touch. This wasn’t even enough to earn him a trip to the Pro Bowl. He’s maintained his status as starter in 2020 even with the addition of second-round pick A.J. Dillon.

64. Ryan Tannehill, quarterback, Tennessee Titans

Tannehill’s career resurgence was one of the best stories in the NFL last season. He went from backup quarterback to leading the Titans to the AFC Championship Game in only a few months. He’s now one of the NFL’s highest-paid quarterbacks, and he earned the raise.

63. Shaq Barrett, defensive end, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Yet another former undrafted free agent, Barrett flew under the radar during a five-year stint with Denver. That changed big time after signing a free-agent deal in Tampa Bay ahead of the 2019 season. The Colorado State product responded by racking up 37 quarterback hits while leading the NFL with 19.5 sacks, yet he’s dropped to five sacks through 11 games this year.

62. Grady Jarrett, defensive tackle, Atlanta Falcons

There’s a reason the Falcons signed Jarrett to a massive contract extension last summer. One of the biggest steals of the 2015 NFL draft, Jarrett has ascended from fifth-round pick to an All-Pro defensive tackle in a few years. With 71 quarterback hits and 49 tackles for loss in 87 games, few interior linemen can match his disruptive abilities.

61. Laremy Tunsil, offensive tackle, Houston Texans

Now-fired Texans head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien received some flack for handing Tunsil a record-breaking three-year, $66 million extension during the spring. It’s not necessarily the former first-round pick’s fault. After all, Tunsil remains one of the best young left tackles in the game. He’s started all 67 games in which he’s appeared in four seasons and is an elite blindside protector.

60. Harrison Smith, safety, Minnesota Vikings

A first-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft, Smith has blown past all expectations since joining the Vikings. He was inarguably one of the NFL’s best defensive backs over the last decade and he continues to play at a high level to this day.

59. Drew Brees, quarterback, New Orleans Saints

Brees had turned it around as of late, looking more comfortable with Michael Thomas back on the field. However, it can’t also be denied that he has taken a massive step back and his decline puts a cap on New Orleans’ passing attack. After this season, no matter what happens, Brees should retire, especially now that he’s sidelined with numerous rib fractures.

58. Ronnie Stanley, offensive tackle, Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens would be wise to ensure Stanley doesn’t become available for other teams next offseason. The 26-year-old is an elite left tackle and easily deserves to become the highest-paid offensive lineman, especially since Lamar Jackson needs to be protected in the coming years. Stanley suffered a season-ending ankle injury, and his absence is taking a toll on Baltimore, further proving his immense value.

57. Fred Warner, linebacker, San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco found a gem in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Warner is emerging as one of the NFL’s best young defenders with a track record of causing problems for the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers.

56. Chris Jones, defensive tackle, Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes might have won Super Bowl LIV MVP, but the Chiefs don’t complete that fourth-quarter comeback without Jones. He earned every dollar of that $85 million contract and will be essential for this team to become the next NFL dynasty.

55. Jalen Ramsey, cornerback, Los Angeles Rams

Some fans may think he is one of the most overrated players in the NFL, but that feeling isn’t shared around the league. Ramsey is a shutdown corner and an incredible trash talker, who deserves the record contract he received in the form of five years and $105 million.

54. Dak Prescott, quarterback, Dallas Cowboys

Something tells us Jerry Jones and the Cowboys will regret not signing Prescott to a long-term extension this offseason. After losing Prescott to that gruesome, season-ending injury, the Cowboys have fallen off a cliff. With each passing loss, Prescott’s asking price should climb higher.

53. Nick Chubb, running back, Cleveland Browns

Nov 11, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) runs the ball for a first down against the Atlanta Falcons during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 11, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) runs the ball for a first down against the Atlanta Falcons during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Chubb is one of the most difficult players to tackle in the NFL. He rushed for nearly 1,500 yards last season behind a bad offensive line, which the Browns finally addressed this offseason. Don’t be shocked if Chubb helps Baker Mayfield carry this team to the playoffs.

52. Za’Darius Smith, outside linebacker, Green Bay Packers

The Packers heard plenty of skepticism last offseason when they signed Smith to a $66 million contract. A year later, the deal looks like a bargain after Smith recorded 37 quarterback hits and 13.5 sacks while creating a fearsome duo with Preston Smith.

51. Myles Jack, linebacker, Jacksonville Jaguars

There haven’t been a lot of bright spots for the Jaguars this season. One of the few, Jack becoming one of the NFL’s best linebackers. He is outstanding against the run, excels in coverage and can rush the passer. Under contract through the 2023 season, Jack is the heart of Jacksonville’s defense.

NFL Top 50

50. Stefon Diggs, wide receiver, Buffalo Bills

There were some concerns about how Diggs would fare in Buffalo with Josh Allen, a shared belief that a quarterback with ball placement issues would be a major problem. It turns out, this is the perfect pairing. Diggs is already at 906 receiving yards and on pace to set a career-high with 1,450 receiving yards.

49. Vita Vea, defensive tackle, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Before going down with a broken leg, Tampa Bay’s 347-pound defensive tackle was an unstoppable force. He created 16 total pressures and 13 hurries, a credit to his ability to collapse the interior pocket. Of course, he also excelled at stopping the run and eating up blocks to create opportunities for teammates. Headed for free agency in 2022, Vea will land a massive contract.

48. Wyatt Teller, guard, Cleveland Browns

Cleveland dominates with its running game and Teller is pivotal to that success. A fifth-round pick in 2018, he has allowed just three total pressures this season and dominates as a run blocker. Now that he’s healthy, Teller can prove he is the best guard in the NFL.

47. Chris Godwin, wide receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fantasy owners hoped for a breakout season last year and Godwin exceeded even the grandest expectations. Not only did he earn a Pro Bowl selection, Godwin proved he is the best slot receiver in the NFL. It’s no wonder Tom Brady signed with the Buccaneers — even if he and Godwin are still working to get on the same page.

46. Myles Garrett, defensive end, Cleveland Browns

Myles Garrett will forever be known for striking Mason Rudolph in the head with his helmet. But, there’s also no denying he is one of the best defensive players in the NFL. We told you he could win Defensive Player of the Year this season and with nine sacks, he is on his way to accomplishing it.

45. David Bakhtiari, offensive tackle, Green Bay Packers

It’s fitting that a team with a rich history in the NFL thrives at finding offensive linemen late in the draft. Bakhtiari, a fourth-round pick in 2013, has become an outstanding pass protector and a pillar on the left side protecting Aaron Rodgers. Now the highest-paid tackle in NFL history, Bakhtiari will be anchoring left tackle in Green Bay for years to come.

44. Danielle Hunter, defensive end, Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter in NFL Week 11
Nov 19, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Danielle Hunter (99) celebrates his sack in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

When the Vikings invested a third-round pick in Hunter, they hoped he could develop into a productive pass rusher. He blossomed into an unstoppable force off the edge. Just look at Danielle Hunter’s career stats (54.5 sacks in 78 games) and appreciate it, because his future is uncertain after neck surgery cost him the 2020 season.

43. Tre’Davious White, cornerback, Buffalo Bills

It would have been devastating for the Bills if Tre’Davious White opted out of the 2020 NFL season. Fortunately, he’ll be on the field this year and that means an All-Pro cornerback gets to show off his skills. Let’s just hope White’s Madden 21 rating (90) goes up, because he deserves even more recognition.

42. Tyrann Mathieu, safety, Kansas City Chiefs

Honey Badger’s story is of consequence. Here’s a dude that was kicked off the LSU football team due to off-field issues. Mathieu then entered the NFL as a major question mark after Arizona made him a third-round pick back in 2013. Since then, he’s morphed into an elite-level cover safety. Last season alone with Kansas City, Mathieu recorded 12 passes defended and four interceptions. 

41. Bobby Wagner, linebacker, Seattle Seahawks

An unheralded second-round pick out of Utah State in 2012, Wagner became one of the best linebackers of the decade. A six-time Pro Bowl selection and five-time All-Pro, Wagner is living the dream and will one day be a Hall of Famer.

NFL Top 40

40. Trent Williams, offensive tackle, San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco lost left tackle Joe Staley and replaced him with another top pass protector. Even after a year away from football, Williams has shown everyone why his new teammates were so elated to land him, earning PFF’s No. 2 overall grade for offensive tackles.

39. Amari Cooper, wide receiver, Dallas Cowboys

While Rex Ryan might not have paid Cooper, NFL teams were more than happy to do so. The Washington Football Team tried to steal him from Dallas, but there was no way Cooper would turn down that eye-popping contract and the No. 1 spot in one of the NFL’s top offenses.

38. Richard Sherman, cornerback, San Francisco 49ers

After an iffy first season in San Francisco, this future Hall of Fame corner turned it up big time en route to helping the 49ers to a shocking Super Bowl trip in 2019. Sherman yielded a sub-60 passer rating when targeted, recording 11 passes defended, three interceptions and a pick-six in the process. He’s playing at the level we saw in Seattle. That’s scary. The only thing preventing Sherman from ascending higher here is the fact he’s been injured for most of 2020, like many 49ers players

37. Mike Evans, wide receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Only two players in NFL history have recorded 1,000 receiving yards in each of their first six seasons: Hall of Famer Randy Moss and wide receiver Mike Evans. He celebrated the Tom Brady signing in perfect fashion, and has gained good chemistry with TB12 to the tune of nine receiving touchdowns through 11 games, which is already more than Evans had in each of the prior three seasons.

36. DeForest Buckner, defensive tackle, Indianapolis Colts

The Colts could have taken their chances on a rookie with the No. 13 overall pick. Instead, they traded it for Buckner. After making him one of the highest-paid defensive players in NFL history, we expect the All-Pro defensive tackle to push this team into the playoffs.

35. Minkah Fitzpatrick, safety, Pittsburgh Steelers

The Minkah Fitzpatrick trade might go down as one of the best moves in the Steelers’ recent history. He made the same impact for Pittsburgh’s defense that he did for Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide. Frankly, he is one of the NFL’s best playmakers.

34. Zack Martin, guard, Dallas Cowboys

Martin could retire today and probably be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The decision to draft him over Johnny Manziel pays off to this day and he will likely go down as one of the best guards in NFL history. Before going down with a calf injury on Thanksgiving, Martin further proved his value by excelling at right tackle for an injury-depleted offensive line.

33. Von Miller, outside linebacker, Denver Broncos

There’s little doubt that the 31-year-old Miller will be a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee. The former Super Bowl MVP heads into his 10th NFL season having put up 106 sacks. It’s unfortunate that we likely won’t get to see him play in 2020, but we expect him to return with a vengeance next season.

32. J.J. Watt, defensive end, Houston Texans

It’s somewhat unfortunate to see. Watt has played in eight games or less three of the past four seasons due to injuries. Although the future Hall of Famer remains elite when he’s on the field, his individual impact isn’t enough to make Houston a formidable defensive unit. Back in 2018, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year recorded 25 quarterback hits, 18 tackles for loss, 16 sacks and eight forced fumbles. That’s just ridiculous, and it’s difficult to expect Watt to ascend to those heights again even as he continues to produce a top-10 EDGE grade on Pro Football Focus. 

J.J. Watt trade rumors: Potential offseason landing spots

31. Darius Leonard, linebacker, Indianapolis Colts

From second-round pick in 2018 to instant star. Leonard didn’t just win Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2018, he was also named first-team All-Pro as a rookie. From FCS star to one of the game’s best linebackers, Leonard proves NFL teams can find talent anywhere.

30. Joey Bosa, defensive end, Los Angeles Chargers

Recently signed to the richest contract for a defender in NFL history, Bosa has more than lived up to that payday. The former No. 3 overall pick from Ohio State has recorded 82 quarterback hits and 40 sacks in four NFL seasons. He’s coming off an 11.5-sack performance en route to earning his second Pro Bowl trip. Crazy enough, Bosa is not the top-ranked brother from his clan on this list. 

29. Saquon Barkley, running back, New York Giants

Saquon Barkley TD
Dec 30, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) points to his family on the sideline during warmups before a game against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK

Historical. Electric. That’s what we saw from Barkley as he ended up winning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2018. That season saw the Penn State product gain a league-high 2,028 total yards and 15 touchdowns while averaging nearly six yards per touch. Injuries hampered Barkley to an extent as a sophomore, but he was still able to go for 1,441 yards in 13 games. Sadly, the injury bug bit again this year. The hope is Barkley can return to an improved Giants team in 2021 at full strength.

CHECK OUT: Every Giants fan should listen to the top-rated Fireside Giants podcast. Available for free now.

28. Derrick Henry, running back, Tennessee Titans

A former Heisman winner at Alabama, Henry’s first two seasons with Tennessee was nothing to write home about. The bulldozer of a back recorded an average of 617 rushing yards during that span. Since then, however, he’s been nothing less than dominant. Henry went for a whopping 1,746 total yards and 18 touchdowns last season en route to leading the Titans to a shocking appearance in the AFC Championship Game this past year. This kid is absolutely legit, and vanquished the Ravens with a walk-off overtime touchdown in Week 11. 

27. Tom Brady, quarterback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – best quarterback of all time

Tom Brady is the best player in NFL history. He is also in evident decline. Both statements are true. And even if he isn’t playing at an elite level these days, he can do incredible things on the field. New England will regret letting him go and it wouldn’t be a shock if Brady brought the Lombardi Trophy back to Tampa Bay.

26. Dalvin Cook, running back, Minnesota Vikings

A monster in fantasy football and a dangerous all-purpose threat on the field, Cook is the engine that drives the Vikings’ offense. If Minnesota can upgrade at quarterback from Kirk Cousins, perhaps Cook can be even more dangerous in the prime of his career now that his future with the franchise is secure with a long-term contract.

25. Stephon Gilmore, cornerback, New England Patriots

One of the very few big-time free-agent successes around the NFL in recent years, Gilmore earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors for the Patriots last season. It’s a campaign that saw him record league highs in passes defended (20) and interceptions (six). Gilmore also yielded a sub 50 passer rating when targeted, but with so many Pats opting out of the 2020 season, the New England secondary has suffered, and Gilmore has regressed.

24. Kyler Murray, quarterback, Arizona Cardinals – NFL breakout player

NFL top 100 players

The Grand Canyon-sized leap we saw from Lamar Jackson from 2018 to 2019, we’re seeing something similar this year with Murray. He fits perfectly into Kliff Kingsbury’s offense and the addition of DeAndre Hopkins is paying off big time. Murray is on pace to become the first quarterback in NFL history with 4,000-plus passing yards and 1,000-plus rushing yards in a season. Just utterly ridiculous and this is a 5-foot-10, if we’re being kind, quarterback.

23. Quenton Nelson, guard, Indianapolis Colts

It was somewhat of a surprise that Indy exhausted a top-six pick on a guard back in 2018. At the very least, it was a surprise to those who didn’t see Nelson dominate at Notre Dame. He’s a generational talent, and has proven that in two seasons. Still only 24, Nelson already seems to be on the trajectory that will land him in Canton as a first ballot Hall of Famer. 

22. Jamal Adams, safety, Seattle Seahawks – Best safety

A malcontent during his three-year stay with the New York Jets, Adams finally got his wish and was shipped off to the Pacific Northwest. He’ll now act as the face of a secondary previously known as the “Legion of Boom” after earning consecutive Pro Bowl trips in Jersey. One of the best safeties in the NFL, Adams has recorded 190 tackles, 21 quarterback hits and 19 tackles for loss over the past two seasons, but is fighting through multiple injuries in his maiden year with Seattle. 

21. Nick Bosa, defensive end, San Francisco 49ers

Not only did Bosa earn Defensive Rookie of the Year honors last season, he put up one of the greatest initial seasons in NFL history. The Ohio State product recorded 25 quarterback hits, nine sacks and one crazy interception last season. He also put up an absurd 102 pressures. One. Hundred. Two. The only question: how will he look in 2021 coming off a torn ACL?

NFL Top 20

20. Alvin Kamara, running back, New Orleans Saints

Kamara fought through a variety of injuries last season, which limited his explosiveness and hurt his production. Now that he’s healthy, Kamara is back to doing jaw-dropping things on the football field. He might not only finish with 1,000 yards receiving and 1,000 rushing yards, but it could also come with single-season receiving records by a running back.

19. Khalil Mack, defensive end, Chicago Bears

A former NFL Defensive Player of the Year with the then-Oakland Raiders, Mack has not lost a step since the Bears acquired him in a blockbuster trade ahead of the 2018 season. Mack, 29, has put up 116 quarterback hits and 61.5 sacks in six previous NFL seasons. That sustained success has led to five consecutive Pro Bowl trips. 

18. Lamar Jackson quarterback, Baltimore Ravens

It’s been a disappointing 2020 season for Jackson, but a lot of this falls on the Ravens. The offensive line took a massive step back, no receivers can get open and Greg Roman’s offense is being called out by defensive players. Eventually things will get turned around and Jackson will return to his MVP-caliber form.

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17. Tyreek Hill, wide receiver, Kansas City Chiefs

Electric. That’s been the name of the game for this two-time All-Pro since the Chiefs made him a fifth-round pick back in 2016. Hill is averaging north of 1,150 total yards and nine touchdowns in four seasons. Despite some injury and off-field issues, he remains one of the game’s top play makers. That’s not going to change moving forward. 

16. George Kittle, tight end, San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco made him the highest-paid tight end in NFL history for a reason. George Kittle’s stats are certainly gaudy with 2,430 receiving yards over his past two seasons, but its ruthless pancake blocks like this that make him the best overall tight end since Gronk.

15. Davante Adams, wide receiver, Green Bay Packers

Adams is proof that the draft bust label can be applied too quickly. After two seasons, the former second-round pick seemingly couldn’t put it together. He put in the work and is now one of the best players at his position and he might have a career year in 2020.

14. Cameron Jordan, defensive end, New Orleans Saints

One of the most underrated defensive linemen in the NFL, all Jordan has done since New Orleans made him a first-round pick back in 2011 is show a level of consistency few others have reached. He’s put up 7.5 sacks or more in each of the past eight seasons while playing extremely well against the run. At this point, Jordan seems to have Hall of Fame credentials. 

13. Michael Thomas, wide receiver, New Orleans Saints

More history in the NFC South. Throughout the course of his young four-year career, Thomas has recorded 470 receptions for 5,512 yards and 32 touchdowns. He broke the single-season mark for receiving yards last season with 1,725. Thomas is also catching a ridiculous 78% of the passes thrown in his direction thus far in his career.

12. Travis Kelce, tight end, Kansas City Chiefs

NFL top 100 players
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

An argument can be made that Kelce is the game’s best tight end. The five-time Pro Bowler is averaging 92 receptions for nearly 1,200 yards over the past two seasons. He’s one of the primary reasons Patrick Mahomes has morphed into the NFL’s best quarterback after just two full seasons as a starter.

11. Chandler Jones, outside linebacker, Arizona Cardinals

Looking back to ahead of the 2016 season, it seemed to be a fantasy to believe Jones would turn into one of this generation’s top-100 players. He had performed well with New England in 2015, recording 12.5 sacks. Since then, the former first-round pick has been on an upward trajectory. This includes Jones tallying 98 quarterback hits and 60 sacks in four prior seasons with the Cardinals. Unfortunately, he’s out for the rest of the 2020 campaign due to a right biceps injury.

NFL Top 10

10. Jaire Alexander, cornerback, Green Bay Packers – Best cornerback in NFL

Meet the NFL’s new shutdown corner. Alexander is proving to be the top cover player in the NFL this season, shadowing No. 1 wide receivers and routinely taking them off the map. Keep in mind, he’s doing this with a defense that is struggling to generate much pressure this season. When the year comes to a close, Alexander will earn first-team All-Pro honors.

9. Christian McCaffrey, running back, Carolina Panthers – Best running back

Historical. The top running back in this top-100. The richest contract for a player at this position in the history of the NFL. However, any attempt to explain what McCaffrey has done in three seasons would fall short. Last season alone, McCaffrey led the NFL in touches (403), total yards (2,392) and total touchdowns (19). He’s also averaging north of 100 receptions per season throughout his young career.

8. Deshaun Watson, quarterback, Houston Texans

Lost in the shuffle of the performance we’ve seen from Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson over the past two years, Watson has proven to be a franchise quarterback himself. Since the Texans fired Bill O’Brien, Watson has been on fire with more of a voice in the offense. Across his last six starts, Watson has a 15/0 TD/INT ratio, 1,750 passing yards, completed 70.5% of his passes and has a 122.3 quarterback rating. With how well he is performing, Houston will have tons of interest in their coaching search.

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7. Julio Jones, wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons

It’s hard to imagine that Jones is in his 10th season in the NFL after Atlanta pulled off the blockbuster trade for the Alabama product during the 2011 NFL Draft. Despite some bumps and bruises throughout said career, Jones remains the best receiver in the game. As professional and consistent as they come, Jones is averaging 104 receptions for 1,565 yards since the start of the 2014 season. 

6. T.J. Watt, outside linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers – Best NFL edge rusher

Watt has vaulted himself into consideration for the best defensive player in the NFL. He continues to do eye-popping things on the football field, racking up 22 quarterbacks hurries and 46 pressures this season. He is playing at the levels we saw during his brother’s glory days and more greatness is coming.

5. DeAndre Hopkins, wide receiver, Arizona Cardinals

Here ends the run of wide receivers. Shockingly acquired from the Houston Texans during the spring, Hopkins has been a dominant force throughout his career. We’re talking about a young man who is averaging 105 receptions for nearly 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns since the start of the 2017 campaign.

4. Aaron Rodgers, quarterback, Green Bay Packers

Rodgers’ demise was greatly exaggerated. Through Week 11 of the 2020 season, he is back to playing at an MVP-caliber level with one phenomenal performance after another. He grades as PFF’s top-ranked quarterback this season, and it’s easy to see why with the 29-4 TD-INT ratio and 115.8 quarterback rating. Keep in mind, he’s doing this without a No. 2 receiver.

3. Aaron Donald, defensive tackle, Los Angeles Rams – Best defensive player

Plenty questioned Donald coming out of college because of his height at 6-foot-1. For those 12 teams that passed on him in the 2014 NFL Draft, it’s a day that will live in infamy. Donald is the best defensive player in the NFL and with 81 career sacks already, he could one day retire as one of the NFL’s all-time greats on the defensive line.

2. Russell Wilson, quarterback, Seattle Seahawks

Wilson is living the dream life as an NFL star with his wife Ciara. The former third-round draft pick still hears jokes about his height (5-foot-11). However, Wilson can just laugh as he continues to dominate his peers with a Super Bowl ring on his finger, incredible stats and a future bust in Canton, Ohio.

1. Patrick Mahomes, quarterback Kansas City Chiefs – Highest paid NFL player

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes during NFL game against the Broncos
Dec 15, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) looks to pass during the second half against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a reason the Chiefs signed Mahomes to a $500 million contract this offseason. The reigning Super Bowl LIV MVP makes throws that seem humanly impossible and defy physics. When his career is over, we could be talking about Mahomes as the best player in NFL history.



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