The NFL Players' Top 100 has reached its nadir. The final ten players - numbers ten through number one - will be announced next Wednesday on NFL Network. The two-hour special will feature the top ten players as voted on by the players, as has been emphasized often.
Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins was finally introduced on the countdown on Wednesday night at No. 19 - sandwiched between Seahawks CB Richard Sherman at No. 20 and Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson at No. 18. Hopkins was the 2nd highest rated player on the countdown that wasn't ranked the year before (Cardinals QB Carson Palmer was at No. 12 and wasn't ranked in 2015).
Bengals WR AJ Green was listed at No. 16 and there are three more receivers on the list in the top ten - Giants Odell Beckham Jr., Steelers Antonio Brown and Falcons Julio Jones. According to the players, Hopkins is the 5th rated WR in the NFL, the 2nd youngest in that group (Beckham is younger by five months). Regardless, it's rarefied air for Nuk and a huge honor and respect from his peers.
That leaves the final ten players, if I've done my math properly, in alphabetical order.
Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Patriots QB Tom Brady
Steelers WR Antonio Brown
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski
Falcons WR Julio Jones
Panthers LB Luke Kuechly
Panthers QB Cam Newton
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
...and Texans DE J.J. Watt
Watt finished No. 1 in last year's rankings and won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season (third time in four years). He dealt with numerous injuries throughout the season so my guess is that the players will pay respect (top four at a minimum), but not name him number one again.
I'd put Watt at one, but again, I'm biased, so if I were to rank the top nine…
- Beckham Jr.
Hard not to put the league MVP (Newton) at No. 1, but seeing him up close this past season, he was found a way to change the game with both his legs and his arm. He was the most impressive player I saw all year long in 2015.
Where will J.J. land on the Players Top 100? Find out next Wednesday night on NFL Network (that's 212 on DirecTV - the rest of you are on your own), starting at 7 PM. If you're a gambling sort and your time is precious, you might want to wait until 8 PM to see the top five. I can't imagine Watt ending up outside the top five.
Regardless, if you are an NFL fan, NFL Films has done such a great job with this series. It just needs more Texans on the list for 2017.
WR DeAndre Hopkins--from Clemson to the Texans--is featured here in photos.