Splash’s 2019 Top 100 in Review


Over the course of about six weeks in 2019, I unveiled my top 100 players (plus a handful of honorable mentions). Looking back, some of the selections were brilliant. Some of the selections were terrible. 

The Good

Marlon Humphrey – No. 84

I correctly identified Humphrey as a 2019 All-Pro in my preseason predictions. At the time, many did not view Humphrey as a top-10 corner, but Humphrey was well deserving of his selection.

Tre’Davious White – No. 73

Eventually an All-Pro like Humphrey, White broke out into the mainstream in 2019. He was a darling in 2017 and 2018, and with Buffalo making the playoffs in 2019, more people focused on the elite cornerback. 


Ryan Ramczyk – No. 46

Ramczyk was the highest-ranked right tackle in the top 100, and when I realize my 2020 edition, he will be the top-ranked tackle. Despite receiving little love in his first two seasons, Ramczyk jumped to the top of many people’s rankings in terms of tackles, and he was handsomely rewarded as an All-Pro. 


Putting Christian McCaffrey above Alvin Kamara

Kamara dealt with some injuries in 2019, but McCaffrey stole the title of NFL’s best running back with a dynamic season. Kamara is quite good, and he has a decent chance of being on the 2020 edition of the top 100, but McCaffrey is squarely in the discussion for being in the top 10.


Stephon Gilmore – No. 17

“But Jalen Ramsey is better” was commented any time I said Gilmore was the best cornerback in the game. 10 months later, Gilmore is the best in the business while Ramsey might not be a top-three corner. 

The Bad (underrated)

Tyrann Mathieu – Honorable Mention

Mathieu was the centerpiece in a solid Kansas City defense. I was out of place to leave him out of the top 100 entirely.

Deshaun Watson – Honorable Mention

This is a head-scratcher. Did I really think Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger were better than Watson? I guess I did. 

Chandler Jones – No. 44

Jones was severely underrated at No. 44. He was one of the best players in football in 2019, and he will be much higher in the 2020 list.

George Kittle – No. 43

I eventually predicted Kittle to be an All-Pro, and he was, but putting him 27 slots below Travis Kelce was a colossal misstep.

Putting Russell Wilson over Patrick Mahomes

Wilson technically had a better 2019 regular season as he received Offensive Player of the Year votes and was a second-team All-Pro. However, Mahomes answered any concerns in 2019, and he is the reigning Super Bowl MVP. He will top the 2020 list, and he should top the list for much of the decade.

The Bad (overrated)

JuJu Smith-Schuster – No. 91

The Fortnite star was not a star on the field in 2019. He faced nagging injuries throughout the season and Pittsburgh had a terrible quarterback situation, but Smith-Schuster was abysmal in 2019. He should rebound in 2020, but his 2019 campaign was alarming. 

Denzel Ward – No. 90

I was right about many rookies (notably Quenton Nelson), but Ward was a whiff in 2019. I defended the selection to no end, but Ward took a sizable step back. He did miss four games, but Ward needs to be better in 2020.

Le’Veon Bell – No. 77

Bell was as inefficient as they come in 2019. While many of his woes come from the subpar offensive line, Bell was a wreck. After not playing in 2018 and being one of the worst starting backs in 2019, Bell will not be in the top 100.

Earl Thomas – No. 54

A Pro Bowler in name, Thomas fell off a cliff in 2019. For every solid play he made, he was made to look like a fool. The playoffs left a bad taste in the mouths of Thomas fans, but he took a step back in 2019.

Todd Gurley – No. 42

The two-time All-Pro slumped to a meager 3.8 yards per carry in 2019. Gurley was cut by the Rams, and he recently signed with the Falcons. Gurley’s best days are almost certainly behind him, but he should be a solid back in Atlanta. 

The Injured

C.J. Mosley – No. 98

After missing just three games out of 80 in Baltimore, Mosley played in just two for the Jets. Mosley had a pick-six and a fumble recovery in his debut, but he needs to be on the field more in 2020. The Jets had a sturdy defense without him, but Mosley could push the Jets into elite territory if he plays well.

Ben Roethlisberger – No. 83

Roethlisberger missed the final 14 games due to a shoulder injury. In his two games of action, he was poor, generating only 350 passing yards and an interception in 62 pass attempts. In fairness to him, he played against two future playoff teams: New England and Seattle. 

Trent Williams – No. 50

Williams snapped his streak of seven consecutive Pro Bowls by not playing a down in 2019. He has been seeking a trade since last off-season, and the Redskins are angling to acquire draft compensation for the disgruntled star tackle.

Xavien Howard – No. 45

Howard was flat out bad in 2019. He was marred with injuries, but in the five games he played, Howard was consistently turned into burnt toast. He will not be the only player on the Miami defense in 2020 as star corner (and fellow top-100 player) Byron Jones signed with the Dolphins in free agency.

The Ugly

Baker Mayfield – Honorable Mention

After nearly stealing Offensive Rookie of the Year from Saquon Barkley in 2018, Mayfield ran into a wall in 2019. The former Oklahoma Sooner tossed 21 interceptions, the second-most in the NFL. He just turned 25, so there is still time. 

Philip Rivers – No. 100

Rivers is arguably a more egregious misstep than Mayfield. While Mayfield has the benefit of being a young quarterback, Rivers heaved 20 interceptions for the third time in his career. Am I supposed to believe he can lead the Colts to the playoffs? 

Xavier Rhodes – No. 95

Joining Rivers on the Colts, Rhodes was comically bad in 2019. The 2017 All-Pro managed to be named to the Pro Bowl roster despite being one of the worst corners in football. You may not trust Pro Football Focus, but he was ranked as the 106th (out of 112) best corner in 2019. Yikes.

Antonio Brown – No. 40

Brown played one game in 2019, hauling in four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. For as good as he is when he is on the field, he has been a train wreck off the field. Antonio Brown with the Patriots may be the last we ever see (on the field) of the four-time All-Pro.

The Retired

Marshal Yanda – Honorable Mention

The longtime stalwart of Baltimore’s interior line, Yanda announced his retirement in March of 2020. He would likely be included in the top 100 of 2020, but the 13-year vet decided to call it a career after a terrific 2019 season. Yanda might be on his way to Canton in a couple of seasons.

Andrew Luck – No. 28

I was all-in on Luck having a great 2019 season. I predicted he would win MVP, but weeks later, he suddenly announced his retirement. Luck is still only 30, but it seems that the years of hits have piled up too much. 

Luke Kuechly – No. 7

Kuechly would have been a shoo-in as a top-10 player in the 2020 list, but the seven-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro has decided to hang up his cleats. He will be in Canton in a few years.

The 2019 List

  1. Aaron Donald
  2. Khalil Mack
  3. J.J. Watt
  4. DeAndre Hopkins
  5. Julio Jones
  6. Von Miller
  7. Luke Kuechly
  8. Fletcher Cox
  9. Bobby Wagner
  10. Russell Wilson
  11. Patrick Mahomes
  12. Akiem Hicks
  13. Saquon Barkley
  14. Ezekiel Elliott
  15. Michael Thomas
  16. Travis Kelce
  17. Stephon Gilmore
  18. Derwin James
  19. Jamal Adams
  20. David Bakhtiari
  21. Jalen Ramsey
  22. Tom Brady
  23. DeMarcus Lawrence
  24. Zack Martin
  25. Eddie Jackson
  26. Quenton Nelson
  27. Chris Jones
  28. Andrew Luck
  29. Odell Beckham
  30. Cameron Jordan
  31. Aaron Rodgers
  32. Drew Brees
  33. Christian McCaffrey
  34. Alvin Kamara
  35. Darius Leonard
  36. Jason Kelce
  37. Tyron Smith
  38. Zach Ertz
  39. Leighton Vander Esch
  40. Antonio Brown
  41. Terron Armstead
  42. Todd Gurley
  43. George Kittle
  44. Chandler Jones
  45. Xavien Howard
  46. Ryan Ramczyk
  47. Calais Campbell
  48. Geno Atkins
  49. Davante Adams
  50. Trent Williams
  51. Damon Harrison
  52. Chris Harris
  53. Tyreek Hill
  54. Earl Thomas
  55. Lane Johnson
  56. Keenan Allen
  57. Malcolm Jenkins
  58. David DeCastro
  59. Adam Thielen
  60. Harrison Smith
  61. Myles Garrett
  62. Joey Bosa
  63. Danielle Hunter
  64. Cameron Heyward
  65. Mike Evans
  66. Mitchell Schwartz
  67. Melvin Ingram
  68. Alex Mack
  69. Joel Bitonio
  70. Byron Jones
  71. Grady Jarrett
  72. Jadeveon Clowney
  73. Tre’Davious White
  74. Jurrell Casey
  75. Jaylon Smith
  76. Shaq Mason
  77. Le’Veon Bell
  78. Amari Cooper
  79. Matt Ryan
  80. Desmond King
  81. Kevin Byard
  82. T.Y. Hilton
  83. Ben Roethlisberger
  84. Marlon Humphrey
  85. A.J. Green
  86. A.J. Bouye
  87. Duane Brown
  88. Dee Ford
  89. Melvin Gordon
  90. Denzel Ward
  91. JuJu Smith-Schuster
  92. Lavonte David
  93. Brandon Graham
  94. Deion Jones
  95. Xavier Rhodes
  96. Kyle Fuller
  97. Michael Pierce
  98. C.J.Mosley
  99. Phillip Lindsay
  100. Philip Rivers

Honorable Mentions (no order)

The 2020 list will be released in 11 parts in June and July.


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