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 eighth installment, containing players 30-21.
30. Patrick Peterson, CB, Arizona Cardinals
2017 stats: 34 total tackles, 1 interception, 8 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery
Peterson is one of the few corners that can truly be left on an island in the NFL. Last season wasn’t the best of his career, but near the end of the season, he still had allowed the fewest receptions per coverage snap. The 28-year-old is still in his prime and figures to have a lot of productive years left in the tank.
Comments: “Peterson has been doing it at the highest level for years now and shouldn’t be doubted going forward. It sometimes appears as if he knows the routes that the receivers are running.” -Joe DiTullio
29. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
2017 stats: 104 receptions, 1,245 receiving yards, 5 touchdowns
He has only been in the NFL for two seasons, but Michael Thomas is already one of the most productive receivers in the league. Because he has gotten off to such a good start to his career, he is on pace to be one of the all-time greats. With Drew Brees returning for 2018, it should be another great season for Thomas.
Comments: “Brees’ best receiver ever is running through his career at a torrid pace. He may be a key to one final Super Bowl for the future Hall of Fame quarterback.” -Joe DiTullio
28. Xavier Rhodes, CB, Minnesota Vikings
2017 stats: 56 total tackles, 2 interceptions, 10 passes defended
Rhodes finds him this high on this list because of his ability to shut down premier receivers in the NFL. In his five years he has been able to stop a lot of wide receivers, including A.J. Green, Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr. He has shown no signs of slowing down as he enters his prime.
Comments: “Rhodes is becoming what Revis was back in his prime. He can shut the best of the best down and he can make you forget he is even in the game. Those are the best types of corners.”- Robert Hanes
27. Casey Hayward, CB, Los Angeles Chargers
2017 stats: 40 total tackles, 4 interceptions, 22 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumbles recovery
After playing in Green Bay, Hayward has taken his career to a whole different level as a Charger. He’s one of the most versatile corners in the NFL, as he can cover receivers in the slot and on the outside. With the selection of Derwin James in the 2018 NFL Draft, Hayward has a chance to be a part of a great secondary this season.
Comments: “Like the man above him Hayward has become elite. I bet the Packers wish they still had him.”- Robert Hanes
26. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants
2017 stats: 25 receptions, 302 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns
Beckham was limited to four games last season because of a fractured ankle. When healthy, he is a play-maker that is tough for defenses to account for. The Giants’ offense will be much better with Beckham and other receivers back from injury and the addition of Saquon Barkley at running back.
Comments: “The definition of a diva receiver. The only thing more outrageous than OBJ’s catches are his antics off of the field. If he focused more the game and focused less on “net-proposals”, he could be higher on the list.”- Cecil Walker
25. Zack Martin, OG, Dallas Cowboys
2017 stats: 16 games started, 1 sack allowed
Martin was recently rewarded with the largest contract in the NFL for a guard for his efforts over his first four seasons in the NFL. He, along with a few other talented members on the offensive line, helps the Cowboys’ offense control the game by running the football well. His one sack allowed last season shows how well-rounded of a guard he is.
Comments: “Martin is the best guard in the NFL and could even be higher than this, but people don’t value offensive linemen, especially guards.” -Joe DiTullio
24. Fletcher Cox, DT, Philadelphia Eagles
2017 stats: 26 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, 1 pass defended, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 touchdown
The Eagles’ defensive line was loaded with talent last season and it helped them win a Super Bowl. Cox was their best interior defensive linemen and helped them rank as the top defense against the run. He won’t get a lot of recognition but is the anchor of the defensive line.
Comments: “Big and bad. Fletcher Cox is one of if not the best interior defensive linemen in the game. Not only is he strong, he also can be a little slippery when he wants. No doubt he was a huge contributor in the Eagles Super Bowl win in pressuring Tom Brady and the Patriots offensive line.” -Jay Louden
23. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
2017 stats: 75 receptions, 1,078 receiving yards, 8 receiving touchdowns
Green may not be the loudest wide receiver in the biggest market, but he is a player every NFL team would love to have. He has reached 1,000 receiving yards in every year of his career besides 2016, when he was only able to play in 10 games due to injury. Green still finished with 964 receiving yards that season. With more protection for Andy Dalton, Green will be looking to put up big time numbers in 2018.
Comments: “Green doesn’t bring a lot of publicity to himself, but is a very productive receiver and should get more recognition.” -Cecil Walker
22. Joey Bosa, DE, Los Angeles Chargers
2017 stats: 70 total tackles, 12.5 sacks, 1 pass defended, 4 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery
The Chargers’ defense is now great and Bosa deserves some of the credit for helping them reach that level. He has two double-digit sack seasons and will be looking to improve that number this season. With Melvin Ingram, Bosa will be able to get a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Comments: “After his first two seasons, Joey Bosa has 23 sacks in 28 games. How does that stack up against some of the NFL’s other top pass rushers in their first two years? Chandler Jones got 17.5 in 30 games, Khalil Mack got 19 in 32 games, Julius Peppers got 19 in 28 games and J.J. Watt got 26 in 32 games. Bosa will continue to be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks.” -Josh Burris
21. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
2017 stats: 983 rushing yards, 7 rushing touchdowns, 269 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns
Even though he was suspended for six games, Elliott still almost rushed for 1,000 yards. The combination of a good offensive line and Elliott on the field has been a dynamic combination for the Cowboys over the last two seasons. With a full 16 games, Elliott will have a chance to earn his spot on this list.
Comments: “Since entering the league two years ago, Ezekiel Elliott has arguably become the best running back in the NFL. While his pass-catching needs some work, he is a lethal threat behind that offensive line.” -Cecil Walker