Lamar Jackson Ranks No. 1 in NFL Network Top 100 Players of 2020; Mahomes No. 4

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJuly 30, 2020

FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2020, file photo, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) rolls out of the pocket during the first half an NFL divisional playoff football game, against the Tennessee Titans in Baltimore. The reigning NFL MVP is eager to get started at training camp practice following an offseason in which he had a perilous encounter with a jet ski, tossed footballs to Antonio Brown and diligently avoided the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Gail Burton, File)
Gail Burton/Associated Press

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has assumed the top spot on the annual NFL Top 100 list after NFL Network revealed the final 10 choices Wednesday.

The reigning NFL MVP did not make the player-selected 2019 list. He stepped into his team's starting role midway through the 2018 campaign, leading Baltimore to a 6-1 record down the stretch en route to an AFC North title.

The final 10 featured three quarterbacks in Jackson, reigning Super Bowl MVP and Kansas City Chiefs signal-caller Patrick Mahomes and the Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson, who led his team to its eighth consecutive winning season.

A pair of workhorse running backs in the Tennessee Titans' Derrick Henry and the Carolina Panthers' Christian McCaffrey made the list, as did two stud wide receivers in the New Orleans Saints' Michael Thomas and Arizona Cardinals' DeAndre Hopkins.

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle rounded out the top 10 offensive players. Only two defensive players finished in the final group in Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald and New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

Here's a look at the entire Top 10 list alongside some notes on the players' 2019 and career accomplishments.

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NFL Top 100 List (Top 10)

10. Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry

9. New England Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore

8. Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins

7. San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle

6. Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey

5. New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas

4. Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes

3. Los Angeles Rams DL Aaron Donald

2. Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

1. Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson

    

10. Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry

Derrick Henry's late regular-season and postseason performances catapulted the Tennessee Titans to the AFC Championship Game despite the team holding a 5-5 record after 10 games.

Henry rushed for 896 yards and 10 touchdowns in his final six regular-season contests and led the NFL with 1,540 rushing yards and 16 scores despite missing one game.

In the playoffs, Henry rumbled for 406 scrimmage yards in upset road wins over the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens, catapulting Tennessee to its first AFC title game in 17 seasons.

       

9. New England Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore

The New England Patriots finished first in fewest points allowed per game and didn't allow a passing touchdown until Week 6.

Pats cornerback Stephon Gilmore arguably played the biggest role in the eventual AFC East champions achieving those feats, accumulating an NFL-high 20 passes defended and six interceptions.

Gilmore won the Associated Press' Defensive Player of the Year award.

   

8. Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins

Former Houston Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins is now an Arizona Cardinal after being traded this offseason.

Houston may soon regret that move, as Hopkins is coming off a season where he caught 104 passes for 1,165 yards and seven touchdowns. He has five 1,000-yard seasons on his resume and has caught 100 or more receptions three times despite seeing a revolving door at quarterback for much of his Houston career.

Hopkins formed a great rapport with third-year quarterback Deshaun Watson, and the two seasons where those two played full campaigns resulted in AFC South titles for the Texans.

          

7. San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle

Despite missing two games, San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle accumulated 85 receptions for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns for his NFC-winning team.

The name of Kittle's offensive game has been efficiency over the past two seasons. He posted 15.6 yards per touch in 2018 and caught 79.4 percent of his targets in 2019.

The NFL's best all-around tight end is also just one of two players to receive top-10 Pro Football Focus grades in run-blocking and receiving at his position since 2018, with the Philadelphia Eagles' Dallas Goedert being the other.

      

6. Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey

The NFL's leader with 2,392 scrimmage yards and 19 total touchdowns is a dominant force running and receiving the ball.

In his third NFL campaign (and second as the Panthers' full-time starter), McCaffrey rushed for 4.8 yards per carry and caught 116 passes for 1,005 yards. He was the engine that drove the Panthers offense thanks to 403 touches, also a league high.

McCaffrey has averaged 101 catches per year since entering the league in 2017. He's suited up for all 48 regular-season games for his career and averages 5.9 yards per touch.

The ex-Stanford star is in town for the long haul after inking a four-year, $64 million extension this offseason.

      

5. New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas set an NFL single-season record with 149 receptions, which led to nine touchdowns and an NFL-high 1,725 receiving yards.

Thomas was efficient as well with an 80.5 percent catch rate, helping the Saints earn a 13-3 record and an NFC South title.

The ex-Ohio State star has caught at least 92 passes and surpassed 1,100 receiving yards in each of his first four seasons. The two-time All-Pro wideout was the league's 2019 Offensive Player of the Year.

    

4. Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes

All Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has done since becoming his team's full-time starter in 2018 is win an NFL MVP, a Super Bowl MVP and throw for 50 touchdown passes in a single season.

Mahomes has guided the Chiefs to back-to-back 12-4 records and AFC West titles. He took home the Super Bowl's top individual honor after Kansas City defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in February.

The signal-caller signed the richest contract in professional sports history this offseason thanks to a 10-year extension that could be worth over a half-billion dollars.

   

3. Los Angeles Rams DL Aaron Donald

Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald, who was last year's No. 1 choice for the NFL Top 10 still managed to find his way near the list's peak after posting 12.5 sacks and a league-leading 20 tackles for a loss the year before.

Pro Football Focus' Defensive Player of the Year registered 80 pressures, per PFF, or 18 more than the nearest interior defensive lineman in the Green Bay Packers' Kenny Clark.

Donald is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year award winner and five-time All-Pro.

    

2. Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has been his team's starting quarterback for eight seasons, all of which finished with winning records.

Seattle has missed the playoffs just once under Wilson, a six-time Pro Bowler who helped his team win a Super Bowl in his second season.

Wilson has never missed a start in eight NFL seasons and has completed 64.5 percent of his career passes for 227 touchdowns and just 68 interceptions.

        

1. Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson

After bursting onto the scene as a rookie in 2018, Jackson took his game to the next level last year, taking the NFL by storm with both his arm and his legs.

He completed 66.1 percent of his passes for 36 touchdowns (to just six interceptions) and rush for 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns en route to leading Baltimore to an NFL-best 14-2 record and a back-to-back division crown.

Jackson, who doesn't turn 24 years old until January, earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl nods for his efforts.

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