“This is it folks, this is what’s all about, one game. There is no tomorrow, this is for the whole megillah, for the whole ball of wax, for the whole kit and caboodle, for the whole enchilada, the whole shootin match, this is for all the marbles!”
A quote by John Candy, portraying Cliff Murdoch. Announcer for the Chicago Cubs during the season in which young phenom, Henry Rowengartner, graced the team with his electric arm and championship guts, in the popular movie Rookie of the Year.
All the marbles is precisely what it’s come down to for NFL network’s ‘Top 100 Players List’. As we approach the final unveiling there’s a lot of chatter that comes along with these lists. Fans think they can do it better than the players and some players think they can do better than what their peers thought.
I’m going to rank the final 10 players in the order I believe they should go. This is not a prediction of what is about to come, but a write-up of the way these ten players stand out amongst one another, in my eyes:
10. Carson Wentz – QB – Philadelphia Eagles
An MVP season was dramatically cut short when Wentz went diving into the endzone, only to be met with two helmets sandwiching his knee. It was the hit heard around the league and ended the quarterback’s chances at MVP, dead in its tracks. Fast forward to the present and Wentz looks ready and prepared. Eager to lead the Eagles with the target on their back. He showed a lot of promise, but to rank him above the other nine players would be an insult to them. He needs to show me consistent MVP caliber seasons to move up. *I think he’s ranked way too high as we speak, but I’m just a fan disagreeing with the players.
9. Julio Jones – WR – Atlanta Falcons
The quiet man who loves to fish off the field, is a wrecking ball on the field. Year after year, Julio puts up eye popping stats, with jaw dropping highlights. Watching Julio is as close as it gets to watching Calvin Johnson. The lack of touchdowns seem to be a big hit on Jones. However, the four straight years of 1,400+ receiving yards easily proves he’s a premier talent in the league.
8. Todd Gurley – RB – Los Angeles Rams
The 2017 fantasy football MVP raced past everyone, helping turn around the Los Angeles Rams. Gurley did everything it took to help his team win. He ran the ball inside and outside the tackles. He caught 74% of the balls thrown in his direction. He turned out over 2,000 total yards and single-handedly won the championship for anyone who was smart enough to have him.
7. Drew Brees – QB – New Orleans Saints
Brees reminds me of that uncle that was investing in silver in the 90’s. Watching him put everything he had into it and seeing very few rewards. Then all of a sudden, silver skyrockets and he cashes in. Brees put everything he had into the Saints. He was met every year with mediocre teammates. Now he’s finally cashing in with the slew of gifted, young players around him. Brees took a step back, to go three steps forward last year. He showed he didn’t have to be a throwing machine, but can call a smart game with a balanced offense.
6. Von Miller – LB – Denver Broncos
Miller doesn’t even need Old Spice to stay fresh. He floats by the offensive lineman regularly. Miller added another season with double-digit sacks in 2017, making that six of his seven season with 10 or more sacks. Even on a Broncos team that struggled mightily. Miller was more energetic on every play, than the last. I can’t wait to see what this defense looks like with Chubb and Miller exploding towards the quarterback.
5. Le’Veon Bell – RB – Pittsburgh Steelers
He’s not a top 5 rapper yet, but he’s on his way. Bell has however earned the rights to call himself a top 5 player in the league. He does it all. The entire offense runs through him a majority of the time. Even when the ball is going into the others star’s hands on that team, Bell is still playing a quintessential role in the offense with his outstanding blocking ability. It’s unfortunate what he has to go through every offseason, but with his boxing and rapping on the side, Bell seems like he’ll be ready to roll come Week 1, if no agreement is reached prior to.
4. Antonio Brown – WR – Pittsburgh Steelers
Though the offense might not run through Brown a majority of the time like Bell, when Brown does get the ball it’s the most entertaining thing to watch. His obsession with perfection is a beautiful sight. He runs the most precise routes, handles himself against the best defenders and celebrates with the cleverest of them. The most memorable moment for Brown was the way he handled A.J. Bouye in the divisional loss to the Jaguars. Bouye hadn’t allowed a touchdown all season and Brown made two spectacular catches in the endzone to end that streak.
3. Aaron Donald – DL – Los Angeles Rams
Normally the spot of best defensive player in the league was held for J.J. Watt. Then it was Von Miller’s title, only to be taken over with the emergence of Donald over the past few seasons. Donald was a holdout last year and came back like he never missed a beat. 11 sacks in 2017 proved how much of a wrecking ball Donald was from the interior. Now with the addition of Suh on the line and Talib and Peters in the secondary, this defense looks like one of the best the NFL has ever seen, on paper.
2. Aaron Rodgers – QB – Green Bay Packers
The hardest position to play in all sports is quarterback in the NFL. You’re under the most scrutiny and have to carry an entire city on your back. That’s why the top two spots in the NFL top 100 should belong to quarterbacks. Between Rodgers and Brady, I decided that Rodgers should be second. He’s an amazing talent who can make anything happen at any time. He is more lethal outside of the pocket, but as calm as can be when inside of it. Rodgers suffered a heartbreaking injury against the Vikings last year, but that doesn’t minimize the impact Rodgers has on his team and the entirety of the league.
1. Tom Brady – QB – New England Patriots
Tom Brady vs Father Time is the best match I’ve seen since Tyson faced Holyfield. I know Father Time will eventually win, but Brady looks like he sold his soul to the devil just to outlast everyone, including yes, Father Time. Brady logged another MVP season, making that his third regular season MVP award. Brady once again reached the Super Bowl and had one of his best games of his career in that game. Brady will once again return to the gridiron and try to audible a play that beats Father Time, and in doing so, stay atop the NFL’s top 100 list.