Oh NFL Top 100, how we love to poke fun at thee...
The league-owned NFL Network needs stuff to put on their TV schedule during the offseason, which likely spawned their Top 100 players list; a list which often has fun poked at it as fans debate the legitimacy of some the choices, and more, where they rank. Regardless, members of Steelers Nation still love to see their favorites mentioned among the best of the best.
That's where we are in the Top 100 list heading into the final two weeks of "reveal" shows (where ten players each Monday are announced until we get to whoever is selected as number one overall). With another ten gone yesterday,
To date, three members of the Pittsburgh Steelers have been announced as part of the Top 100: G David DeCastro (44), LB Ryan Shazier (47), and DE Cameron Heyward (48). With only twenty spots remaining, we can make an educated guess on the final players who will be named to the list.
I have a gut feeling three Steelers will be among those named as part of the final twenty players revealed, as three of the four who made the 2017 list have yet to be revealed on this year's edition. Here are the Killer B's, er, candidates.
Dropping one spot from 21 to 22 in the 2017 rankings, Roethlisberger has yet to have his name mentioned. In those previous rankings I had often questioned the quarterbacks named ahead of him, such as Derek Carr and Dak Prescott. In all, a total of 16 quarterbacks, half of all starters in the league, were named as the "Top 100" players on the 2017 list.
How you can say half of the league's passers are the best players is beyond the scope of this conversation, but now you can see why people get upset with these made-up rankings.
This year's list has ten quarterbacks named so far. Among those named ahead of Ben last year, the aforementioned Carr and Falcons QB Matt Ryan have already been named. There's still plenty of room for Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, and Tom Brady to hit the list too, which means Ben is either considered to be one of the top five passers in the league (and top twenty players overall) or he's going to be left off of the list entirely.
My thought is that Big Ben will be named on the next show, maybe even climbing another spot or two to 19 or 20. He's more than deserving of the recognition too, following a 2017 season in which Roethlisberger finished fifth in passing yards, attempts, and touchdowns.
He also finished placed fourth in picks, so I don't anticipate him moving too far up the list, and based on his previous rankings, should he be revealed as part of the top twenty players, that would already be an improvement from prior seasons' lists.
Bell bounced from 41 in 2016 to 9 on the list last season.
After having the most rushing attempts, third-most rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, and adding 85 receptions for 655 yards (also third-most for a running back) I anticipate seeing Le'Veon among the top ten players once again this season's rankings.
He'll have some competition, however. Saints RB Alvin Kamara and Rams RB Todd Gurley haven't been ranked yet, and are also deserving. I would be shocked if Kamara were ranked ahead of Bell, but not Gurley: Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (who missed a portion of the 2017 season) came ahead of Bell in the 2017 rankings by two spots.
With so many backs making the list the last few seasons, maybe running backs shouldn't be as devalued as Bell thinks? (We shall see!)
The G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) was robbed of even being named the top receiver on the 2017 list, coming in one spot behind top-ranked Julio Jones who was named the third-best overall player in those rankings.
Antonio Brown has been ranked fourth overall for each of the last two top 100 lists, and if not for an injury which cost him a portion of the Patriots game and two additional games of the 2017 season which followed, may have done the unthinkable and attained nearly 2,000 yards receiving.
Despite the setback, Brown still topped Julio Jones for the league-lead in receiving yards with 1,533 to 1,444.
Jones played 16 games...
It will be interesting to see where AB, who finished fifth in receptions (and only 11 behind Jarvis Landry) lands on this year's list. Landry came in at 52, while Keenan Allen, who finished with one catch more than Antonio, is ranked 41st overall.
Cardinals stalwart Larry Fitzgerald was just announced to the list at 27, while the Saints Michael Thomas (104 receptions in 2017) was ranked way lower at 81. Jones and Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (25 catches, 302 yards and 3 touchdowns in four games last season) have yet to be named to the list.
Despite deserving of the accolade, I highly doubt Brown will be named the top overall player on this year's list. However, it will be a bitter pill to swallow if he's not the top overall ranked player at his position, as he out-ranked Julio Jones in both receptions and yards while playing two fewer games... and still led the league in receiving.
If that's not good enough to be in the top five and simultaneously the best receiver out of the Top 100, then we can definitely rip this list to shreds!