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 fourth installment, containing players 70-61.
70. Brandon Graham, DE, Philadelphia Eagles
2017 stats: 47 total tackles, 9.5 sacks, 3 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 touchdown
Graham was part of a very deep and talented defensive line that helped the Eagles win the Super Bowl. He had the best sack total of his career also helped in the run game. In 2018, the Eagles’ defensive line will have even more good players, which will take even more attention away from Graham.
Comments: “Graham should be much higher on this list, at least top 40. He is one of the top defensive ends in the league, and has completely outgrown his original “bust” label. This year, even though he only had 9.5 sacks, he had 83 pressures which were the second most in the league. In the Super Bowl, Brandon Graham made the biggest play in Philadelphia Eagles history, strip-sacking Tom Brady and essentially clinching the championship.”- Pranay Malempati
69. Darius Slay, CB, Detroit Lions
2017 stats: 60 total tackles, 8 interceptions, 26 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery
Slay tied Kevin Byard with the most interceptions in the league with eight. Those interceptions along with his 26 passes defended help show off his elite ball skills. The Lions ranked 27th in the NFL in yards allowed for 2017 but ranked eighth in points allowed per game, which has a lot to do with Slay’s defense. At 27-years-old Slay is entering his prime and is poised for a big 2018.
Comments: “Slay is not just a good corner, but elevates the play of the whole Lions’ defense. His ball skills can help change the game.” -Joe DiTullio
68. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Los Angeles Rams
2017 stats: 48 total tackles, 4.5 sacks, 2 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles
Suh is not the player he once was, but still is disruptive. His full impact on a game will not be reflected in the stat sheet. This season, Suh will be able to line up next to Aaron Donald and be a part of a great defensive line. His level of play should increase in Los Angeles.
Comments: “Suh is a dominant run stopper and also takes up multiple blockers in the pass rush. With Aaron Donald, he will form a deadly combo on the Rams D-line” -Pranay Malempati
67. J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans
2017 stats: 15 total tackles, 2 passes defended
When healthy, Watt is a top ten player in the league. He has not been able to stay healthy the last two seasons, only playing in eight games over that span. When he did play last season, he didn’t look like his usual self. A lot of our panelists were afraid of his injuries piling up, but he ends up on the list because if anyone can come back from these injuries, it’s Watt.
Comments: “He’s been hurt the last two seasons but before that he was a three-time Defensive Player of the year. Everyone is rooting for Watt and will want to prove that he is still the best defensive player in the game. If healthy, Watt will be a top 10 player next season and reclaim his status at the top . The problem is we just don’t know if he’ll be healthy.” -Pranay Malempati
66. Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
2017 stats: 1,699 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 61.8% completion, 2 rushing touchdowns
Watson burst onto the scene last season and proved he can not only make it in the NFL, but has the potential to be a star. There are concerns over his injury history (he now has had two ACL tears) and the fact that he hasn’t yet played one full season yet. If he stays on his current trajectory, he will move up this list big time next season.
Comments: “Watson had a great start to his career. In only seven games he took the league by storm. There is some need to be cautious about his season as he recovers from his ACL tear and prepares for his first full season as a starting quarterback.” -Joe DiTullio
65. Lavonte David, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2017 stats: 101 total tackles, 1 pass defended, 5 forced fumbles, 5 fumble recoveries, 1 touchdown
David tied for second in the league in forced fumbles, cementing his status as one of the best linebackers in the league. He will have more of a responsibility early in the season, as Jameis Winston is out for the first three games. David will be on the field more for that stretch and should elevate the team’s play throughout the year.
Comments: “David is a player that has all the physical tools it takes to be successful; however, his biggest challenge consistency. After being named a first team all-pro in 2013, he’s only made the prow bowl once. Hopefully he can return to his elite form and elevate the Bucs’ defense in 2018.”
64. Landon Collins, S, New York Giants
2017 stats: 104 total tackles, 2 interceptions, 6 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries
After two straight Pro Bowl appearances, Collins is well on his way to a great NFL career. He does it all for the Giants, which includes leading them in tackles and covering well. The Giants were thought to be a contender last season, but ultimately didn’t live up to expectations. With another solid season from Collins, with the rest of the team stepping up, the Giants should be more competitive.
Comments: “Landon Collins is among the league’s best at safety and his all-around game allows him to cover up mistakes made by Janoris Jenkins and company.”
63. Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
2017 stats: 4,515 passing yards, 28 passing touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 62.6% completion
Rivers will be trying to get his first Super Bowl ring in 2018 and finally has a quality team around him to try and go get it. While he is one of the older quarterbacks in the league he is still playing at an incredibly high level with the second most passing yards in the league. This season might see Rivers slip a little bit due to age, but if the rest of the team plays up to expectations, the Chargers can go deep in the playoffs.
Comments: “The ninth all-time leading passer in NFL history not only is still slinging the ball all over the field, but now has a team around him to compete. With a good defense and offensive weapons, and decent protection, the sky is the limit for Rivers and the Chargers this season.” -Joe DiTullio
62. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
2017 stats: 109 receptions, 1,156 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns
The ageless wonder, Fitzgerald will be entering his 15th season in the league in 2018. The soon-to-be 35-year-old had his third consecutive season of over 100 catches and 1,000 receiving yards last year. His new task will be working with rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, but Fitzgerald has always contributed, even when the quarterback play has been mediocre.
Comments: ” It seems like Larry Fitzgerald’s been “old” for years, but he’s put up over 100 catches and 1000 yards the last 3 seasons with no sign of slowing down. No matter who his quarterback is, Fitz is a rock on the Cardinals offense.” -Pranay Malempati
“Fitzgerald has been one of the most reliable receivers during his time in the NFL. Last season he caught 109 passes for 1,156 yards. It was his third straight season with over 100 catches at age 34. Nobody disputes the greatness of Fitzgerald, but he will be 35 in August and entering his 14th season in the league. This ranking might be a bit high for the future Hall of Famer.” -Josh Burris
61. Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders
2017 stats: 3,496 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 62.7% completion
Carr had to go through a lot last season, including playing through a back injury. It looked like he took a step back after a great 2016, but Carr still has plenty of reasons to be optimistic about this season. For starters, he gets to work with Jon Gruden, who might be able to take his game to the next level. He also now has Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant (if not suspended) to go along with Amari Cooper. The loss of Michael Crabtree won’t be easy to overcome, but Carr should feel happy with the moves the organization has made to help him out.
Comments: “Carr had a disappointing 2017 season. After leading Oakland to the playoffs in the previous season with 12 wins as the starter, Carr won just six games and had just over double the interceptions. Hopefully Carr can shake off his injury history and reach his full potential as a starting quarterback. He’s definitely capable of this ranking.” -Josh Burris