It’s time to continue identifying the 100 best players in football. Nos. 100 through 91 were discussed in the previous installment, and the series started with 21 players who will be in the 2022 version of this list.
No.90: Brian Burns, EDGE, Carolina Panthers
Brian Burns could easily be described as a one-trick pony. While accurate, his “one trick” (speed rushing) is undeniably elite. It is on par with the best moves around the league at any position. Beyond Burns’ ability as a speed rusher, he leaves much to be desired. He is an average to a below-average run defender, and he often fails to convert speed to power. He can be stopped by physical offensive tackles, but when he gets a step, he is as good as anyone in the NFL at finishing the play. As soon as Burns solidifies the rest of his game, he will be a superstar, All-Pro-caliber edge defender.
No.89: Kenny Golladay, Wide Receiver, New York Giants
A new addition to the Giants, Kenny Golladay had an injury-plagued season in 2020. In his last healthy season, he led the NFL with 11 receiving touchdowns and solidified himself as a premier contested-catch threat. In 2020, Golladay had one game that perhaps established him as the premier contested-catch receiver in the NFL. Against the Falcons, Matthew Stafford targeted Golladay six times. On all six targets, Golladay was tightly covered. He secured all six targets, including a game-winning touchdown. What Golladay lacks in separation ability, he more than makes up for with his ability to win at the catch point. There are few in the league that compare to Golladay as a ball-winner.
No.88: Von Miller, EDGE, Denver Broncos
Von Miller missed the entirety of the 2020 season, and even his play in 2019 was not quite prime Miller. He is still a top-100 player, but it seems that his top-ten days are behind him. He is one of the better run-defending edges in the NFL, and he should still be a productive low-end No.1 pass rusher. Coupled with a certain teammate who will appear later in the Top 100, Miller should have a high floor in 2021. Even if he is no longer the same elite player, Miller is still a star, and he is likely to be a key cog in Denver’s defense for the next few seasons.
No.87: Marshon Lattimore, Cornerback, New Orleans Saints
Marshon Lattimore is one of the most volatile players in the NFL. When he is lined up against the best of the best receivers in the NFL, he often flashes his elite talent. Lattimore’s greatest claim to fame is his generally lock-down coverage against fellow Top 100 player Mike Evans. However, when Lattimore lapses, it can be ugly. Moving into 2021 and beyond, Lattimore will need to reduce the number of ugly plays and increase the number of elite plays, but he has the pedigree and the reputation to make that a safe bet.
No.86: Laremy Tunsil, Offensive Tackle, Houston Texans
Through two months, Laremy Tunsil was the best tackle in the NFL, mainly due to his work as a pass protector. In the last two months, he faded, but he gets some semblance of a pass as he was playing for a dysfunctional Texans squad. Even if Tunsil has a down 2021 season, it would be hard to imagine him not being considered an elite tackle just based on the lack of talent around him. While one may hope that Tunsil gives his heart and soul to the Texans in 2021, it would be easy to excuse a lackluster performance.
No.85: Chase Young, EDGE, Washington Football Team
The reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year had an excellent campaign for the playoff-bound Football Team. From Week 1, Chase Young was a top-tier pass rusher and run defender. He missed some time early in the season with an injury, but by the time he returned, he settled into a tremendous groove down the stretch. In the final seven games of the season, including Washington’s playoff game, Young graded no worse than a 68.1 and had multiple pressures in each game. The future is bright for Young and expect him to be a mainstay in the Top 100 for the remainder of the decade.
No.84: Brandon Graham, EDGE, Philadelphia Eagles
Even coming into Year 11, Brandon Graham had yet another solid season for the Eagles. He recorded 50 pressures for the seventh consecutive season, registering 56 on 429 pass-rush snaps. He earned his highest PFF pass-rush grade since 2017. Graham had a particularly dominant beginning to the season as he had at least four pressures in five straight games from Week 2 to Week 6. He twice recorded seven pressures in a game, and he was rewarded with his first Pro Bowl nod. Graham has never had an elite season based on sack production alone, but he is as consistent as edge rushers come at producing pressure.
No.83: Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, Tennessee Titans
Quarterbacks are notoriously difficult to rank in multi-position rankings such as these. One must gauge Ryan Tannehill in a vacuum as if he did not have a strong infrastructure around him. His stats may warrant a higher ranking, but when quarterback value is removed from the equation (this is a ranking of the best players, not the most valuable players), Tannehill does suffer. He is one of the underrated dual-threat quarterbacks in the NFL, but he lands at No.83 after his second consecutive fabulous season as a passer. Tannehill fired a career-best 33 touchdowns to go along with his lowest interception rate (1.5%).
No.82: Bradley Chubb, EDGE, Denver Broncos
Bradley Chubb did not match his 12-sack rookie season, but he did post a higher pressure rate and high pass-rush grade. Similar to Burns, he is not the most well-rounded edge as he lacks as a run defender (relative to other edges in the Top 100), but he has a solid tool belt of moves. Chubb generated 10 pressures in two different games in 2020, posting a ridiculous 11 against the Dolphins in Week 11. Chubb is one of the most physically imposing edge defenders in the NFL. He is a revelation in the run game away from being one of the five best edge defenders in the NFL.
No.81: Mark Andrews, Tight End, Baltimore Ravens
Mark Andrews took a step back in production in 2020. Much of the dip came from the offense as a whole rather than Andrews himself. Andrews had drop issues against the Chiefs and in the playoffs against the Bills. However, he was generally reliable outside of those two games. He showed improvement as a run blocker (and pass blocker) which compensated for part of his decline as a receiver. Andrews missed two games in Pittsburgh and Dallas which likely would have made up for his lost production otherwise. He is TE4 entering 2021, but the gap between the top three has grown considerably.
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