The NFL’s 101 best players, from Micah Hyde to Aaron Donald

By | July 27, 2022
Spread the love

Midsummer of every year is when we all make lists in this business. We’re not quite at the point of training camps in full bloom, free agency and the draft has eased off from a newsworthiness angle, and there’s still a need for clickable content. Ergo, we’re all ranking the NFL’s players in all possible ways.

Here’s how we’ve done it at Touchdown Wire over the last few seasons. Doug Farrar and Mark Schofield begin by ranking as many players as possible at as many positions at possible. This year, we ranked players at quarterback, running back, slot receiver, outside receiver, tight end, offensive tackle, offensive guard, center, interior defensive line, edge defender, linebacker, slot defender, outside cornerback, and safety.

We’ll get to long snappers next year, we promise.

The NFL’s top 13 safeties

The NFL’s top 12 slot defenders

The NFL’s top 12 outside cornerbacks

The NFL’s top 11 linebackers

The NFL’s top 11 edge defenders

The NFL’s top 12 interior defensive linemen

The NFL’s top 12 centers

The NFL’s top 11 offensive guards

The NFL’s top 11 offensive tackles

The NFL’s top 12 tight ends

The NFL’s top 11 slot receivers

The NFLs top 16 wide receivers

The NFL’s top 11 running backs

The NFL’s top 12 quarterbacks

What this allows us to do when it’s time to rank the NFL’s best players in a year, regardless of position, is to avoid overloading our list with certain positions. Because we’re limited to 12 quarterbacks (or however many Mark decides to list in a given year), we can’t throw 20 quarterbacks in the 101 at the expense of other positions.

All 12 of Mark’s quarterbacks made the top 101 list, because quarterback is the most important position, but we’re not going to throw Jimmy Garoppolo or Jared Goff in here just because. We also have 12 outside receivers, 11 outside cornerbacks, nine safeties, eight edge rushers, eight interior defensive linemen, seven linebackers, seven offensive guards, seven offensive tackles, seven running backs, six tight ends, three positions, three specific slot defenders, and one specific slot receiver.

Perhaps that tells you which positions we think are most important in the NFL today, if nothing else.

The methodology for this list (and all our positional lists) was this: We took what we remembered from the 2021 season and what we accentuated with offseason tape study. Then, we pored over the advanced metrics at Sports Info Solutions, Pro Football Focus, and Football Outsiders. From there, we put together our positional lists based on additional tape study, just to make sure the numbers, and our memories, aligned with what the tape told us over the summer.

Sometimes, it did, other times, not so much.

There are also all kinds of new players on this Top 101 list that weren’t here last year – a massive influx of young players who are seeing the light come on. Occasionally, that happens in a player’s rookie season. More often, it’s a multi-year process for a player to reach the elite at the highest possible level of football. Either way, it bodes well for the future.

As for the guy up top… well, we’ve seen him quite a bit before.

So here, without further ado, are Touchdown Wire’s 101 best players in the NFL today.

.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.