Splash’s Top 100 (2020): Players 30-21

Splash's top 100: Fletcher Cox

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. 30: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Safety, Pittsburgh Steelers:

The Steelers traded for Fitzpatrick during Week 3 of the 2019 season. Fitzpatrick made an immediate impact, transforming the Steelers into one of the best defenses in the NFL (although the schedule eased up after Tom Brady and Russell Wilson in Weeks 1 and 2). Fitzpatrick had five interceptions, two forced fumbles, and a trio of fumble recoveries. He took one interception and one fumble back for touchdowns. He was named as an All-Pro, and he should have many years of elite play left. James will turn 24 in November, and he is the next in the line of Hall of Fame-caliber defensive backs in Pittsburgh.

No. 29: Derrick Henry, Running Back, Tennessee Titans:

Since the merger, Henry has the 27th-most playoff rushing yards. Among the 26 ahead of him, only Eric Dickerson has played in fewer than eight playoff games, and only Terrell Davis has a higher yards per carry. Henry ravaged the Patriots and Ravens for 377 total rushing yards. He was halted by the Chiefs, but Henry is hungry for another massive season in 2020. In his last 19 regular-season games, Henry has 2,215 yards on a 5.45 yards per carrying clip. Over 16 games, his stats would average out to 1,789 yards and 19 touchdowns. In his last six games of 2019, he averaged 149 yards per game and scored 10 touchdowns.


No. 28: Derwin James, Safety, Los Angeles Chargers:

Well, this is awkward. James will miss the entirety of the 2020 season with a torn meniscus. The 2018 All-Pro played five games in 2019, missing the first 11 due to injury. It is a colossal blow for the Chargers. James will likely not feature in the 2021 edition of this list, but he will only be 25 when the 2021 season kicks off.

No. 27: Lamar Jackson, Quarterback, Baltimore Ravens:

Yes, Jackson was the unanimous MVP in 2019. Jackson led the NFL in passing touchdowns and yards per rushing attempt. He posted 1,206 rushing yards, an NFL record for quarterbacks. He should be even better in 2020 as he missed 12 percent of snaps in 2019 because the Ravens were historically dominant. His efficiency will likely taper off slightly, but Jackson should produce to the tune of 4,500 total yards and 35 touchdowns. The playoff loss left a stain on his otherwise spotless season, but Jackson has improved significantly each year of his college and pro days. Jackson will likely be considered in the top 20 of the 2021 list.


No. 26: Lane Johnson, Offensive Tackle, Philadelphia Eagles:

Johnson has made three consecutive Pro Bowls as the right tackle for the Eagles. He battled through injuries in 2019, but few tackles are as good as Johnson when he is on the field. Johnson was the pioneer for a slight switch in NFL philosophy as some teams put their best tackle on the right side to counter a bevy of elite pass rushers. The former first-round pick has spent his entire career at right tackle, and he likely has a few more seasons of elite play left. He may not be All-Pro material like he was in 2017, but he will be a terrific tackle in 2020.

No. 25: Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back, Dallas Cowboys:

Elliott has 5,405 rushing yards in four seasons. Only 10 players have rushed for more. Of those 10, six are in the Hall of Fame, and Adrian Peterson will be in the Hall of Fame. Elliott has also been efficient with his carries, averaging 4.6 yards per carry over his 1,169 carries. He has expanded his role as a pass-catcher in recent years, hauling in 131 passes in the last two years after just 58 in his first two seasons. He has two rushing crowns, and he could make it a third in 2020. 2019 was the first season of Elliott’s career that he did not lead the NFL in rushing yards per game.

No. 24: Darius Leonard, Linebacker, Indianapolis Colts:

The 2018 All-Pro and 2019 Pro Bowler has blossomed into a superstar in two seasons. In 2019, Leonard took a step up in coverage, allowing a 62.8 passer rating compared to 94.7 as a rookie. He also missed fewer tackles and pressured the quarterback more. Leonard is a complete player, and Indianapolis’s addition of DeForest Buckner should only help Leonard complete his transformation into the NFL’s best linebacker when Bobby Wagner surrenders the throne. Leonard is at the heart of an underrated linebacking corps in Indianapolis, and they are poised to send the Colts back to the playoffs in 2020.

No. 23: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Cleveland Browns:

Garrett followed up his 13.5-sack 2018 with 10 sacks in 10 games before receiving a season-ending suspension for hitting Mason Rudolph with his helmet. Had Garrett played the last six weeks, he would have likely gotten to 15 or 16 sacks, 48 pressures, and made another Pro Bowl. Garrett will have the thug tag on his head because of the Rudolph incident, but on the field, Garrett is a gifted pass rusher. He turns 25 in December, and he might have more than 45 sacks before his 25th birthday. Garrett is a candidate for an All-Pro nod or even Defensive Player of the Year if the Browns play well.


No. 22: Fletcher Cox, Interior Defensive Line, Philadelphia Eagles:

If a certain Aaron Donald was not destroying backfields, Cox would likely have three All-Pro nods rather than his single one in 2018. Cox is not the flashiest star, but he has been an elite interior pass rusher for nearly a decade. Cox has 48 career sacks and 62 tackles for loss, gaudy numbers for an interior defensive lineman. He slipped slightly in 2019, and his sack numbers were down, but his age-30 season should be another elite season of demolishing quarterbacks. Cox could make the Hall of Fame with a few more productive seasons as he is currently 16th on Pro-Football-Reference’s Hall of Fame Monitor for defensive tackles.

No. 21: Zack Martin, Interior Offensive Line, Dallas Cowboys:

Speaking of future Hall of Famers, Martin is one of just 17 players to have four All-Pro selections in their first six seasons. Of the nine that retired before Martin debuted, all are in the Hall of Fame. Similarly, he is one of just 13 players to start their career with six Pro Bowls. Martin has played in 94 of 96 games with the Cowboys, playing in 96 percent of snaps in five of his six seasons. Entering his age-30 season, Martin should have at least five years of top-flight play left. Assuming he does not fall off a cliff, he will be in Canton.

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