Every off-season, the NFL Network allegedly polls every player in the NFL, asking them to list their top 100 players from that season. The NFL’s Top 100 Players series runs for a few weeks, releasing nine players at a time. It’s a really fun concept in theory, but in practice, it’s a little flawed.
The NFL’s Top 100 Players List Is a Joke
I played 3 games… this list is a joke. https://t.co/KnKDX1p816
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) June 6, 2017
First of all, the concept of this list is flawed. How do you make a list of the top 100 players when there are so many different positions with different responsibilities? Do you go off of pure talent? Statistics? Team success? The best offensive lineman in the league doesn’t have a flashy stat-line, yet they might make the biggest difference. There are far too many variables to objectively make an accurate list.
Asking the players is a solid idea. After all, the people on the field know far more about the game than the ones in the stands. However, there are other variables that have to be considered. Aren’t players just going to vote for their teammates? What about friends on other teams? How many players are actually going to vote for the top 100 players in the NFL?
Furthermore, there are only sixteen games in a season. When you consider that these players face their division rivals twice a season, they only really play against 13 teams. So they face off against 13 teams, and they know their own roster pretty well, but what about the other 18 teams? That’s more than half of the teams in the NFL. Throw in the fact that most players aren’t even asked, and this formula is hardly effective. And it shows.
As of writing this, the top 20 of this year’s list has yet to be released. However, one name is conspicuous by it’s absence, and that’s Dallas Cowboys rookie, Dak Prescott. The reigning offensive rookie of the year deserves to be on the NFL’s top 100 players list, but not the top 20. Regardless of where he settles in the top 100, he’s already ahead of Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, Matt Stafford, Cam Newton, Marcus Mariota, Andrew Luck, Jameis Winston, Kirk Cousins, and Philip Rivers. Two of those quarterbacks have won Super Bowls. Cam Newton is a former league MVP.
Dak Prescott had a very good rookie year, but has he done enough to be ahead of these stars? He played behind arguably the NFL’s best offensive line, and had the NFL’s leading rusher in Ezekiel Elliott. Andrew Luck had 573 more yards and eight more touchdowns than Prescott, and he did so with T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle as his leading receivers. In what world is Dak Prescott better than Andrew Luck?
If he’s ahead of Luck because the Cowboys had a better season than the Indianapolis Colts, then shouldn’t the top 53 just be New England Patriots? After all, which team was better than the Super Bowl champions?
Chris Harris Jr. is one of the NFL’s best corners. According to Pro Football Focus, Harris was the NFL’s best corner in 2017. PFF gave Harris a grade of 92.7 last season. How far did this outstanding play get him on the list? To only the 63rd spot on the list. Of the names that have been revealed so far, five corners, including Janoris Jenkins, Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, and Richard Sherman, have been listed ahead of him. How in the world is a rookie, Marcus Peters, 31 spots better than arguably the best corner in football? Aqib Talib is Harris’ teammate, and number two on the depth chart, but he’s 26 spots ahead?
Defensive Rookie of the Huh?
Los Angeles Chargers rookie defensive end, Joey Bosa, had a fantastic rookie year. Despite missing the first quarter of the season, the Ohio State alum still managed to register 10.5 sacks in 12 games on his way to the defensive rookie of the year award. And where did this get him ranked? Exactly 100.
If Dak Prescott is better than all of the quarterbacks mentioned above, then why in the world is Joey Bosa behind Everson Griffen, Justin Houston, Michael Bennett, Jadeveon Clowney, or J.J. Watt, all of whom had fewer sacks in 2017? You can’t have Prescott above all of those established starters, and then not do the same with Bosa.
The list is a great idea in theory, and as long as the ratings stay good, there’s a very good chance that the NFL Network will keep making them. However, it’s an absolute sham. There’s no formula or consistency, and the rankings are laughably bad. Tune in to NFL Network Monday night at 9pm ET to see where the best player on your team lands.