The off-season is the time to make outlandish takes - and many media pundits have taken advantage of just that. Whether it be ranking Marcus Mariota ahead of Tom Brady or even calling Julian Edelman a Hall of Famer, many “bold” opinions have left fans worried and puzzled. Thankfully USA Today’s Doug Farrar has put some sanity back into the football world, releasing his list of the Top 100 players in the NFL today.
Now by no means will anyone agree on every ranking on this list. For starters, I’d probably move Andrew Luck up around 10 spots. Farrar pretty much nails the entire list though - and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a whopping SEVEN Colts listed.
Let’s go through each and see what he had to say.
*Full article can be found here.*
91. OC Ryan Kelly
From Farrar: “Kelly has missed 13 games in the last two seasons because of injuries, and that may be the only reason he isn’t higher on the list. In any case, the 18th overall pick in the 2016 draft out of Alabama has been a highly touted player since his rookie season, and for good reason. In 885 snaps in the 2018 season, Kelly allowed one sack, three quarterback hits and eight quarterback hurries, and he put up strong performances when asked to turn on the power in the running game.”
74. CB Kenny Moore II
From Farrar: “If you’re not a Colts fan, you may well wonder who Moore is. But in his second NFL season, the undrafted Valdosta State alum became a star slot defender in many ways. Moore was targeted 68 times in the slot in 2018, allowing 54 receptions for 429 yards and 265 yards after the catch. He gave up one touchdown to four interceptions, and allowed an opponent passer rating of 73.3.”
59. LB Darius Leonard
From Farrar: “At 6-2 and 234 pounds, Leonard is credited with 4.7 speed, but he’s much faster on the field, and that’s what pops out when you watch his tape. He can cover sideline to sideline as a big safety would, but he tackles very much like an old-school linebacker. And his diagnostic abilities, which impress for a fifth-year player — never mind a rookie — allow him to be in the right place at the right time, nearly all the time. Leonard may have come out of nowhere in a relative sense, but nothing about his 2018 season was a fluke.”
55. FS Malik Hooker
From Farrar: “In just his second NFL season, Hooker became the recipient of the ultimate gesture of respect given a defensive back — an extreme lack of targets in relation to his snap totals. He was on the field for 977 snaps and saw just nine targets all season. He gave up four catches for 51 yards, 25 yards after the catch, one touchdown, two interceptions, two pass breakups and an opponent passer rating of 60.2.”
52. WR T.Y. Hilton
From Farrar: “One of the league’s most esteemed deep threats since he was taken in the third round of the 2012 draft out of Florida International, Hilton has taken the top off defenses even when Andrew Luck was injured. Last season, with Luck playing at a Comeback Player of the Year level after missing the entire 2017 campaign, Hilton caught 76 passes on 120 targets for 1,270 yards and six touchdowns. And as a deep threat, he was just about impossible to stop, with 16 catches on 17 catchable deep balls for 602 yards and two touchdowns.”
47. QB Andrew Luck
From Farrar: “The Comeback Player of the Year last season after missing the entire 2017 campaign following shoulder surgery, Luck had little trouble getting back on track in 2018, completing a career-high 67.3% of his passes for 4,593 yards, 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Luck flourished in Frank Reich’s offense, the most diverse and effective he’s had since Bruce Arians ran things early in his career, and though he was a bit cavalier with interceptions on deep throws and under-pressure plays, he was good enough overall to rank seventh in Football Outsiders’ opponent-adjusted quarterback metrics and ninth in per-play efficiency.”
43. OG Quenton Nelson
From Farrar: “There are those who believe it’s unwise to select a guard in the first 10 picks of a draft no matter how good that player may be. Those people may want to revise their opinion based on Nelson’s 2018 tape. Taken sixth overall by the Colts in the 2018 draft out of Notre Dame, Nelson immediately took a skill set that had me thinking he was the most talented player in his draft class regardless of position right to the NFL. In his rookie season, Nelson gave up two sacks early in the season and none thereafter, with 24 total pressures.”