#100: Philip Rivers, Quarterback, Los Angeles Chargers:
Rivers is a statistical metronome. On a yearly basis, he is consistently near the top of the league in passing yards and passing touchdowns, and his consistency earns him the final spot on the list. Rivers is not an injury risk, and he has been a reliable starter for the Chargers since 2006. Rivers would be higher, but he has developed a knack for game-losing errors which can erase some of his quality performances.
#99: Phillip Lindsay, Running back, Denver Broncos:
The undrafted rookie free agent out of Colorado burst onto the scene in 2018. Until a season-ending injury cost him Week 17, Lindsay had established himself as a workhorse running back who did not have the benefit of an upper echelon offensive line nor consistent weapons to draw attention away from him (after the Emmanuel Sanders injury). Lindsay was highly productive as a runner and receiver, adding multiple dimensions to a rather flat Denver offense. A healthy Lindsay is critical to the Broncos having success in 2019.
#98: C.J. Mosley, Linebacker, New York Jets:
The former Raven made one of the season’s most defining plays with a last-ditch interception to secure a playoff bid for Baltimore. Despite fulfilling other roles as a linebacker admirably, Mosley noticeably struggled to cover tight ends, hence his placement on the lower end of the Top 100. Mosley is certainly a stat, and he is terrific as a tackler, leader, and defensive quarterback, but his coverage skills reduce his high-end potential. Now donning Gotham Green, Mosley will look to improve the Jets defense to the days of Rex Ryan.
#97: Michael Pierce, Defensive tackle, Baltimore Ravens:
From a former Raven to a current Raven, Pierce utterly dominates the front line in the majority of matchups. While he is far from the biggest name, even on his own defense, Pierce is as impactful as any interior lineman. Pierce possesses a relentless motor in the running game and in the passing game. Pierce makes one of the best defenses in the NFL effective, and he will be a catalyst in a successful 2019 campaign for the Ravens.
#96: Kyle Fuller, Cornerback, Chicago Bears:
Fuller established himself as one of the best corners in the NFL in 2018. He has a knack for the big play, ending up near the top of the interception leaderboard during the season. Fuller does have the benefit of playing with three other Top 100 players (according to this list) just on the Chicago defense alone which provides the double-edge sword that Fuller doesn’t have to be perfect for Chicago to be successful, but if Fuller is a standout performer, he may not be recognized as such based on the names around him.
#95: Xavier Rhodes, Cornerback, Minnesota Vikings:
The run on defensive players continues as Rhodes narrowly edges out Fuller. Rhodes is a consistent top level cornerback, and he has been for most of his career. Rhodes possesses good skill in man coverage and zone coverage, and he also has the athleticism to make game-changing defensive plays whether it be a critical tackle, a big interception, or a crucial pick-six.
#94: Deion Jones, Linebacker, Atlanta Falcons:
Where Mosley struggled in coverage, Jones is elite. Jones can practically take most tight ends and running backs out of the game in terms of their impact. Jones, while not the leader that Mosley is, has innate linebacker skills as a tackler and run stopper, but his first and foremost skill is coverage. In today’s NFL, it is imperative that the linebacking corps of a team possesses coverage ability to slow the other team exponentially. In Jones, you get world class coverage inside the first down marker.
#93: Brandon Graham, EDGE, Philadelphia Eagles:
A hero of Super Bowl LII, Graham suffers from the impossibly deep run of tremendous edge talents in the NFL. Unlike other more established stars, Graham is productive in a pass rush by committee of sorts as Graham is just one cog in Philadelphia’s goal to exact consistent and ample pressure on the opposition’s quarterback. The platoons of Philly help keep Graham fresh, but they provide fewer snaps, making it all the more impressive that Graham was able to earn a spot in the Top 100.
#92: Lavonte David, Linebacker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
David doesn’t get the benefit of being a part of a great defense like Mosley does, and he does not stand to benefit from the size or influence of his NFL franchise like Jones does, but David was born to play linebacker. David is a straightforward star of the Buccaneers defense based on his ability to recognize plays, both run and pass, and execute his job whether it be coverage or tackling. He is not the flashiest nor the best, but David is a terrific option at linebacker, and he should be able to mentor rookie Devin White.
#91: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers:
After earth-shattering numbers in his first two seasons, Smith-Schuster stands at a crossroads of productivity. On one hand, the number one target, Antonio Brown, is no longer in Pittsburgh. On the other hand, the aura of Antonio Brown being really good at football is no longer in Pittsburgh. While Smith-Schuster will certainly be the far and away nunber one passing option in Pittsburgh, he will have to contend with a variety of double teams and the best cornerbacks in the league. Will he be up to the challenge?