Every offseason since 2011, football fans all over the world are given a chance to debate who the best players in football really are: the Top 100 list as voted on by the league’s players certainly has been the basis for a lot of discussions over the years, and the 2020 version will not be any different after the final group of players was revealed on Wednesday.
Just one of the 100 players to find their names on the list is a current member of the New England Patriots: cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who checked in at number nine as the highest ranked defensive back.
“He takes a lot of pride in not giving up anything, whether it’s a walkthrough, whether it’s practice, and obviously in the game,” said Patriots teammate Matthew Slater during the segment focusing on Gilmore. “It’s been fun seeing him become the best corner in football.”
Gilmore arrived in New England as an unrestricted free agent in 2017 and since then has developed into the league’s premier cornerback. A true shutdown corner and integral part of the Patriots’ defensive operation, the 29-year-old has been voted to the first All-Pro team two years in a row and last season was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. Seeing him earn a top-10 spot on the list after ranking 22nd last year is therefore no surprise.
Other players recognized this as well.
“His tape speaks for itself, his numbers speak for themself. He’s a guy that I’m watching,” said Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White, himself making the list at No. 47, about Gilmore. “When they were playing in Cincinnati, he made a pick-six playing Cover 0 and playing outside leverage. Do you know how hard that is? I think he’s probably the only guy doing that.”
“He erased a lot of guys out there, he was out there competing on a high level. He made so many plays, man,” added Darius Slay of the Philadelphia Eagles.
While Gilmore made the list as one of the top players in football today, no other Patriot was able to make the cut. Wide receiver Julian Edelman just missed it by getting the 101st most votes. Quarterback Tom Brady, meanwhile, was voted the 14th best player in the league, but left New England to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier this offseason. The future Hall of Famer is the only player to earn the top spot more than once, being voted number one in 2011, 2017 and 2018.