Welcome to the final section. Here is the finale to Splash’s Top 100 (2020): Players 10-1.
For 20-11, click here. To see 30-21, click here. For 40-31, click here. For 50-41, click here. To see 60-51, click here. To see 70-61, click here. For 80-71, click here. To see 90-81, click here. To see 100-91 click here. For the honorable mentions, click here.
No. 10: Ryan Ramczyk, Offensive Tackle, New Orleans Saints:
After two strong seasons, Ramczyk finally earned the accolades he had deserved. He was named to the All-Pro team, but he somehow did not make the Pro Bowl. Pro Football Focus named him the best run blocker in the NFL for the second-straight year, and he had an overall grade of 90.8. He played 1,058 snaps, allowing one sack. Ramczyk is the best tackle in the NFL, and his consistency in pass protection and run blocking is second to none. Only 26, he should continue to rack up the awards and accolades as the right tackle for New Orleans.
No. 9: Jamal Adams, Safety, Seattle Seahawks:
Seattle traded for the disgruntled superstar after he had spent three years with the Jets. Adams made two Pro Bowls in East Rutherford, earning an All-Pro nod in 2019. He is one of the most versatile players in the NFL, seemingly able to do everything at a high level. Adams has been strong in coverage, allowing a passer rating of 75 in 2018 and 2019, all without massive interception numbers. He cut down on his missed tackles in 2019, and he was one of the most effective blitzers in the NFL. Adams may not be the best at any one skill, but he is elite at nearly every task a modern safety needs to do.
No. 8: Christian McCaffrey, Running Back, Carolina Panthers:
McCaffrey is good enough of a pass-catcher out of the backfield that he could probably operate as a starting-caliber wide receiver if he was asked. Nonetheless, McCaffrey is a talented runner both between the tackles and outside the tackles. He has tallied over 200 first downs over the last two years, 110 as a runner and 99 as a receiver. In 2019, McCaffrey became just the third player to record 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season. He led the NFL in touches, scrimmage yards, and scrimmage touchdowns in 2019, and he should challenge those numbers in 2020.
No. 7: Travis Kelce, Tight End, Kansas City Chiefs:
Kelce’s reign of dominance is one of the strongest in NFL history. Kelce has made five straight Pro Bowls, earning two All-Pro nods. He has four 1,000 yard seasons and six in a row with at least 800. He does not have the blocking chops of the other tight end in the top 10, but he is one of the most gifted pass-catching tight ends in NFL history. Kelce dominates in the playoffs as well, averaging 70 yards per contest over his first nine games. When all is said and done, Kelce will likely be posing for a bust in Canton, retiring as a Mount Rushmore tight end.
No. 6: Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback, New England Patriots:
Gilmore has been sensational over the last two seasons. He earned his second and third Pro Bowl selections, and he was an All-Pro in both seasons. In 2019, he led the NFL in interceptions and pass deflections. After posting a strong 73.9 passer rating allowed in 2018, Gilmore ascended to another level with a ridiculous 44.1 passer rating allowed in 2019. Gilmore had four different weeks with multiple pass deflections, grabbing an interception in all four. In perhaps the best cornerback performance of the year, Gilmore intercepted Daniel Jones and knocked five passes to the turf. Gilmore is elite. He should be an All-Pro again in 2020.
No. 5: Bobby Wagner, Linebacker, Seattle Seahawks:
The future Hall of Famer has six years with five All-Pro nods and six Pro Bowls. Wagner has been a tackling machine with the Seahawks, totaling over 1,000 tackles in eight seasons. Tackles can be a misleading stat to some degree, but Wagner has led the NFL in tackles twice. He slipped in coverage in 2019, allowing a pair of touchdowns, but he was his usual self in every other regard. 2020 will be Wagner’s age-30 season, and he will likely contend for more Pro Bowls and All-Pro spots. The depth of great linebackers grows each season, but Wagner will stay on top in 2020.
No. 4: Michael Thomas, Wide Receiver, New Orleans Saints:
Thomas may not be the athletic freak that other star pass-catchers are, but Thomas thrives on getting open and hauling in passes like a vacuum. Thomas has 470 catches, 5,500 yards, and 32 touchdowns in four seasons. In 2019, Thomas had an NFL-record 149 catches and enough yards (1,725) to break into the top 10 for a single season. Thomas is historically efficient at translating targets into catches, posting catch percentages above 80 in 2018 and 2019. He has the luxury of Drew Brees to throw him accurate balls, but Thomas has vice-like hands and separates well. He has a reputation of only producing with slants. However, Thomas is one of the most well-rounded receivers of the last 20 years.
No. 3: George Kittle, Tight End, San Francisco 49ers:
While Kittle and Kelce are nearly indistinguishable as receivers, Kittle gets the higher spot because of his terrific blocking. He is the key cog to the Kyle Shanahan offense, giving a boon to the rushing game and the passing game. Kittle is a yards-after-catch maniac, recording 1,472 over the last two seasons. He led the NFL with 870 in 2018 and finished third to McCaffrey and Austin Ekeler in 2019. The superstar tight end will turn 27 in October, and he should be clobbering defenses for the next half-decade. He made his second Pro Bowl and the first All-Pro team in 2019.
No. 2: Aaron Donald, Interior Defensive Line, Los Angeles Rams:
In just six seasons with the Rams, Donald is already ranked as the 10th most-likely Hall of Fame defensive tackle by Pro-Football-Reference’s Hall of Fame monitor. Donald led the NFL in sacks in 2018, posting 20.5, He has at least 15 tackles for loss in all six seasons, leading the league in 2018 and 2019. He has posted five of the top 100 tackles for loss seasons. Donald’s five All-Pro selections in six seasons equals him with Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson, Jerry Rice, Reggie White, and future Hall of Famer Patrick Willis. Only Lawrence Taylor was six-for-six. Donald is the best defensive player in football, and he should continue to dominate like few in NFL history have.
No. 1: Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs:
In just 31 starts, Mahomes has laid waste to the NFL as few have. Before turning 25, Mahomes will have an MVP, a Super Bowl MVP, two Pro Bowl selections, and a contract that will run until 2031. Mahomes has already hit the 50-touchdown and 5,000-yard plateaus, and he should flirt with those numbers for the next 15 years. He might be the most talented quarterback in NFL history, and he has likely only unlocked a section of his true potential. He has the benefit of fantastic surrounding pieces and a Hall of Fame head coach, but Mahomes has been the difference between a good regular season team and a budding dynasty. Mahomes will likely win many MVPs and retire as the all-time leader in most passing stats.
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