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Giving the NFL Network Top-100 list a much needed renovation

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Roast away.

NFL: Super Bowl LII-Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll spare you the monologue detailing how hilariously egregious the “voted on by the players” NFL Network NFL Top-100 is. We are all aware. So let’s just get right to it.

The ranking criteria:

  1. The player must play football in the NFL.
  2. The player must be very good at football.

100-76 Notables:

100. Josh Gordon — Playing in the anemic, Deshone Kizer-led Browns offense, Gordon averaged 18.1 yards per catch over five games in 2017. Gordon — who turned 27 in April - is still an absolutely incredible athlete in his prime, and showed that there is no reason to believe that he can’t still perform at the impressive level that he did in 2013, when he was among the most dynamic pass catchers in football.

99. J.J. Watt — Sure, two seasons of injuries have knocked Watt off of most people’s lists. The argument could easily have been made that he was the best player in football prior to those setbacks, and he was still a force to be reckoned with in the five games he played in 2017, so he gets the benefit of the doubt.

89. Akiem Hicks — The former Patriot has dominated since joining the Bears in 2016, and continues to be slept on by the national media.

84. Glover Quin — He’s very, very good, and probably deserves to be ranked even higher on this list.

76. Adam Thielen — Also very, very good, but the brakes need to be pumped on him a bit.

75-51 Notables:

63. Leonard WilliamsPatriots fans get a solid dose of this versatile, powerful force on the interior each season.

57. Brandon Graham — He’s never racked up huge sack totals, but Graham is a terror to deal with from snap to snap. Shaq Mason can attest.

52. Deion Jones — If you’re starting an NFL franchise and can pick one off-ball linebacker to build your defense around for the future, Jones might be the guy. His sideline-to-sideline speed is unrivaled at the position, and he won’t turn 24 until the first week of November.

50-26 Notables:

32. David Bakhtiari — This 2013 fourth round pick out of Colorado has been the NFL’s best left tackle over the past two seasons — and that’s even when setting Tyron Smith and Trent Williams’ injuries aside.

30. Darius Slay — Above guys like A.J. Bouye, Xavier Rhodes, Marshon Lattimore, and Marcus Peters? Yes. He’s that good.

25-1 Notables:

14. Rob Gronkowski — Some consider this slanderous, but he’s ranked as the best player at his position, and only four non-QB offensive players are ranked ahead of him — all of whom have remained healthier throughout their careers. At this point in the list, we’re splitting hairs.

12. Cam Jordan — If you haven’t boarded the Cam Jordan hype train yet, there aren’t many seats left. The 2011 first-rounder out of Cal was PFF’s highest graded edge defender last season, and he has graded in the 90s each of the past three years.

#1: Aaron Rodgers

Sorry gang, he isn’t the most accomplished yet, but the man is the best football player in the game right now.


Players on this list who were left off the NFL Network top-100:

The best of the rest, is no particular order:

Kam Chancellor, Stephon Gilmore, Aqib Talib, Lavonte David, Eric Kendricks, Reuben Foster, Marcel Dareus, Stephon Tuitt, Kenny Clark, Ryan Kerrigan, Cam Wake, Jimmy Smith, Aqib Talib, Desmond Trufant, Josh Norman, Jabaal Sheard.

Alright. Let me have it.

Follow Brian Phillips on Twitter — @BPhillips_SB