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 ninth installment, containing players 20-11.
20. Calais Campbell, DL, Jacksonville Jaguars
2017 stats: 67 total tackles, 14.5 sacks, 3 passes defended, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 touchdown
The free agent signing of Campbell helped the Jaguars create their great “Sacksonville” defense. The versatile defensive lineman can line up anywhere and be productive. At 6-foot-8, Campbell is very disruptive and is poised to help the Jaguars’ defense be elite once again.
Comments: “An absolute monster physically, which transfers well to his play style. A great signing by Jacksonville to create their “Sacksonville” defense.” -Cecil Walker
19. Harrison Smith, S, Minnesota Vikings
2017 stats: 78 total tackles, 5 interceptions, 12 passes defended, 1.5 sacks
Smith is a great safety that doesn’t get as much recognition as some of his counterparts across the NFL. He had a good 2016 season, but played even better in 2017. Smith is 29-years-old and is still improving his game, setting him up for a successful 2018.
Comments: “Smith is usually underrated, but I like his rank on this list. He is the leader of a great Vikings’ defense.” -Joe DiTullio
18. Cameron Jordan, DE, New Orleans Saints
2017 stats: 62 total tackles, 13 sacks, 1 interception, 1 touchdown, 2 forced fumbles
The 2017 season was the best of Jordan’s seven-year career. He had the most sacks of his career with 13 and helped the Saints’ defense really take a step forward, after many difficult years. Jordan is one of the most consistent players and has yet to miss a game in his NFL career.
Comments: “Cameron Jordan is the heart of the front seven for the Saints. He helped them get past “Bounty Gate” and now helped build a solid Saints’ defense” -Cecil Walker
17. Bobby Wagner, LB, Seattle Seahawks
2017 stats: 133 total tackles, 2 interceptions, 6 passes defended, 2 fumbles recovered, 1 touchdown
Wagner is a born tackler who has started since his rookie season for the Seahawks. Because of his early start in the NFL and his continued success, he will be one of the best tacklers in NFL history. He will lead a young Seahawks’ defense in 2018, but with him on the field, they can be successful.
Comments: “Wagner is all over the field for the Seahawks and will have a lot of work to do this season with a lot of new parts on the team.” -Joe DiTullio
16. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
2017 stats: 4,334 passing yards, 23 passing touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 72% completion
He had the most efficient year of his career in 2017 and now Brees once again has a team around him that can compete for a Super Bowl. The improvement of the running game and defense takes some pressure off of Brees, but he is still playing at a very high level. Sean Payton and the Saints will be a team no one wants to play in 2018.
Comments: “Brees is a hands down Hall of Fame quarterback. His production went down last season. That’s not due to talent, but rather the emergence of a great running game.” -Cecil Walker
15. Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
2017 stats: 3,296 passing yards, 33 passing touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 60.2% completion
Wentz was one of the frontrunners to win the MVP before he went down with a torn ACL near the end of the season. Even so, he still had a great season and is the future of the Eagles’ franchise. He will want to have a great 2018 season after missing out on the Super Bowl victory.
Comments: “Wentz is for sure a top 15 quarterback, but not a top 15 player. He vastly improved from his first season to his second season, but he will be coming back from a torn ACL and LCL, something that is not easy to do. There are just better players in the league right now, plain and simple. But Wentz can definitely change that in the next few seasons.” -Josh Burris
14. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
2017 stats: 96 catches, 1,378 receiving yards, 13 receiving touchdowns
In five seasons, Hopkins has nearly 6,000 receiving yards. What is most impressive is that he hasn’t had a great quarterback in his career. He will be hoping that Deshaun Watson is back and healthy to give him a solid quarterback to work with. Either way, Hopkins will put up some big numbers again in 2018.
Comments: “Hopkins is one of the few receivers in the league that thrives even without a star quarterback. He has guys like had Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage throwing him passes, but his stats never dipped. Now it appears he will have a franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson throwing to him from here on out. He will be that much better.” -Josh Burris
13. Jalen Ramsey, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars
2017 stats: 63 total tackles, 4 interceptions, 17 passes defended
Ramsey had a solid rookie season in 2016, but took his season to another level in 2017. He made the Pro-Bowl and was an All-Pro playing on the opposite side of the field of A.J. Bouye. The sky is the limit for Ramsey, as he enters year three of his career.
Comments: “The best corner in the NFL. Enough said.”- Jay Louden
12. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
2017 stats: 69 receptions, 1,084 receiving yards, 8 receiving touchdowns
The best tight end in the game is Gronkowski, but he needs to be on the field in order to keep that title. He has had his fair share of injuries, although he did play in 14 games last season. With Tom Brady back for 2018 and a healthy Gronk, he will be productive for the Patriots again.
Comments: “When healthy, Gronkowski is the most unstoppable force in the NFL. No one defender can cover him straight up and that speaks volumes in football.” -Jay Louden
11. Khalil Mack, OLB, Oakland Raiders
2017 stats: 78 total tackles, 10.5 sacks, 3 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovered
Mack had a breakout 2015 season and has been a staple of discussions covering the NFL’s best defensive players. He did have his least productive season since 2015 last season in terms of sacks, but impacted the games in other ways. If Mack is on top of his game, it’ll help out the Raiders greatly this season.
Comments: “This ranking is precarious because of the news that he and Jon Gruden haven’t talked, but Mack is still one of the best defensive players in the NFL and will get after the quarterback.” -Joe DiTullio