“The Top 100 Players of 2017” is broadcast weekly Mondays on NFL Network at 9 p.m. ET. The conversation continues on the “Top 100 Players Reactions” show, airing immediately after at 10 p.m. ET.
For the second straight year, NFL Media’s Ike Taylor will be sharing his own spin on “The Top 100,” listing who he thinks are the league’s best heading into next season. Let’s continue by revealing his next set of rankings, 51-60:
» No. 51: Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
» No. 52: Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
» No. 53: Martellus Bennett, TE, Green Bay Packers
» No. 54: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
» No. 55: Malcolm Butler, CB, New England Patriots
» No. 56: Chandler Jones, OLB, Arizona Cardinals
» No. 57: Gerald McCoy, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
» No. 58: Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins
» No. 59: Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans
» No. 60: Donald Penn, OT, Oakland Raiders
‘TOP 100 PLAYERS OF 2017’
▹ Ike Taylor’s Rankings:
▸ 100-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51
FIRST LOOK AT 2017 SEASON
▹ Why ‘Hawks will regain their swagger
▹ Ranking the 5 best offseasons
▹ Who will snap playoff drought in ’17?
▹ Projected Starters (NFC):
▸ East | North l South l West
▹ Projected Starters (AFC):
▸ East | North l South l West
Matthew Stafford and Jameis Winston both improved their stock in 2016. The Lions quarterback showed he could carry the team sans Megatron and with the up-and-down efforts of perimeter players. Winston improved in his sophomore season and should lead the Bucs to a playoff appearance in Year 3. Without Rob Gronkowski on the field for the Patriots for much of the season, Martellus Bennett stepped up big time, catching a career-high seven touchdown passes. The Texans’ inconsistent (and oftentimes poor) quarterback play in 2016 led to a drop in production for DeAndre Hopkins. The 2015 Pro Bowler slid 23 spots from last year’s list. Nevertheless, he’s proven himself from Day 1 in this league and still has the goods.
The three defenders in the middle of this section are studs. What a story Malcolm Butler is, beginning his career as an undrafted free agent … then barely playing … then making arguably the biggest play in Super Bowl history. He has become a premier cornerback in this league, but I’m waiting to see if he proves himself as a shutdown corner. Chandler Jones now has three double-digit sack seasons in his first five campaigns, after recording 11 last year in Arizona. Gerald McCoy has been a cornerstone for the Buccaneers since 2010. He’s the Geno Atkins of Tampa Bay, and his consistency is something to behold.
Jarvis Landry came into his own last season. This guy sets the tone for Miami’s offense, whether he’s catching the ball, earning YAC (yards after catch) or blocking. Delanie Walker is one of my favorite players in the league. He doesn’t have the height some other tight ends have, but his speed and tenacity go a long way. He hauled in seven touchdowns in his 11th season, and I doubt he’ll slow down anytime soon. Donald Penn rounds out this group and is the leader of his pack in Oakland. The Raiders have one of the best offensive lines in the league, with Penn establishing himself as the foundation of the unit and a top-tier tackle.