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 last installment, containing players 10-one.
10. Luke Keuchly, LB, Carolina Panthers
2017 stats: 125 total tackles, 3 interceptions, 4 passes defended, 1 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 1 touchdown
In his six seasons in the NFL so far, Keuchly has become one of the best defensive players in the game. He has great instincts, is good in coverage and accumulates a lot of tackles. The former Boston College Eagle has overcome concussions in recent years and has found his way back to the field. Keuchly will have to anchor the Panthers’ defense by himself to start the 2018 season, as Thomas Davis is suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Comments: “Kuechly’s the best inside backer in the game period and is just as important to the Panthers success as Cam Newton. As long as he can stay away from his concussion issues, Kuechly will continue to be great in pass coverage and as a run stopper.” -Pranay Malempati
9. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
2017 stats: 1,305 rushing yards, 13 rushing touchdowns, 64 receptions, 788 receiving yards, 6 receiving touchdowns
Gurley helped set the new standard for what star running backs can expect in their contracts this offseason after a fantastic 2017. He benefitted from Sean McVay’s system, as he increased every stat across the board (in one less game played) last season from the one before that. If Jared Goff can take another step forward, the offense could be even better than last year’s.
Comments: “Gurley had a down season in 2016, but rebounded with McVay. There is no reason to expect much drop off this season, as he tries to help the Rams win the Super Bowl.” -Joe DiTullio
8. Von Miller, OLB, Denver Broncos
2017 stats: 57 total tackles, 10 sacks, 3 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery
Although he didn’t have his best season last year, this list looks ahead to the upcoming season. Miller was still able to get to double digits in sacks and has the elite athleticism that makes him great. The 29-year-old is entering his prime and will want to do better in 2018.
Comments: “Miller’s speed off the edge is unmatched in the game. His production was down last season, but will bounce back this season.”- Joe DiTullio
7. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
2017 stats: 88 receptions, 1,444 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns
Jones may be known by fantasy football players as a receiver that has trouble finding the end zone, but he still puts up the stats when it comes to receiving yards. He just restructured his deal for 2018 and will report to training camp. The Falcons will try to get the offense rolling on all cylinders this season.
Comments: “Now that Julio got a restructured deal, his primary focus will be to help the Falcons get back to the heights of 2016. At his best, his strength, speed and deep ball ability make him better than every receiver in the game. Now that everyone is assuming AB is number 1 in the league, Julio will want to prove he is still at the top.” -Pranay Malempati
6. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
2017 stats: 3,983 passing yards, 34 passing touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 61.3% completion
He has gone from underrated and undersized to one of the biggest stars in the game. Wilson has done a lot of damage the last few seasons without much help. His offensive line is continually criticized and Wilson does his best to make plays while on the move. He’ll have to keep on carrying the team this season, as there is even less talent around him.
Comments: “Wilson didn’t receive a single vote for MVP or offensive player of the year last season despite all his efforts to lead the Seahawks to nine wins. Wilson really had no help on offense from his receivers, offensive line or running game. Even with little talent around him, he still managed to lead the league in touchdown passes with 34.” -Josh Burris
5. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
2017 stats: 1,291 rushing yards, 9 rushing touchdowns, 85 receptions, 655 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns
Bell is currently not happy with his situation as a Steeler because he can’t get a long-term deal. During his time as a Steeler though, he has turned into a great offensive weapon. Bell can do damage on the ground and in the air. This year will be especially huge for Bell, as he hopes to secure a big contract this offseason.
Comments: “Bell is the best running back in the NFL. Even with missed time due to suspensions and injuries, Bell still puts up fantastic numbers. He’s also the league’s best receiving back, making him even more dangerous. Pittsburgh better pay this man.” -Josh Burris
4. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
2017 stats: 4,577 passing yards, 32 passing touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 66.3% completion
Will Tom Brady’s play ever fall off? The future Hall of Famer will be 41-years-old on August 3 and will be on a quest to win his sixth Super Bowl. Brady will have Gronkowski and Edelman this season, but needs some outside receivers to step up and help him win games.
Comments: “Tom Brady, coming of a 500+ yard performance in the Super Bowl, should be number 1 every year until proven otherwise. He will continue to pick apart defenses and shatter the age standards for quarterbacks.” – Pranay Malempati
3. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
2017 stats: 101 receptions, 1,533 receiving yards, 9 receiving touchdowns
Brown is a player that any team would certainly like to have due to his production and work ethic. In every season that he has played at least 14 games, he has had over 1,000 yards receiving. With Ben Roethlisberger back for another year, there is no reason to believe his production will dip.
Comments: “He’s not the biggest, fastest or strongest receiver, but Brown is the best in the game. He continually puts up big numbers and makes acrobatic catches. The 2018 season should be another big year for Brown.”- Joe DiTullio
2. Aaron Donald, DL, Los Angeles Rams
2017 stats: 41 total tackles, 11 sacks, 2 passes defended, 5 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recoveries
Donald may not show up on many MVP ballots, but the defensive lineman has a great impact on every game he plays in. His best trait is how quickly he gets out of his stance at the snap of the ball. This allows him to be a quality player against the run and the pass. He is currently waiting on a new contract from the Rams, but Donald will be worth every penny.
Comments: “You could make the case that Donald is the best player in the NFL. In just 14 games last season, Donald led the NFL in total pressures with 91. Donald also put up 11 sacks, and with the addition of Ndamukong Suh to the defensive line, Donald’s numbers will be that much better. Like the Steelers with Bell, the Rams must pay Donald.” -Josh Burris
1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
2017 stats: 1,675 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 64.7% completion
He only played seven games last year, but everyone knows what Rodgers brings to an NFL team. It is very clear how much he does for the Packers, as without Rodgers in the lineup, they sputtered into mediocrity. With Rodgers back healthy, the Packers are back atop the trendy picks to be Super Bowl contenders, however right or wrong that may be.
Comments: “Rodgers has had to carry the Packers, while the defense has been a work in progress for years. He is coming off an injury, but is the most important player to his team in the NFL, as the Packers weren’t good at all without him.” -Joe DiTullio