A week ago, Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson released his list of the top 101 players in the NFL heading into 2016. This list isn’t just about the best players from last year but rather about the best players in the NFL right now. Three Colts players made the list, with cornerback Vontae Davis at number 93, quarterback Andrew Luck at 99, and punter Pat McAfee at number 101.
Those were the only Colts players included, but it’s reasonable to think that at the very least Andrew Luck could significantly climb up the rankings for next year. But what about other Colts players? Who are some others that didn’t make the list this year but who could make it next year?
That’s the question that Sam Monson set out to look at this week, as he listed ten players under 25 years old who could be on the list in a year. The Colts were very well represented on that list, as defensive end Henry Anderson came in at number one and guard Jack Mewhort was number seven.
Here’s what Monson wrote about Anderson:
I think if he had played the full season, Henry Anderson would have made the list after just his rookie year. Throughout their final seasons in college, I believed Anderson was a better player than Jets DE Leonard Williams, despite the disparity in their draft stock. Both players had excellent rookie years and were neck-and-neck in grading terms at the time Anderson went down injured, robbing us of a fascinating grading battle down the stretch. Anderson is a disruptive interior player for the Colts who was performing very well against the run, but should be able to bring pressure as a pass-rusher, too, in year two. If he can do that, I’d expect to see him make this list.
That’s high praise for Anderson, as Monson says that he likely would have made the list had he not torn his ACL in week nine. He’s a very good defensive lineman and really helped improve the defense overall, particularly in the run game. He quickly developed into one of the team’s best defensive players and best players overall, but his rookie season was cut short. If he can get healthy and contribute on the field the way he was last year, it’s very reasonable to think he could wind up on lists like this Pro Football Focus one next year.
Here’s what Monson wrote about Mewhort:
The Colts have had a poor O-line for some time now, but Jack Mewhort was a bright spot for that unit last season. Starting 14 games at left guard and two at right tackle, Mewhort didn’t allow a sack all season, and actually played reasonably at tackle as well as inside at guard. He ended the year with 1,129 total snaps and was very good as a run-blocker. That season was a definite improvement over his rookie year, but we have now seen back-to-back positively-graded seasons from Mewhort and his trajectory is trending in the right direction. He doesn’t need much of a step forward over the next season to force his way onto the list.
While I think most people who follow the Colts could have told you that Henry Anderson would appear on this list of players who could make the top 101 next year, it’s also great to see Jack Mewhort get some credit as well. He has given the Colts really solid play over the last two years, though it has gone under the radar because of the struggles of the unit as a whole. With improved talent around him (particularly at center with Ryan Kelly) and another good year, Mewhort could gain even more attention and could find himself on a list like this one.
I think both Henry Anderson and Jack Mewhort are deserving of the mention that they get on this list, as both players are young and have already impressed with their play. If they both continue to develop, they could find themselves on PFF’s Top 101 list next year - which would be really good news for the Colts.