Baker Mayfield Returns, Chase Young Debuts in NFL Network Top 100 Players of 2021August 16, 2021
On Sunday, the NFL Network unveiled the first 60 names on its annual top-100 player list, as voted on by the players.
Below, we'll list every pick revealed thus far, along with a breakdown some of the more interesting and controversial selections.
Players No. 100-81
100. James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
99. Brandon Graham, DE, Philadelphia Eagles
98. Brandon Scherff, OG, Washington Football Team
97. Kyle Juszczyk, FB, San Francisco 49ers
96. Cole Beasley, WR, Buffalo Bills
95. Tre'Davious White, CB, Buffalo Bills
94. Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland Browns
93. T.J. Hockenstein, TE, Detroit Lions
92. Jason Kelce, C, Philadelphia Eagles
91. Corey Davis, WR, New York Jets
90. Jessie Bates III, FS, Cincinnati Bengals
89. Tristan Wirfs, OT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
88. Shaquil Barrett, EDGE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
87. Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears
86. Marshon Lattimore, CB, New Orleans Saints
85. Zack Martin, OG, Dallas Cowboys
84. Leonard Williams, DT, New York Giants
83. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans
82. Garret Bolles, OT, Denver Broncos
81. Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It's a little surprising to see Beasley make this list. At the very least, his inclusion should inspire some debate. He had a nice year in 2020, no doubt, catching 82 passes for 967 yards and four touchdowns. But was he truly one of the best 100 players in football?
Put another way, Beasley ranked 21st in receptions, 23rd in receiving yards, tied for 63rd in receiving touchdowns and 73rd in yards per catch (11.8). Pro Football Focus ranked him as the No. 23 wideout in football heading into the 2021 season.
For what it's worth, however, PFF also ranked Beasley as the No. 75 player in all of football last year. So he has his admirers.
Regardless, Beasley's insertion seems to imply that quite a few wideouts made the NFL Network's list. It will be fascinating to see if any productive receivers are snubbed. Beasley will potentially be an even more controversial selection with more context.
Players No. 80-61
80. Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings
79. Terron Armstead, OT, New Orleans Saints
78. Jeffery Simmons, DT, Tennessee Titans
77. Quandre Diggs, FS, Seattle Seahawks
76. Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks
75. Laremy Tunsil, OT, Houston Texans
74. James Bradberry, CB, New York Giants
73. Trey Hendrickson, DE, Cincinnati Bengals
72. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
71. Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns
70. Eric Kendricks, LB, Minnesota Vikings
69. Ryan Kelly, C, Indianapolis Colts
68. Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders
67. K.J. Wright, LB, Seattle Seahawks
66. J.J. Watt, DE, Arizona Cardinals
65. Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons
64. Demario Davis, LB, New Orleans Saints
63. Fletcher Cox, DT, Philadelphia Eagles
62. A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans
61. Chase Young, DE, Washington Football Team
Mayfield went from No. 50 in 2019 to off the list entirely last summer. Now he's back at No. 71.
His inclusion is a fair one. He threw for 3,563 yards, 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions last season, completing 62.8 percent of his passes while leading the Browns to an 11-5 record and a playoff win.
But having him above Tannehill is...a choice. Tannehill threw for more yards (3,819) and touchdowns (33), had fewer interceptions (seven) and a better completion percentage (65.5 percent). He led the Titans to an 11-5 record, though they lost their lone playoff game.
Tannehill was ranked by PFF as the No. 17 player in all of football last season on its top-101 list. Mayfield was No. 45. Mayfield earned his place on both of these lists, it's just surprising to see Tannehill below him on this one.
As for Young, it's no surprise that he debuts on the list after his rookie season. After all, he posted 7.5 sacks, 12 quarterback hits, 10 tackles for loss, three fumble recoveries, a defensive touchdown and was both a Pro Bowler and the Defensive Rookie of the Year.
It would appear the sky's the limit for Young.
Players No. 60-41
60. Corey Linsley, C, Los Angeles Chargers
59. Jason Pierre-Paul, EDGE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
58. Tyrann Mathieu, FS, Kansas City Chiefs
57. Cameron Heyward, DE, Pittsburgh Steelers
56. Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
55. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
54. Grady Jarrett, DT, Atlanta Falcons
53. Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
52. Minkah Fitzpatrick, FS, Pittsburgh Steelers
51. Za'Darius Smith, EDGE, Green Bay Packers
50. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers
49. J.C. Jackson, CB, New England Patriots
48. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
47. Stephon Gilmore, CB, New England Patriots
46. Cameron Jordan, DE, New Orleans Saints
45. Justin Simmons, FS, Denver Broncos
44. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
43. Lavonte David, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
42. Trent Williams, OT, San Francisco 49ers
41. Jaire Alexander, CB, Green Bay Packers
Kittle went from being No. 7 on this list to No. 50. But you can blame injuries for that.
He appeared in just eight games last year, as an MCL sprain and broken foot cut his season in half. He still managed to catch 48 passes for 634 yards and two touchdowns. Translated to a full 16-game season, he was on pace for 96 receptions, 1,268 receiving yards and four scores.
For most tight ends, that pace would have put them in career-year territory. For Kittle, well, that's becoming the norm. If he can stay healthy, you can bet he'll be much higher up on this list next summer.
Ditto for McCaffrey, who played just three games last year but still had enough respect from his peers to make the list. When you post a season with 1,387 rushing yards, 116 catches, 1,005 receiving yards and 19 total touchdowns—like McCaffrey did in 2019—people don't forget.