The annual NFL Top 100 list as voted on by players has been fully revealed.
Does anyone really care? I’m not sure. I mean, I’m writing an article about it, so I’m falling into the trap of giving it attention.
It’s an interesting activity in theory. Which players are most revered by their peers? But the voting process has long known to be flawed. And it’s not hard to believe as much given some of the wonky results we see each summer.
“Big Play” Slay lived up to the moniker in his second season with the Philadelphia Eagles, adding three defensive touchdowns — one pick-six and two fumble recoveries — to a nine-year career that previously only had one end zone trip on the résumé. At 31, Slay fulfills the role of elder statesman in a Philly secondary bolstered by offseason additions like James Bradberry. His veteran leadership will be counted on once again to guide a team with surging expectations.
This feels fair. Slay rebounded well after a down year in 2020.
Kelce may have handpicked his successor in April’s draft, but the second-ranked center on this year’s list is still plugging away on the gridiron. Kelce hasn’t missed a game for Philadelphia since 2014 and has earned All-Pro honors in four of the last five seasons. There are few players who embody the franchise they play for more than the 34-year-old Kelce, whose boisterous personality is surpassed only by the tenacity with which he defends his quarterbacks.
Kelce did improve 21 spots from his No. 92 ranking last year. While it’s nice to see him earn some more respect, the man who’s arguably the best center in football still be higher than he is here.
Speaking of players who deserve to be higher ... how is Lane Johnson not on this list at all? He was a second-team All-Pro right tackle last year but he isn’t one of the league’s best 100 players? The likes of Kyle Juszczyk, a fullback, and David Montgomery, a running back who’s averaged 3.9 yards per carry in his career, deserve to be over him? Dumb. It’s a shame that Johnson doesn’t get the appreciation he deserves because he plays on the right side of the offensive line instead of the left. That shouldn’t make as big of a difference as it clearly does.
Elsewhere, Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox both dropped out of the Top 100 after making it last year. Graham’s absence is understandable considering he checked in at No. 99 and missed most of last season with an injury. Given how great Graham has looked this summer, though, I wouldn’t sleep on him entering 2022. As for Cox, he’s coming off the worst season of his career. Big drop from No. 63 overall.
Which Eagles players are primed to make the Top 100 next year? Kelce and Johnson will probably deserve to make it. Slay has a chance if he has another strong season. A.J. Brown making it wouldn’t surprise me at all. Does Jordan Mailata find a way to crack the list? With Haason Reddick having the fifth most sacks over the past two years, he can make a case with another highly productive season.