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 80-71 in our list of the 2021 NFL Top 100.
[Check out the previous entry on our list here!]
80. A.J. Brown
During his second season in the NFL, A.J. Brown put teams on alert with his incredible ability to position himself perfectly to make plays on the ball. His speed makes it even harder for defenses to cover him. He’s a threat to catch the long ball, but can also grab short passes and gain a lot of yards after the catch.
Brown has achieved over 1,000 receiving yards in both of his seasons in the NFL. An emerging red zone threat, he had eight touchdowns in 2019 and 11 in 2020. The sophomore is already a Pro Bowler, and will be a threat to defenses for a long time. -Matthew Brown
79. Leonard Williams
One of the most formidable run-stoppers in the NFL, Leonard Williams stepped up his pass-rushing game this season. He improved on his career high in sacks by 4.5 (11.5 in 2020). He still racked up 57 combined tackles, 14 of them for losses.
One of the very few players to be traded from the Jets to the Giants, he continues to make his impact on New York football teams. Williams is truly a luxury for a defensive line, while also being a player to build around. -Ben Hendricks
78. Danielle Hunter
The first of three defensive Vikings in this grouping of 10, Danielle Hunter collected three forced fumbles, 70 combined tackles and a massive 14.5 sacks.
Clearly, Hunter has a nose for the quarterback and is a stat-padding machine, whether that is his goal or not. Defensive ends are becoming more and more valuable in today’s NFL and Hunter is one of the very best. Maybe the best part of his game is his durability, as he has only missed two games in his career in his very first season. -Ben Hendricks
77. Allen Robinson
Allen Robinson has been a dominant receiver since he was drafted. He is a terrific route runner and has the ability get open quickly and make spectacular plays.
Robinson compiled 1,250 yards and six touchdowns in his 2020 campaign, which still makes him one of the more lethal wide receivers in the league. Throughout his career he has compiled an impressive 5,999 receiving yards and 39 career touchdowns. He somehow has managed these stats with constant quarterback changes throughout his career, but he seems to have an impressive ability to adapt to the quarterback with whom he is playing.
Robinson, who was just recently hit with a franchise tag, will have to stick with the Bears and could work out a long-term contact with them in the future. -Matthew Brown
76. Cameron Jordan
Cameron Jordan has made a case for being one of the best defensive ends in the league. The six-time Pro Bowler is explosive off the line of scrimmage and gives quarterbacks little time to think before they are sacked or forced to throw under pressure.
He is strong and can overpower anyone on the opposing line. This has translated to 94.5 sacks in his career. His season high coming in 2019 with 15.5 sacks. The long time Saint has not slowed down at all during his tenure in the NFL and will continue to be a force for years to come. -Matthew Brown
75. J.J. Watt
The newest Arizona Cardinal has suffered through injuries recently, but can still dominate competition at a high level. J.J. Watt’s resume rivals that of Reggie White and Lawrence Taylor and he still has time left to add to it.
In 2020 Watt had five sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles as he played all 16 games for just the second time in five seasons. The Texans were not a good team, but Watt refused to let up and shined as one of their lone bright spots.
Now the NFL will see him in a new uniform for the first time since he was drafted in 2011. He will be added to an already frightening front seven as he tries to will the Cardinals back to the postseason. -Ben Hendricks
74. Harrison Smith
Harrison Smith will enter his 10th NFL season in 2021. Since being drafted by the Vikings, Smith was selected to the Pro Bowl five times, from 2015-2019 with a First Team All-Pro selection in 2017.
In 2020 he collected five interceptions, which tied his career high. He added 89 combined tackles as he went into his second season at the strong safety position. It is clear he can keep up production, while healthy, at either safety spot and is deserving of a place in the 2021 NFL Top 100.
73. Eric Kendricks
Eric Kendricks played in 11 games in 2020 and collected three interceptions and 107 tackles from the linebacker position. He also defended six passes, but was held without a sack.
Aside from the triple-digit tackles, these numbers are not fantastic, but a lot of what Kendricks does for the Vikings defense does not show up on the stat sheet. He is a true quarterback of the defense, and the unit as a whole struggled without him last year. The respect and attention he commands during every snap is alone enough to earn him a place on the list. -Ben Hendricks
72. Trey Hendrickson
Three defensive ends were named All-Pro defensive ends by either the Pro Football Writers of America or Sporting News: Joey Bosa, Myles Garrett, and Trey Hendrickson. One of those names feels out of place, right?
The fourth-year Saint out of Florida Atlantic tied Aaron Donald for second in sacks last season. Hendrickson only played on 53% of defensive snaps but had a nose for finding the quarterback. As a free agent, he can hope to cash in on a career season and find a home that will allow him more playing time. -Jack Kochman
71. Demario Davis
Demario Davis had another strong season anchoring a Saints defense that was elite against the run. For a third straight season the 32-year-old linebacker was a defensive captain and spiritual leader of a young team.
2020 was his second consecutive time being named to an AP All-Pro team and age hasn’t caught up to him yet. He had his best season since 2017 registering 119 combined tackles and 16 quarterback pressures. As the Saints find ways to pare down their salary cap issues, Davis will continue to lead and develop a green New Orleans linebacking core. –Jack Kochman
Featured Image courtesy of Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images
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