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2021 NFL Top 100: 60-51

NFL Top 100 2021

Ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft, the TGH staff have ranked their top 100 players for the 2021 season. 

Five TGH staff members voted on their top 75 players, who were given scores based on their ranks, then sorted by their final score. The players were ranked regardless of position, and the editors broke any ties at their discretion.

Each article in this series will list 10 players at a time, with brief comments on their 2020 performances and what is expected of them in 2021. Make sure to check back every Friday for the next 10 players in our list!

Today, we list and evaluate players 60-51 in our list of the 2021 NFL Top 100.

60. Ronnie Stanley

Ronnie Stanley is one of the best left tackles in football. The fifth-year man out of Notre Dame missed 10 games in 2020 after a season-ending ankle injury, but still deserves to be recognized as one of the NFL’s Top 100 players.

His best year came in 2019, in which he was selected to the Pro Bowl and was First Team All-Pro. He has spent his entire career as a Baltimore Raven, becoming an integral part of the NFL’s best and most potent rushing attack. During that year, he played 14 games and only committed four penalties.

In short, durability is the only concern regarding Stanley’s play. Other than that he is a premier blocker that would improve any team’s rushing attack immediately upon insertion into the line. -Ben Hendricks

59. Shaq Barrett

Most of the players on this list performed at a level at or above their previous season. Some of Shaq Barrett’s numbers went backwards but only because the previous marks were unsustainably high. 19.5 sacks in 2020 was bound to go down, but eight sacks in a strong Buccaneers defense is still solid.

Barrett still ranked Top 10 in quarterback pressures (42) and had a great postseason tallying another four sacks. The Buccaneers pass rush should be formidable once again in Barrett’s third year with the team next season. -Jack Kochman

58. Jessie Bates

Cincinnati had a forgettable year, especially after Joe Burrow went down with an injury. Amid a throwaway season, starting safety Jessie Bates took a big leap forward. Since being drafted by the Bengals in 2018, Bates has started every game of his career.

This season, he hit career bests in a number of pass coverage categories. Per Pro Football Reference, Bates allowed 6.9 yards per target on 54.3% completion, both career lows. He also was Top 20 among eligible defensive backs in passer rating when targeted with 70.7.

As Cincinnati retools their system, Bates can either grow as a cornerstone for the defense or represent an impressive asset to be moved. -Jack Kochman

57. Marlon Humphrey

Humphrey had his second consecutive Pro Bowl season in 2020. It was a small step back from his First Team All-Pro season in 2019, but that is no reason to ignore his steady production.

He only had one interception last season, but supplemented that with an NFL-high eight forced fumbles at the cornerback position. His 82 combined tackles were a career high and racked up the first and only sacks of his four-year NFL tenure.

Humphrey is a turnover focused corner that wants to make plays, both quickly and frequently. His spot on the Top 100 should only rise as he enters his prime. -Ben Hendricks

56. Lavonte David

Lavonte David’s loyalty to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers paid off in 2020 in the form of a shiny new Super Bowl ring. David is entering his 10th season with the Bucs after signing a two-year, $25 million deal with $20 million guaranteed.

Incredibly, he has only been selected to one Pro Bowl, back in 2015. This includes being snubbed from the Pro Bowl when earned a First Team All-Pro selection in 2013. In 2020 he had another season with a tackle total north of 100.

David also forced three fumbles and intercepted a pass while playing and starting in all 16 games with the Bucs. His sack total has taken a dive since his early years, but this is only due to him being a force in the run-stopping game. He is the class of his position when his skill sets are amplified. -Ben Hendricks

55. Justin Jefferson

With the 22nd overall pick, in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings selected an offensive rookie of the year candidate and 2nd team All-Pro wide receiver. Sure, lining up with Adam Thielen probably limited the defensive attention Justin Jefferson saw, but 1,400 yards receiving is impressive.

Jefferson tied for the most catches of 20+ yards (23) and was 12th among qualified receivers in drop percentage (1.6). The Vikings still have a potent offense with two elite receivers and a top running back. In a deep 2020 wide receiver class, Jefferson stood out and should ascend this list quickly next year. -Jack Kochman

54. Cam Heyward

Cam Heyward has made the Pro Bowl while listed at two different positions, both defensive tackle and defensive end. That is impressive enough, even if one does not take into consideration that he has improved as his career continues.

He had one interception and three passes defended from the defensive line in 2020, which are somewhat flashy numbers for positions that usually rush the passer and tackle the runner. He added four more sacks to his career total, bringing it up to 58 over his 10 seasons.

Hayward can be the heart and soul of any defense and act as a kind of quarterback of a defensive line. His production may drop off as he ages, but the trend is certainly pointing in the opposite direction. -Ben Hendricks

53. Aaron Jones

Aaron Jones has been one of Packers best offensive players in the last two seasons. Jones is a stud at running back that can find holes in the defense and can shake defenders off with his strength. He also has a lot of open field speed that makes him even more dangerous.

In 2019, Jones had his first 1,000-yard rushing year, scoring 16 total rushing touchdowns. The fifth round pick out of UTEP had a similar season in 2020, racking up 1,104 yards and nine rushing touchdowns. Not only effective in the rushing attack, he is also a proficient in catching the ball.

In 2019, he recorded 474 receiving yards, along with three receiving touchdowns. In 2020, he put up similar receiving totals with 355 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The Pro Bowler is one of the more dynamic running backs in the league and should be able to put up similar numbers in the 2021 season. -Matthew Brown

52. Michael Thomas

Thomas has been an elite receiver in the NFL since he was drafted in 2016. Thomas has recorded four 1,000 yard receiving years in his five-year NFL career. The Saints wide receiver has also racked up 32 touchdowns and an AP Offensive Player of the Year in 2019. He racked up 1,725 yards along with nine touchdowns that year. 

The three-time pro bowler is an excellent route runner and knows how to create space to make spectacular catches. In 2020, Thomas had 438 receiving yards with no touchdowns. Thomas’ numbers were down because of nagging injuries throughout the season that ultimately got him placed on injured reserve. Look for Thomas to be one of the top receivers in 2021 if he manages to get healthy. -Matthew Brown

51. Chase Young

Chase Young had a spectacular rookie season. In 2020, Young recorded 44 tackles and 7.5 sacks, which is impressive considering it was his first year in the NFL. He is adept at forcing turnovers, recording four forced fumbles on the year. That number placed him 3rd in the NFL in that category.

The Pro Bowler also knows how to get to the quarterback, as he had 10 quarterback hits in 2020. He is fast off the snap and has multiple tackles for losses throughout the 2020 season. Young also added a fumble returned for a touchdown this season.

His season ended with being named AP Defensive Player of the Year. Young should continue being a beast for the Washington Football Team and have another stellar season in 2021. -Matthew Brown

Featured Image courtesy of Stacy Revere/Getty Images

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