We are counting down the top 100 players in the NFL and we’ve gotten down to the last few spots with the #20-11 slot here. This group is seriously talented with many players being the next generation of elite talent in the NFL and we look forward to seeing them jump into the top 10 over the coming seasons.
#20: Quenton Nelson – Indianapolis Colts
Outside of Jonathan Taylor’s own talent, there’s another huge factor in Taylor’s success and that’s the Colts offensive line which is led by all-pro guard Quenton Nelson. 4 straight all-pro & pro bowl honors to start his career is quite an accomplishment. With a new quarterback in town, we have high hopes for this Colts team and know Nelson will get the job done whether it’s protecting Matty Ice or JT.
#19: Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs
In a bold move, the Kansas City Chiefs selected Patrick Mahomes 10th overall in the 2017 draft despite already having Alex Smith as their starting quarterback. The Chiefs also started Smith that whole year while Mahomes sat on the bench. It proved to pay off as Mahomes got the job in 2018 which he then went on to throw 50 touchdowns and has made 4 straight pro bowls. The Chiefs helped set the tone for other teams to draft the quarterback of the future while still having an aging veteran quarterback. Mahomes takes a bit of a dip on this list from last season as star weapon Tyreek Hill was traded to Miami and we don’t know how well he’ll fare without him and how long Kelce can keep up his dominant pace for either.
#18: Stefon Diggs – Buffalo Bills
It still feels like it was yesterday that the Minneapolis Miracle happened as it was one of the best moments in Vikings history. Diggs was an above-average receiver up until that point but has since catapulted his game and even further since pairing up with an elite quarterback like Josh Allen in Buffalo. Diggs has had the 2 best seasons of his career the last 2 years and even led the league in both receptions and receiving yards in 2020.
#17: Nick Chubb – Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns trading Carlos Hyde to the Jaguars during the 2018 season was one of the best things that they could have done. This led to rookie Nick Chubb taking over as starter halfway through the season and still almost racking up 1,000 yards. Since then he’s averaged over 1,200 rushing yards per season and that’s even with Kareem Hunt being in the picture splitting touches as well. Chubb is a pure runner who can make explosive plays happen. We expect Chubb to play a big role with the 11 game suspension of Deshaun Watson to start the season.
#16: Justin Jefferson – Minnesota Vikings
Justin Jefferson set the rookie receiving record in 2020 only for it to be broken a year later by his former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase. Jefferson still had an impressive 2021 campaign finishing 2nd in receiving yards with over 1,600 yards. In any other season, that would have been good enough to take the cake, but Cooper Kupp had an unreal season. Through 2 seasons and with having Kirk Cousins as his quarterback, Jefferson has averaged over 1,500 yards per season which is an incredible feat. Jefferson and his griddy can continue climbing up this list.
#15: Micah Parsons – Dallas Cowboys
The highest debut of any player on this list is Micah Parsons who comes in all the way at #15. The Cowboys hit a home run with drafting Parsons all the way at #12 as he had about as good of a season as a rookie linebacker could have. Parsons wasn’t just the best defensive rookie in the NFL in 2021, he was the best linebacker in the NFL. A whopping 13 sacks earned him all-pro honors and the Butkus award.
#14: Jonathan Taylor – Indianapolis Colts
The 2021 NFL rushing leader in not only rushing yards but touchdowns as well. Jonathan Taylor was an absolute monster in 2021 with 1,800+ yards and 18 touchdowns. With his division rivals getting worse and the Colts getting better, we expect just as strong of a season for 2022 for Jonathan Taylor. Marlon Mack is also out of the picture and a less mobile quarterback means even more opportunities for Jonathan Taylor to get touches. Taylor has a heck of an offensive line protecting him and if he can continue on this path, he’ll take over the title as the best running back in the NFL.
#13: Cooper Kupp – Los Angeles Rams
With the 2nd most receiving yards in a season, Cooper Kupp exploded in 2021. The connection with Matthew Stafford was too much for opposing defenses and led to Kupp winning the Super Bowl MVP. We hope to see Kupp have the same impact in 2022, but we expect a bit of a drop in volume of touches as Allen Robinson is an upgrade over Robert Woods & OBJ at this point in his career and both Akers & Henderson will be healthy to allow for fewer opportunities to throw the ball. Kupp is still amongst the elite, but we’d like to see him repeat this before giving him the top receiver title.
#12: Justin Herbert – Los Angeles Chargers
Breaking multiple rookie passing records, Justin Herbert easily earned himself rookie of the year honors. In his 2nd year, Herbert topped that and earned Pro Bowl honors finishing 2nd in passing yards by a quarterback behind the legend himself Tom Brady. With guys like Brady & Rodgers on their way out, this paves the path for the new wave of elite quarterbacks like Herbert to take over the NFL. Herbert is only getting better by the season and he’ll look to take the next step by leading his team to a playoff run.
#11: Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans
One of only 8 players in the history of the NFL to eclipse 2,000 yards rushing in a season, Derrick Henry has been one of the most dominant running backs in the NFL. Henry is the most naturally talented running back right now in the league and is a pure freak of nature. The Titans offense revolved around the King and he’s putting on highlight reels after highlight reels. Henry is one of the most exciting players to watch.