2021 NFL Top 100: 60-51
Welcome back to part six of my top 100 list for the 2021 NFL season. Yesterday, I released my players ranked from 70-61. If you missed that here is a link for those players.
NFL Top 100: 60-51
60.) Chris Godwin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Chris Godwin is so talented and if he can stay on the field he is a top ten receiver in the league. With a guy like Brady throwing him the football, Godwin’s numbers should be through the roof. I expect a big bounce back season from Godwin this season as he looks to stay fully healthy for the first time in the last two seasons. Over 100 targets, over 1,000 receiving yards and over 10 receiving touchdowns are coming for Godwin this year.
59.) Shaq Barrett (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Number 59 on this list is none other than Shaq Barrett. Barrett had another good campaign last season with the Buccaneers. Having eight sacks on the season and being a key part of the defense is what Barrett does best. Barrett has been the spark plug at linebacker that the Buccaneers have needed for years. He might be the franchise’s best linebacker since Derrick Brooks. Opposing offenses need to plan for Barrett, because he can easily take over a game at any moment.
58.) Jessie Bates (Cincinnati Bengals)
It is time for Jessie Bates to get the credit that he deserves. Bates has played three years in the league and has 100 or more tackles in every single season. He also has been fantastic in pass deflections as he had fifteen last season. Jessie Bates is an essential part to the Bengals defense and will continue to be in 2021.
57.) Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas Cowboys)
Coming in at number 57 is none other than Ezekiel Elliott. Zeke had a rough 2020 based on his standards that he has set for himself. With the Cowboys trailing in a lot of the games last season, Zeke’s carry total was not where it has been in the past. We saw a career low in yards per carry and tied a career low for rushing touchdowns in a single season. It was also the second time in his career where he didn’t rush for over 1,000 yards in a season as well. I am expecting a big bounce back year this year. With the Cowboys O-Line healthy and Dak ready to go for week one, we should see the old Zeke in 2021.
56.) Za’Darius Smith (Green Bay Packers)
Za’Darius Smith since coming over to Green Bay has been absolutely electric for that Packers front seven. In two years with the Packers he has a combined 26 sacks, which is more than he had in Baltimore for four years. He is one of the most improved pass rushers in the league. His ability to move in and out creates huge matchup problems for opposing teams offensive lineman. Watch out for number fifty five in the green and yellow because he will be a big time factor for the Packers defense this season yet again.
55.) Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens)
Lamar Jackson comes in at number 55 on my list. His numbers took a big dip in 2020. Lamar threw ten fewer passing touchdowns and 3 more interceptions than he did in his MVP year. Teams have figured out how to defend Lamar Jackson and we have seen that be an issue for him. If Lamar can’t run during a game, he isn’t as effective as he is when he can run his way out of trouble. Lamar’s passing ability isn’t great trust me when I say it. If Lamar has to rely on solely his arm, the Ravens are in big trouble. I do think Lamar’s mediocrity throwing the football is going to be the downfall of the Ravens this season.
54.) Michael Thomas (New Orleans Saints)
Michael Thomas had a plethora of issues last season and boy did it cost the Saints tremendously. Thomas set a career low in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns last season. He did not have a touchdown in the 2020 campaign. With Drew Brees retiring too, Thomas’ value could take a big hit in my opinion. If Michael Thomas doesn’t have a bounce back season we can start to see him getting labeled as a wide receiver that Drew Brees made great.
53.) Chandler Jones (Arizona Cardinals)
Here is one of the best pass rushers in the league. Chandler Jones when fully healthy in his NFL career has never finished a season with under 11 sacks in a season. Last year Jones only played in five games and you could see how much he was missed by Arizona. With the signing of JJ Watt, I do believe that Chandler Jones has a realistic chance at 20 sacks this season. Watch out because I do think that we will see the best version of Chandler Jones in 2021.
52.) Darius Leonard (Indianapolis Colts)
Darius Leonard might be the best middle linebacker in the NFL today. He is a two time All-Pro and has over 120 tackles in each of his first three seasons in the league. The Indianapolis Colts are going to have break the bank for Leonard when his contract is up after this season. Leonard is a force and the Colts defense will go as far as Leonard performs at an All-Pro level yet again in 2021.
51.) Budda Baker (Arizona Cardinals)
Baker rounds out my NFL Top 100, 60-51 at the #51 spot. Budda Baker is an absolutely one of the best safeties in the league today. Baker has over 100 tackles in three straight seasons and is a 2-time All-Pro. Arizona has one of the best secondary’s in the league. The way that Budda Baker has gotten into the league has completely changed the complexion of the Cardinals defense. With Budda Baker as the ball hawk safety that he is, expect him to go off this season yet again.
Those are my NFL Top 100, 60-51. Stay Tuned as 50-41 will be out Thursday 6/10/21.
-Chris Jones (@cjoneswho1212)