Landing one player in the NFL Network’s “Top 100 Players” list shouldn’t be too much to ask. By average, every team should have about three.
Yet, four teams pulled off the golden sombrero and didn’t place a single player on this year’s list (Tom Brady topped the “Top 100 Players,” read about his impressive streak here).
While we can and should be skeptical of the NFL Network list, which is really strange at times, it’s at least a reasonable snapshot of who the 100 best players in the league are. It is voted on by players (although they’re probably not the best judges, since those guys are usually busy on Sundays when other teams are playing).
Let’s just agree that, while flawed, we can use the NFL Network’s list as a decent guide to which teams have the most blue-chip talent, and which teams need to do a better job at accumulating talent. The Los Angeles Rams and Minnesota Vikings tied for the most players on the list, with seven each. That sounds about right. And four teams didn’t have anything to cheer about.
If you guessed the Cleveland Browns were one of the four teams without an entry, you’d be wrong. New acquisitions Jarvis Landry and Carlos Hyde made the list. Let’s look at the four who didn’t get anyone on the list:
Jets miss out on the top 100
The New York Jets’ inclusion in this group is not too surprising. They’re in a major rebuild. Defensive end Leonard Williams probably had the best argument, but even his claim wasn’t great. Cornerback Trumaine Johnson, a big-ticket free-agent signing from the Rams, could have made the bottom end of the list too, but didn’t.
The Jets’ talented second-year safety, Jamal Adams, and rookie quarterback Sam Darnold could crack the top 100 in the future. But the Jets don’t have anyone on the list now, and nobody should have been surprised by that.
Buccaneers have some stars snubbed from list
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were probably the biggest surprise among the four teams that didn’t appear in the top 100. No Gerald McCoy. No Mike Evans. No Jameis Winston (the list started long before news of his looming suspension broke).
The Buccaneers came into last season as a fun playoff pick. They have some stars, and I think most would agree that one of them should be on a list of top 100 NFL players. The NFL Network list isn’t perfect, by any means. But the Buccaneers also might not have as much top-level talent as we thought when everyone was excited about them last summer.
Bears still waiting for stars to emerge
Even with some free-agent spending, the Chicago Bears still don’t have a top-100 player. Last year they were one of three teams without anyone on the NFL Network’s top 100 list (Jets and 49ers were the other two), and they went back-to-back this offseason.
A better list might have defensive end Akiem Hicks on it. He’s a fantastic 3-4 end. Running back Jordan Howard probably deserved to make it ahead of Carlos Hyde. Receiver Allen Robinson, signed from the Jaguars in the offseason, has to prove he’s back from an ACL injury before he gets considered. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has the talent to make a run next year, and has a much better offense now too.
But for a franchise that owns the record for most members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there is a serious lack of star power in Chicago.
Without Andrew Luck, Colts can’t land anyone in top 100
The Indianapolis Colts’ roster is thin. If you read our preview, which ranked them No. 31 among NFL teams heading into this season, you knew that.
However, we know Andrew Luck’s injury is the main reason they don’t have anyone on the list. A healthy Luck would make it. T.Y. Hilton probably would too, if Luck was throwing him passes. Don’t sleep on rookie guard Quenton Nelson making the top 100 in future years. But right now there’s nobody on the defense that would make a top 200 list (top 300 maybe?) and the offense is pretty thin too.
But if Luck comes back and looks healthy, the Colts won’t be among this sad group of teams again next year.
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