They switched things up on his this year by showing the first two episodes of the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2017 back-to-back on the first night. Which, honestly, was a dick move since it just put me that further behind.
Let’s do this list thing.
90. Malcolm Jenkins, Safety, Philadelphia Eagles
Last year: Not Ranked
2016: 69 tackles, one fumble recovery, three interceptions, two defensive touchdowns
I’m not sure why Jenkins didn’t make the list last year. Truthfully, he should have been a staple since they started the NFL’s Top 100. This was actually a down year for Jenkins, tackle-wise. Last year he had 104 for God’s sake. This is a guy that has averaged a pick six a season since he came into the league in 2009. His peers should pay more attention.
89. Thomas Davis, LB, Carolina Panthers
Last year: No. 54
2016: 106 tackles, 2.5 sacks, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, one defensive touchdown, four passes defended, three interceptions
Davis has been so good for so long, it’s hard to understand why he dropped 35 spots in this year’s rankings. There was no real, significant stat difference in his performance last season. It probably had more to do with Carolina having such a shitty season. Still, Davis deserves this recognition as he’s about to begin his 13th year in the league. Unfortunately for the Panthers, it might be his last.
88. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Last year: No. 72
2016: 94 catches, 1,128 yards, seven touchdowns
Baldwin drops 16 spots on the list simply because he didn’t produce the monster touchdown total he did a year ago. In 2015, Baldwin caught 14 TDs to lead the league. The Seahawks have outperformed pretty much everybody in targeting and developing undrafted free agents. Baldwin wasn’t worth a draft pick in 2011, but is a Pro Bowler now and one of the best wideouts in the league.
87. Travis Frederick, Center, Dallas Cowboys
Last year: Not Ranked
How the hell was Frederick not on the list last season? He’s arguably the best center in the league and has been for the last two seasons.
86. Jurrell Casey, DT, Tennessee Titans
Last year: Not Ranked
2016: 44 tackles, five sacks, five passes defended
Casey is one of those quality players that just gets hidden for years on a shitty team. As good as Casey was last season for the Titans in their unsuccessful playoff push, he’s been doing that since Tennessee Drafted him out of USC back in 2011. If anything, 2016 was a down year for Casey.
85. Chandler Jones, LB, Arizona Cardinals
Last year: No. 48
2016: 49 tackles, 11 sacks, two fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles, three passes defended
When Jones got traded from the New England Patriots to the Cardinals last offseason, he thanked the Pats for not trading him to a shitty team. Then, predictably, the Cards became a shitty team. Jones didn’t become less of as player in spite of it, only dropping on this list because his team was down. He most certainly was not.
84. Mike Daniels, DT, Green Bay Packers
Last year: No. 95
2016: 33 tackles, four sacks, one fumble recovery, one pass defense
I’m not sure why this list is so enamored with Daniels. He’s a good player, but I’m not sure how he keeps landing on the Top 100 list and, this year, climbing up 11 spots.
83. Calais Campbell, DT, Jacksonville Jaguars
Last year: No. 71
2016: 53 tackles, eight sacks, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, one defensive touchdown, six passes defended, one interception
Here’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about with Daniels. He and Campbell play the same position on a 3-4 defense, but Campbell is significantly better, not only on the stat sheet, but as a gameday disruptor. Not only does he deserve to be on this list, he’s probably too low.
82. Clay Matthews, LB, Green Bay Packers
Last year: No. 57
2016: 24 tackles, five sacks, one forced fumble, three passes defended
Matthews has been a fixture on this list since its inception for good reason. His production did dip some last year, which warrants the fall. He missed four games with injuries and only officially started nine. He’s probably crossed the career Rubicon, so enjoy him while you can Packers fans.
81. Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Last year: No. 81
2016: 67.1 completion percentage, 3,502 yards, 15 touchdowns, eight interceptions, 48 rushes, 134 yards, five touchdowns
I feel good for Smith, who was heading for real draft bust territory before the San Francisco 49ers hired Jim Harbaugh. Now he’s as solid an NFL starter as a team could hope for and with luck and the right supporting cast, he’s as likely to hoist a Lombardi Trophy as anyone in the league in 2017-18.
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