Lamar Jackson Falls, DK Metcalf Surges in NFL Network Top 100 Players of 2021

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVAugust 22, 2021

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
AP Photo/Nell Redmond

And then there were 10.

Only 10 players remain in NFL Network's countdown of the top 100 players in the league following Sunday's broadcast that revealed Nos. 40-11. This is the 11th straight year current NFL players have voted for their peers to determine the list, and NFL Network already revealed Nos. 100-41 last Sunday.

The top 10 will be announced Saturday.

Here is a look at the 30 players announced in the latest broadcast.

Nos. 40-31

40. Bradley Chubb, OLB, Denver Broncos

39. Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals

38. Marlon Humphrey, CB, Baltimore Ravens

37. Darius Leonard, OLB, Indianapolis Colts

36. David Bakhtiari, OT, Green Bay Packers

35. Darren Waller, TE, Las Vegas Raiders

34. Chris Jones, DE, Kansas City Chiefs

33. Quenton Nelson, OG, Indianapolis Colts

32. Joey Bosa, DE, Los Angeles Chargers

31. Jamal Adams, S, Seattle Seahawks

Defensive players dominated the first 10 names revealed Sunday, including Joey Bosa and Jamal Adams.

However, as is often the case with a countdown of the top players, the quarterback position stood out. Arizona Cardinals signal-caller Kyler Murray jumped 51 spots from last year's ranking to No. 39.

NFL Network @nflnetwork

.<a href="https://twitter.com/K1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@K1</a> debuted on the list as a rookie…<br><br>Now the <a href="https://twitter.com/AZCardinals?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AZCardinals</a> QB jumps up 51 spots on the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLTop100?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLTop100</a> at 39! <a href="https://t.co/cXoC84BwRR">pic.twitter.com/cXoC84BwRR</a>

It's no surprise the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 draft made such a leap after reaching his first career Pro Bowl and improving on his completion percentage, passing yards, passing touchdowns, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns from his rookie campaign.

The Cardinals also improved to 8-8 after going 5-10-1 the previous season and appear on a trajectory for contention with Murray leading the way.

No. 30-21

30. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

29. Julio Jones, WR, Tennessee Titans

28. Devin White, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

27. DeForest Buckner, DT, Indianapolis Colts

26. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

25. Bobby Wagner, MLB, Seattle Seahawks

24. Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens

23. Khalil Mack, OLB, Chicago Bears

22. DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks

21. Fred Warner, MLB, San Francisco 49ers

There will be a new No. 1 on this year's list.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson plummeted from that top spot in 2020 down to No. 24 on this year's countdown. While Jackson was coming off a league MVP award at this time last season, he was a little more inconsistent in 2020.

NFL Network @nflnetwork

Action Jackson 🙌<a href="https://twitter.com/Ravens?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Ravens</a> QB <a href="https://twitter.com/Lj_era8?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Lj_era8</a> comes in at 24 on the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLTop100?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLTop100</a>! <a href="https://t.co/C53CaxuAII">pic.twitter.com/C53CaxuAII</a>

His passing totals went from a 66.1 percent completion rate for 3,127 yards and 36 touchdowns to a 64.4 percent completion rate for 2,757 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also threw nine interceptions compared to six in 2019, though he ran for more than 1,000 yards for the second consecutive season.

There is no doubt Jackson is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but he certainly wasn't going to stay at No. 1 after seeing his numbers drop. Throw in players like Aaron Rodgers coming off an MVP effort, Patrick Mahomes being Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady winning yet another Super Bowl, and the competition for No. 1 was daunting.

Perhaps Jackson will use the drop as motivation as he looks to climb the list for 2022.

Nos. 20-11

20. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

19. Budda Baker, S, Arizona Cardinals

18. Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans

17. Xavien Howard, CB, Miami Dolphins

16. Myles Garrett, DE, Cleveland Browns

15. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

14. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

13. Jalen Ramsey, CB, Los Angeles Rams

12. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

11. Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills

It is a testament to the overall skill level around the league that players such as Alvin Kamara, Tyreek Hill and Myles Garrett are multiple spots removed from the top 10.

After all, Kamara led the league with 21 touchdowns from scrimmage last season, Hill is nearly impossible to guard because of his blazing speed and Garrett helped lead the Cleveland Browns to the playoffs behind 12 sacks, which marked his third straight year of double-digit sack totals.

Add in Russell Wilson, who was an MVP candidate for much of last season, and Stefon Diggs, who led the league with 127 catches and 1,535 receiving yards, and the list of players outside the top 10 will likely litter the Pro Bowl once again this year.

Diggs, much like fellow wide receiver DK Metcalf (No. 81 to No. 22), made a significant leap from his No. 54 spot on last year's list.

Unfortunately for the Buffalo Bills star, he finished just outside of the top 10.