We are breaking down the top 100 players in the NFL counting down from 100 and we are up to #50-#41. This group primarily features veterans who are used to seeing their name on this list and playing in the Pro Bowl.
#50: Khalil Mack – Chicago Bears
After making 6 straight Pro Bowls from 2015 through 2020, Mack only appeared in 7 games in 2021 before having his season cut short with a foot injury. Mack seemed to be on pace for another Pro Bowl with 6 sacks through only 7 games and a fumble recovery. With the injury ending him for the season, his age, and that he won’t be the best player on his defense in Los Angeles, Mack has taken a little bit of a slip on this list, but can easily rise up it.
#49: Jonathan Allen – Washington Commanders
Unlike Mack, it took Allen until his 5th season to make his first Pro Bowl. Allen put up career high numbers in his 2021 campaign and is forming a power blitz team with youngster Chase Young.
#48: Jeffery Simmons – Tennessee Titans
The stat boards do not give enough credit to how impactful a player that Jeffery Simmons is to the Tennessee Titans defense. Tennessee went from one of the worst defenses in the NFL to an above average unit over the last couple years. A large part of the front line’s efforts should be attributed to the leadership of Simmons and he should continue to rise on this list.
#47: Tristan Wirfs – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Only 2 years into his professional career, Wirfs has already made All-Rookie Team honors, First Team All-Pro Honors, a Pro Bowl, and won a Super Bowl. Quite an impressive resume for someone so young who is protecting arguably the greatest player to ever play the game in Tom Brady. With how successful Brady has been, some of that credit is definitely owed to the offensive line and how much Wirfs has contributed towards that.
#46: Rashawn Slater – Los Angeles Chargers
The 2021 1st round pick made this list in the top 50 after only one season. Slater was a starter from day 1 and quickly became a Pro Bowler as he helped catapult the career of Justin Herbert even further. Slater was very helpful in blocking to set Herbert up for success.
#45: Cameron Jordan – New Orleans Saints
The 7 time Pro Bowler made the 2010’s all-decade team for a reason. Jordan has been one of the top defensive players over the last decade. He racked up 12.5 sacks in 2021 during his age 32 season and it looks like no slowing down for the seasoned vet.
#44: Joel Bitonio – Cleveland Browns
The Browns didn’t have the 4th most rushing yards in the league without the help of their offensive line and veteran Joel Bitonio. Finally making his first team all-pro in 2021 was a long time coming for the run blocker who’s been great for the last 5 seasons.
#43: Xavien Howard – Miami Dolphins
The only player who’s had more interceptions in a season in recent years over Xavien Howard is Trevon Diggs. Howard had 10 interceptions in 2020 which earned him a large 5 year extension making him one of the highest paid defensive backs in the NFL. Howard continued off of his dominant 2020 campaign with 5 interceptions in 2021 and a fumble recovered for a touchdown.
#42: Trevon Diggs – Dallas Cowboys
The league leader in interceptions in 2021 was 2nd year Trevon Diggs. Diggs finished the season with a whopping 11 interceptions which is the most interceptions in a season since fellow Dallas Cowboy Everson Walls all the way back in 1981. This was an incredible season for Diggs and we look forward to the career he has ahead of him, he’s a very exciting player to watch.
#41: Russell Wilson – Denver Broncos
For only the 2nd time in his 10 year career, Russell Wilson & the Seattle Seahawks missed the playoffs. This collapse in 2021 is what led to the Seahawks parting ways with Wilson as it was time for him to move on. Wilson was traded to the Broncos in a blockbuster move that saw Drew Lock, Noah Fant, and a lot of draft capital move to Seattle. In all but one season Russell Wilson has made the Pro Bowl.