Splash’s Top 100 (2019): Players 70-61


#70: Byron Jones, Cornerback, Dallas Cowboys:

Jones had a great 2018 campaign with the Cowboys. The stalwart of the secondary, Jones contributed heavily to a Cowboys team that returned to the playoffs after missing out in the 2017 season. While he can be overshadowed by the likes of Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, and Demarcus Lawrence, Jones made a serious argument at being among the top five cornerbacks in the NFL.

#69: Joel Bitonio, Offensive guard, Cleveland Browns:

One of the more underrated units of the last decade, the Browns have consistently had a variety of high-quality offensive lines. While he is no Joe Thomas, Bitonio has been critical in the interior of the offensive line, especially when the future Hall of Famer Thomas vacated his stranglehold on the left tackle position. Bitonio is imperative for the Browns’ success moving forward as he will contribute to an improvement from Baker Mayfield and the passing game while serving a similar role in the production of Nick Chubb and eventually Kareem Hunt in the running game.

#68: Alex Mack, Center, Atlanta Falcons:

Similar to Bitonio, Mack played in the shadow of Joe Thomas in his Cleveland career. Since swapping brown and orange for red and black, Mack has transcended the center position, proving a pivot for the Falcons to use in both passing and rushing offense. In a turnstile of an offensive line — both in terms of major injury concerns and in terms of poor play at times — Mack has been the main holdover. Mack needs another quality season in order for the Falcons to inch back toward the playoffs.


#67: Melvin Ingram, EDGE, Los Angeles Chargers:

Ingram has the benefit of playing with a plethora of other star level players, including a certain Joey Bosa on the opposite edge, but Ingram was a standout during the 2018 season, especially when Bosa was out for injury. Ingram was incredibly effective against the Ravens in the wild-card round, displaying his ability to attack the quarterback and influence plays behind the line of scrimmage. While neutralized against the Patriots, Ingram will continue to serve a critical role in the Chargers defense in 2019.

#66: Mitchell Schwartz, Offensive tackle, Kansas City Chiefs:

Another offensive lineman appears in the list as the breakout star of the Chiefs’ offense in 2018. Schwartz was as consistent as a tackle could be throughout much of the season, enabling an earth-shattering passing attack and a highly effective run game for Kansas City. While much of Patrick Mahomes’s magic can be attributed to himself, Schwartz was always providing an extra split second for the MVP to make his characteristically crazy downfield throws.


#65: Mike Evans, Wide receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Evans suffers from the NFL being at an all-time high in terms of receiving talent. He has the statistical resume to compare to any receiver in this era or any era, and he is athletically gifted, but playing with a bad Tampa Bay team has eroded the perception of Evans as a trademark “good player posting meaningless stats on a bad team.” Moving into 2019, Evans should post yet another tremendous statistical campaign if new head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Jameis Winston are able to work on a similar basis as Arians did with former quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Carson Palmer.

#64: Cameron Heyward, Defensive tackle, Pittsburgh Steelers:

The Steelers lost two players in the top 100, but they have plenty of remaining talent, namely Heyward. Overshadowed by the woes in the linebacking corps and the secondary, Heyward has been a consistent threat on the interior of the Steelers’ defensive line. With a young and improving front seven, Heyward will continue to serve as an underrated focal point who holds a piece of the “Steelers make the playoffs in 2019” jigsaw puzzle.

#63: Danielle Hunter, EDGE, Minnesota Vikings:

Hunter combines steady statistical output with being an incredibly young player. While it seems as if Hunter has been in the league for the better half of a decade, Hunter still finds himself on the enviable lists of top players under the age of 25. While the Vikings did not match the heights of their 2017 defensive performance, Hunter will be a centerpiece in a Vikings defense who yearns to replicate their passage into the 2017 NFC championship game.

#62: Joey Bosa, EDGE, Los Angeles Chargers:

Bosa, while injured for a significant portion of the 2018 season, has continued to produce at a high level. Alongside the aforementioned Melvin Ingram, Bosa wreaked havoc in the second half of the regular season and the opening playoff game against Baltimore. Bosa must play a full slate of games for the Chargers to reach their ultimate potential. With only one full season under his belt, Bosa must not succumb to the injury bug nor the holdout bug.


#61: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Cleveland Browns:

The former number one overall pick for the Browns is the absolute end-all, be-all for the Browns’ defense moving forward. The 2018 Pro Bowler experienced a breakout campaign, registering 13.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. For the Browns to be successful in 2019, they require another productive season from the former Aggie. Garrett has the talent to move into the top 50 — if not higher — next season, so the AFC North should be on the lookout for No. 95 to be penetrating offensive lines all season.


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