The Runner Sports

NFL Network Reveals Players 70-61 On Top 100

Another 10 players have been revealed.

Once again, NFL Network is in the midst of its annual tradition of revealing the Top 100 Players in the NFL. An offseason staple, this program take a list of players (as voted on by their peers) and arranges them into a list of the 100 best. The results are then displayed on NFL Network, beginning a cycle of criticism. It’s a fun process to watch.

The Top 100 has been running for weeks, revealing high profile players like Julian Edelman, Everson Griffen, and Alex Smith. Numbers 70-61 joined the fray on Monday, starting with a divisive quarterback.

#70 – Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins QB

Is Kirk Cousins a franchise quarterback? Honestly, no one knows at this point, but Cousins’ fellow players at least have some form of respect for the extremely wealthy quarterback. In two full seasons as Washington’s starter, Cousins has eclipsed the 4,000-yard passing mark twice and has compiled a completion percentage in the high 60’s. While he still makes frustrating mistakes and was more inconsistent in 2016, Cousins has shown the ability as both a passer and a leader.

#69 – Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins RB

Drafted as a backup with injury concerns, Jay Ajayi went from being Lamar Miller’s rarely-used backup to the fourth-leading rusher in the NFL. The former Boise State Bronco started slowly with fewer than 50 rushing yards in the first five weeks of the season, but he exploded with back-to-back 200-yard performances against Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Ajayi then went on to have a maddeningly inconsistent season but still managed more than 1,200 rushing yards. He also showed that health wasn’t much of a concern. Ajayi should be a featured back for years to come.

#68 – Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals DT

A true game wrecker on Cincinnati’s line, Geno Atkins has been harassing quarterbacks and offensive linemen since 2010. The big defensive tackle has only failed to play in all 16 games once during his career but still managed six sacks in that injury-shortened season. In fact, Atkins has been near prolific at rushing the quarterback, constantly beating double teams and tallying 52 total takedowns in his career. His presence opens up pass rushing lanes for Carlos Dunlap, Michael Johnson, and the Bengals’ linebacker corps. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times the Bengals switch coordinators, Atkins always produces.

#67 – Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers TE

After years of being underutilized in Chicago, tight end Greg Olsen has become of the best receiving threats in the NFL. The owner of three straight 1,000-yard seasons, Olsen has served as a favorite target for both Cam Newton and backup Derek Anderson. His touchdown total may have dipped in 2016 (three total scores), but Olsen still set a career high with a 78-yard score against San Francisco. He may be 32 years old, but the Panthers’ tight end shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.

#66 – Xavier Rhodes, Minnesota Vikings CB

Known as “Rhodes Closed” in Skol Country, Xavier Rhodes has quietly become one of the more consistent cornerbacks in the NFL, shutting down number one receivers like Odell Beckham Jr. and Kelvin Benjamin. Rhodes is a big presence on the outside that doesn’t fear one-on-one matchups, which allows defensive coordinator George Edwards to mix up his defenses. In 2016, Rhodes turned heads with constant big plays and five interceptions, including his 100-yard pick-six against Arizona. More importantly, the corner cut down on the pass interference penalties that plagued his early career.

#65 – Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins TE

One of the most talented tight ends in the game, Jordan Reed has been a dangerous weapon for Washington since being drafted out of Florida in 2013. A quarterback-turned-tight end in college, Reed has been a proven threat in the red zone, catching 20 touchdowns in four seasons. These totals would be better if not for the injuries. Reed has failed to play a full season during his entire career, which likely caused his descent to the back half of the Top 100.

#64 – Casey Hayward, San Diego Chargers CB

A longtime Packers defender, corner Casey Hayward is one of the least-known players around. It doesn’t matter that Hayward led the NFL in interceptions (seven) and was named to the Pro Bowl. Many football fans just don’t know who he is. That’s a shame because Hayward is a very talented defender capable of taking on top receivers. Against DeAndre Hopkins and the Texans, Hayward allowed five receptions for 70 yards, but he kept Nuk out of the end zone and even intercepted Brock Osweiler once.

#63 – Chris Harris, Denver Broncos CB

A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Chris Harris Jr. is a quieter member of the Broncos’ secondary than Aquib Talib, but he is just as proficient at stopping receivers. In 2016, Harris intercepted two passes, forced a fumble, and tallied 63 total tackles. He was also named to the PFF All-Pro Team for 2016. According to Pro Football Focus, Harris only gave up 8.9 yards-per-reception, good for the best mark in the NFL. He also led the league in defensive stops with 28 and played the most snaps of any Broncos defenders (1,094). Harris is seemingly getting better every season, even though he dropped 11 spots from #52.

#62 – Cameron Wake, Miami Dolphins DE

Coming off an Achilles tear in 2015, it seemed unlikely that the 35-year-old Cameron Wake would truly return to his Pro Bowl form. However, 2016 was an entirely different matter as the Dolphins’ pass-rushing specialist played in all 16 games, tallying 29 tackles and 11.5 sacks. Even more impressive was the fact that Wake forced five fumbles and intercepted one pass. That’s impressive production for a healthy player, let alone one recovering from a major injury.

#61 – TY Hilton, Indianapolis Colts WR

Known as “The Ghost”, Hilton has finally landed on the list after terrorizing cornerbacks for the past five seasons. The talented Colts receiver has put together four straight 1,000-yard seasons, despite switching between injured quarterbacks. In fact, 2016 was a career year for Hilton as he caught 91 passes for 1,448 yards and six touchdowns, all while quarterback Andrew Luck was dealing with shoulder injuries. In a testament to his big-play ability, every season Hilton has caught a touchdown pass of at least 60 yards, one of which went for 87. He may not be a traditional number one receiver, but Hilton has been the most consistent weapon since Reggie Wayne retired.

The list of Top 100 players is aired every Monday on NFL Network. Who will be the top player? Spoiler alert: it’s gonna be Brady.

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John Newby

A Minnesota Vikings fan from Oregon who writes about the Houston Texans and discusses nerdy topics.
Quite fond of my wife, video games, and Blue Heelers.
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