Tonight, the “NFL Top 100 Players of 2018” concludes with a two-hour finale in which the top ten players in the NFL, as voted by the players, will be revealed. The voting process for the Top 100 is very far from perfect, but it’s still interesting to see where players land on the list—and in my opinion, by far the best part of the Top 100 is hearing the praise the players give one another. Here are the ten players that will be revealed tonight:
Le’Veon Bell (Steelers RB)
Tom Brady (Patriots QB)
Drew Brees (Saints QB)
Antonio Brown (Steelers WR)
Aaron Donald (Rams DL)
Todd Gurley (Rams RB)
Julio Jones (Falcons WR)
Von Miller (Broncos DE)
Aaron Rodgers (Packers QB)
Carson Wentz (Eagles QB)
This is the order I think they will be revealed tonight (not my personal opinion).
10. Le’Veon Bell
Last season, Le’Veon Bell was ranked ninth in the Top 100, so I expect him to come in the bottom half of the top ten again for 2018. Overall, he arguably had a better season in 2016 than he did last year, and more running backs (like Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara) exploded onto the scene, which could have taken some votes away from him. I expect Bell will be one of the first names revealed in the finale.
9. Aaron Rodgers
The Top 100 is supposed to be a prediction of the top players for this upcoming season; but again, the voting process is less than ideal, and it doesn’t turn out the way it’s intended. Because Aaron Rodgers missed much of last season, it might knock him down lower than he’d normally be if he was healthy during the year. Also, Rodgers surprisingly wasn’t in the top five on last year’s countdown after a healthy season, so this is probably about where he’ll be.
8. Von Miller
Von Miller and the Broncos did not have the season they are used to in 2018. But based on reputation alone, the former Super Bowl MVP will be near the top of many players’ lists. The Broncos had the worst team of any remaining player’s team in 2018, and Miller (who had only ten sacks last season, which is a down year for him) might not have been in the forefront of some minds during the voting.
7. Drew Brees
On the flip side, the Saints got back into the postseason for the first time since 2013, and it led to Drew Brees getting in the top ten despite 874 less yards and 14 less touchdowns from the season before. Team success is important for these lists (every top-ten player’s team except Rodgers and Miller was in the postseason last year), and it could lead to Brees being in the top five. And while overall his numbers dipped, Brees just set the single-season record for completion percentage.
6. Todd Gurley
As stated earlier, there are a lot of good running backs in the league, so maybe Todd Gurley is lower than this because of the options to vote for at the position. However, Gurley was a big catalyst in the Rams’ turnaround, as he was the focus of Sean McVay’s offense (and a lot of people’s fantasy teams). Gurley’s 2,093 total yards and 19 touchdowns (rushing and receiving) both led the NFL, and his gamebreaking plays made a lot of highlight reels.
5. Carson Wentz
Speaking of making highlight reels, Carson Wentz’s theatrics last season are a primary reason I believe he’ll make the top five in this year’s Top 100. Defensive players have to respect Wentz’s ability to evade their grasps, and a lot of offensive players probably wish they could pull off the magic acts the Eagles quarterback does. Perhaps Nick Foles playing just as well in Doug Pederson’s offense will knock Wentz down a bit, but a lot of the voting might have been done before that Super Bowl run even happened.
4. Aaron Donald
A defensive player seems likely to get into the top five, and I think Aaron Donald could get the nod over Von Miller this year. In his first season in Wade Phillips’ 3-4 defense, Donald was his usual dominant self while helping the Rams get back to the playoffs. Donald’s 11.0 sacks topped Miller’s total, and the players are probably impressed the All-Pro put up those numbers while adjusting to a new scheme.
3. Antonio Brown
As usual, Antonio Brown consistently dominated last season, catching 101 passes while leading the league in receiving. AB is a lock for top five for a third straight year.
2. Julio Jones
The debate between Antonio Brown and Julio Jones is one of the NFL’s biggest debates. In 2016, Brown was a few spots higher than Jones on the Top 100. But in 2017, Jones was higher than his fellow All-Pro, coming in at No. 3 (behind only Tom Brady and Von Miller). I just have a feeling he’ll again be the second-highest offensive player in the rankings, in part because he’s just a freak.
1. Tom Brady
I wouldn’t be shocked if another player topped the Top 100 Players for 2018, but Tom Brady is a good bet to take the number one spot. At age 40, Brady had another spectacular season and took home his third league MVP before throwing for a Super Bowl record 505 yards (along with three touchdowns) in a loss to the Eagles. Brady is probably in the top three-to-five on every player’s list, and he’ll probably be the last named revealed on the countdown.