The NFL season is right around the corner and all the lists of top players of the NFL are out. There is only one problem with these lists: they look back on the 2017 season too much. This list will look forward to the 2018 season and predict who will be the top 100 players for the 2018 season. The Game Haus staff compiled their lists together to rank who they think will be the top 100 players this upcoming season.
This is the sixth installment, containing players 50-41.
50. Earl Thomas, S, Seattle Seahawks
2017 stats: 88 total tackles, 2 interceptions, 6 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, 1 touchdown
Thomas has been in the trade rumor mill for a while, but whatever team he plays for, he will be a top 100 player. The Legion of Boom is all gone now, leaving Thomas alone in Seattle. He only played 14 games last season and still had a productive season. In 2018 his role will be a little bit different as he tries to get a young secondary to reach their full potential. That is unless he gets traded.
Comments: “Thomas is still one of the best safeties in the NFL. He is all over the field. The Seahawks won’t admit they are rebuilding, but they are. Thomas will need to lead a young defense this season if he stays in Seattle, something he would be good at, or will play for a contender.” -Joe DiTullio
49. Tre’Davious White, CB, Buffalo Bills
2017 stats: 69 total tackles, 4 interceptions, 18 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 touchdown
White was the fifth cornerback selected in the 2017 NFL Draft. He totally outplayed his draft position in his rookie year, becoming one of the best corners in the NFL. In a game against the Patriots, White covered Rob Gronkowski so well it frustrated the star tight end into earning a penalty for a late hit on White after he intercepted a pass. He has the good start to a career and will now line up across from veteran Vontae Davis.
Comments: “White is every bit as good as Marshon Lattimore was this past season in New Orleans. If Buffalo hopes to build on their defensive success, White will have to be the same shut down player.”
– Braxton Angle
48. JaDeveon Clowney, OLB, Houston Texans
2017 stats: 59 total tackles, 9.5 sacks, 2 passes defended, 2 fumbles forced, 3 fumbles recovered, 1 touchdown
It seemed like the whole Texans defense was hurt last season, but Clowney played all 16 games. It was Clowney’s best season yet as he goes through the natural progression of a young player in the NFL. After injuries, he was the focal point of opponents’ blocking schemes and still came up with 9.5 sacks. This season, with J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus back healthy, the Texans’ defense could be one of the best pass-rushing units in the NFL.
Comments: “Clowney has been one of the up and coming defensive linemen in the NFL for a few years now. By this time next year, he will be the new sheriff in Houston.” -Cecil Walker
47. Chandler Jones, DE, Arizona Cardinals
2017 stats: 58 total tackles, 17 sacks, 3 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles
Jones led the NFL in sacks last season with 17. The former Patriot had a great season in his second year in Arizona. Unfortunately, Jones didn’t get talked about much, as the Cardinals were unable to qualify for the playoffs. The 28-year-old will want to build on his best season yet in 2018.
Comments: “Leading the NFL in sacks is now easy thing to do. Everyone expects a little bit of regression, but Jones should at least have another double-digit sack season.” -Joe DiTullio
46. LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills
2017 stats: 1,138 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns, 448 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns
McCoy has six 1,000 yard rushing seasons in his career and hit that mark again last season. This season, all of the defenses he plays will be focused on him, as Josh Allen or A.J. McCarron will take over as the starting quarterback. Things won’t be easy for McCoy this season with the offensive line featuring a lot of new faces.
Comments: “Shady McCoy has been one of the top running backs in the NFL for almost the past decade. However, age is starting to catch up with him. HIs days as a bell-cow back should be behind him, if he is to continue at the same level of succes” -Cecil Walker
45. Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Dallas Cowboys
2017 stats: 58 total tackles, 14.5 sacks, 1 pass defended, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries
After playing in nine games in 2016, Lawrence played in all 16 in 2017. He did not disappoint the fans of Dallas. He played well and is now under the franchise tag. Lawrence will want to have a great campaign this year, as he is an impending free agent at the end of the season.
Comments: “Lawrence is a game-changer for the Dallas defense. He has come into his own, displayed by his 14.5 sacks last season. When he and Sean Lee are both on the field, this defense is actually decent. Having a decent defense has alluded the Cowboys for years, but with Lawrence getting after the quarterback, it raises the level of play of his teammates.” -Joe DiTullio
44. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
2017 stats: 1,040 rushing yards, 9 rushing touchdowns, 302 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown
Fournette is another rookie from 2017 who makes this list. He, along with a few other high-profile running backs, have helped to prove that taking someone from that position early in the NFL Draft is warranted. Jacksonville’s defense is dominant, but Fournette keeps the chains moving on offense.
Comments: “Jacksonville’s running game was dominant last season, and Fournette was a big reason why. He will most likely get the same opportunities. However, other star running backs like Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott suffered the sophomore slump, so don’t expect anything ridiculous from Fournette. The signing of Andrew Norwell can definitely help prevent a slump though.” -Josh Burris
43. David DeCastro, OG, Pittsburgh Steelers
2017 stats: 15 games started, 2 sacks allowed
A lot of attention is given to the Steelers’ skill-position players, and rightfully so, but their offensive line also has a player worth noting. DeCastro is a great guard that helps protect Ben Roethlisberger and clear holes to spring Le’Veon Bell for huge gains. This season, DeCastro will try to make his fourth straight Pro Bowl.
Comments: “In a league with many promising young guards, DeCastro is one of the few that stands out. An all-round talent, being a mauler in the run game and good in pass blocking as well.” -Cecil Walker
42. A.J. Bouye, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars
2017 stats:56 total tackles, 6 interceptions, 18 passes defended
The former Texan decided to stay in the division and play for the Jaguars last season. With Jalen Ramsey, Bouye helped created one of the best corner duos in the league. With their coverage, and the defensive line’s pass rush, Jacksonville has created an elite NFL defense. There will be more good things to come for Bouye and the Jaguars in 2018.
Comments: “The Jaguars got the nickname “Sacksonville” because of how well they rushed the passer. But make no mistake, the secondary is just as good and caused many of those sacks. Bouye tied for third in interceptions last year with six and will keep getting better.” -Josh Burris
41. Melvin Ingram, DE, Los Angeles Chargers
2017 stats: 56 total tackles, 10.5 sacks, 1 pass defended, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recovery, 1 touchdown
The Chargers boast one of the best defenses in the league and that stems from Ingram and Joey Bosa pressuring the quarterback. Ingram is still in his prime and with the added talent around him on the defense, could have another great season individually, but also lead the Chargers deep into the playoffs in 2018.
Comments: “Melvin Ingram is going to be a household name by the middle of next season. He doesn’t get the spotlight like some of the league’s premiere pass rushers do because of the lack of team success. The Chargers are prime for a playoff run, and Ingram’s name will be considered among the best pass rushers in the NFL.” – Braxton Angle