PFN’s Top 100 NFL Players of 2020

    Last month, the Pro Football Network staff voted for their top NFL players heading into the 2020 season. The results have been compiled and the player coming in at number one may surprise you.

    PFN’s Top 100 NFL Players of 2020

    With the NFL’s offseason having quieted down to a whisper over the last few months, football fans everywhere have been optimistically anticipating the opening of training camps in late July. In the meantime, the staff at Pro Football Network recently took part in a survey to identify the top 100 NFL players of 2020. After all, what better time than now to wade into the murky waters of ranking the game’s best players?

    To be clear, the PFN staff was asked to identify who they believed were the best players in the NFL heading into the 2020 season. Each participant provided a list of their top 100 NFL players. Then using a weighted formula, these lists were used to compile the final rankings you see below.

    PFN Top 100 Players of 2020
    100-76 | 75-51 | 50-26 | 25-11 | 10-1

    Throughout the week, a new installment of these rankings was released daily with commentary provided by various PFN writers and podcasters. Today marks the completion as we unveil our top 10 players of 2020.

    PFN’s Top 100 NFL Players of 2020: 100 through 76

    Commentary provided by PFN NFL Columnist Tommy Call. Follow him on Twitter @tommy_III.

    100) Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons

    Playing alongside one of the best pass-catchers in the NFL should benefit anyone’s career. However, since entering the league out of Alabama in 2018, Calvin Ridley is proving he’s no sidekick.

    In his debut season, Ridley led all wide receivers with 64 receptions, 821 yards, and ten touchdowns. As a rookie, the Alabama product finished the season in the top 15 of Pro Football Network’s Offensive Share Metric.

    While the Falcons rough start to 2019 stunted Ridley’s progression, the sophomore wideout still finished the year with over 800 yards receiving. Despite missing the final three games due to injury, Ridley still managed to lead the Falcons with seven touchdown receptions.

    Related | 2020 Fantasy Football Projections: NFC Edition

    If Ridley’s first two seasons are any indication of where his career is headed, there’s a strong chance the 25-year-old pass-catcher will continue to climb PFN’s list in the future.

    99) Joe Thuney, OG, New England Patriots

    For a team that has no problem letting go of their top-end talent, there’s a reason Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots placed their franchise tag on offensive guard Joe Thuney.

    The Ironman workhorse has been a staple in Tom Brady’s protection in New England. Since entering the league in 2016, Thuney has started every contest for the Patriots. On his way to earning an NFL second-team All-Pro nod in 2019, the 27-year-old turned in a clean sheet for the Patriots, committing zero penalties. 

    After coming in at number seven in Matthew ValdovinosPro Football Network Interior Offensive Line Rankings, Thuney breaks just inside the PFN Top 100. 

    98) Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

    When he entered the NFL, Nick Chubb joined a backfield with a pair of proven veterans in Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson Jr. However, it only took the rookie back a handful of games to be anointed Cleveland’s lead back. As a rookie in 2018, Chubb ranked behind only Mark Ingram in Pro Football Network’s Offensive Share Metric among running backs.

    In his second season, Chubb doubled-down on his impressive rookie campaign. As the feature back in Cleveland, the Georgia product scurried to nearly 1,500 yards on the ground with eight touchdowns. The former second-round draft pick’s 1494 yards rushing was second in the league behind only Tennessee’s Derrick Henry.

    Related | Setting expectations for the Cleveland Browns running back duo

    If Chubb can parlay his sophomore run into another jump in year three, expect Baker Mayfield’s backfield mate to be listed significantly higher on PFN’s top 100 list next year.

    97) Frank Clark, DE, Kansas City Chiefs

    If you talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. In dialing up eight sacks on his way to a Super Bowl run, it’s safe to say Frank Clark walked the walk. After racking up 32 sacks over three seasons in Seattle, Clark moved from the Pacific Northwest to the Kansas City Chiefs.

    In his first season with the Chiefs, the former Michigan Wolverine linked up with Chris Jones to form one of the league’s toughest defensive line duos. With the pressure leveling up in the playoffs, Clark turned up the volume. Number 55 led the postseason with five sacks and ranked behind only San Francisco’s Nick Bosa for pressures with 17.

    After a thrilling playoff run, Clark earned the number 97 spot in the PFN Top 100.

    96) Laremy Tunsil, OT, Houston Texans

    At the start of training camp, the Miami Dolphins set off an NFL earthquake by dealing former first-rounder Laremy Tunsil to the Houston Texans. Despite his high cost, the Ole Miss product proved worthy of his price tag during his first season in Houston.

    Since joining the Texans, Tunsil has been in charge of protecting prized quarterback Deshaun Watson. With Tunsil in front of him, the former Clemson Tiger signal-caller passed for 3,852 yards and 26 touchdowns. Tunsil’s massive frame and high caliber athletic ability helped anchor the Texans offensive line in their run to the AFC South crown.

    After earning a bid to the Pro Bowl in his Houston debut, the Texans rewarded their left tackle by signing him to a three year, $66 million contract.

    At only 25-years-old, if Tunsil can continue to improve, 2020 won’t be the last time he lands in the PFN’s Top 100.

    95) Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans

    After a handful of injury-laden and underwhelming seasons for the Miami Dolphins, Ryan Tannehill looked like his career was heading to the bench. Over the 2019 offseason, the Dolphins moved their former first-round selection to the Tennessee Titans. After backing up Marcus Mariota for six weeks, Tannehill was handed the keys to the Titans offensive attack.

    Related | Why being traded to Titans was best long-term move for Tannehill

    The former Texas A&M quarterback (and wide receiver) led the Titans to seven victories in their final 10 weeks. On his way to earning the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award, Tannehill passed for 22 touchdowns and six interceptions as the starter in Tennessee. Although Derrick Henry accounted for a bulk of the run, Tannehill was a key factor in Tennessee’s streak to the AFC Championship Game. In the playoffs, the 31-year-old passer threw for 369 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.

    While he may be number 95 on the PFN Top 100, Tannehill posted the top Offensive Share Metric score on PFN’s scale in 2019 at 34.36.

    94) Richard Sherman, CB, San Francisco 49ers

    If this list was formed a few years in the past, there’s a strong chance Richard Sherman would find his name somewhere near the top. However, don’t let the age fool you, the five-time Pro Bowler is still producing at a very high level.

    Sherman helped captain one of the league’s best defenses on a trip to the Super Bowl for San Francisco. Beyond arguably the NFL’s top defensive front, Sherman picked up a trio of interceptions, a pick-six and 11 pass deflections. The 32-year-old corner earned second-team All-Pro honors for the first time since 2015. However, Sherman’s numbers in the box score may not do him justice.

    The Stanford product is the unquestioned leader of San Francisco’s top defense. The leadership Sherman brings to the young 49ers is worthy of him getting a spot on PFN’s top 100 list.

    93) Marcus Williams, S, New Orleans Saints

    While Marcus Williams will always take jabs from a handful of notable bad plays, the New Orleans Saints’ safety has quietly developed into one of the league’s most underrated defensive backs. Williams wasn’t able to match his play from his exciting rookie campaign in year two. However, the former Utah Ute bounced back in a big way in 2019.

    In 15 starts, Williams was listed third in the league for safety pass deflections with a career-high 13. Williams added a bevy of turnovers for the Saints defense with four interceptions (one pick-six) and a forced fumble. Since joining New Orleans, the 23-year-old’s 10 career interceptions rank higher than his Pro Bowl teammate Marshon Lattimore (8).

    If Williams can replicate his production from last season in 2020, he’ll quickly fade the noise from his past mistakes as he approaches Pro Bowl territory for the first time

    92) Marlon Humphrey, CB, Baltimore Ravens

    In only three seasons in the NFL, Marlon Humphrey has already cemented himself as one of the league’s top corners. The former Baltimore Ravens’ first-rounder enjoyed a breakout season in 2019 that led to a Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro nod. 

    Humphrey posted 14 pass deflections, three interceptions, three fumble recoveries with two going for touchdowns, and a pair of forced fumbles. 

    Despite his already long list of NFL accolades — including “member of the PFN Top 100,” Humphrey is only 24-years-old with plenty of room to grow. The Nick Saban product ranked at number four in PFN’s top 25 cornerbacks heading into the 2020 season.

    91) Dont’a Hightower, LB, New England Patriots

    With the move from Tom Brady to Cam Newton, the New England Patriots are going through a transition on offense. However, on the defensive side of the football, one constant remains the same. In 2020, Dont’a Hightower will return to the middle of Bill Belichick’s defense for the ninth consecutive season.

    In 2019, the veteran linebacker enjoyed a well balanced season that filled the stat sheet. Hightower ripped off 5.5 sacks (his high since 2014), 71 total tackles, 13 quarterback pressures and a new career-high in pass deflections with four. Hightower’s rejuvenated 2019 earned him not only a spot in the PFN Top 100 but a ticket to the Pro Bowl for the first time since 2016.

    90) Stephon Tuitt, DT, Pittsburgh Steelers

    When looking at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense, Pro Bowlers and former first-round picks pop up all over the field. The Steelers have one of the league’s star-studded defensive units from TJ Watt and Cameron Heyward to Minkah Fitzpatrick, Joe Haden and Devin Bush. While the aforementioned group is flooded with accolades, Stephon Tuitt is quietly creating a name of his own. 

    After a handful of solid seasons in Pittsburgh, Tuitt competed at an All-Pro level in 2019 before an injury disrupted his effective campaign. In six games, the former Notre Dame standout registered six tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, seven quarterback hits and 22 combined tackles. Tuitt’s season ended with a torn pectoral muscle he suffered in Week 6. 

    If Tuitt can match his 2019 production in 2020, the Steelers defensive lineman will quickly move up the PFN Top 100.

    89) Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams

    Since joining the Los Angeles Rams, Robert Woods has served as the ultimate complement alongside Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp in Sean McVay’s offense. With a down year from Cooks in 2019 and Kupp coming off an injury, the USC product recorded his highest OSM score of 36.93 since 2016. It was the first time Woods ranked in the top 10 in Offensive Share Metric for wide receivers. After recording back-to-back seasons with over 1,100 receiving yards, Woods recorded 90 receptions for the first time in his career in 2019.

    Although Woods may not lead the conversation when discussing the league’s top-passer catchers, number 89 on the PFN list is one of the NFL’s most consistent wideouts.

    88) Demario Davis, LB, New Orleans Saints

    In the ever-evolving game of football, the linebacker position is going through some changes. Speed and coverage ability are becoming more important compared to previously when downhill hitters once thrived. Despite consistent modifications to his post, Demario Davis has grown with the curve during his eight-year career in the middle of the field. For the third straight season, Davis record over 100 tackles, while swiping four sacks.

    In 2019, Davis separated his game in coverage, deflecting a career-high 12 passes. The Arkansas State product added one interception as well on his way to earning first-team All-Pro honors.

    Although he’s entering 2020 at 31-years-old, Davis’ continued progression in New Orleans could earn him another bid on the PFN Top 100 next year.

    87) Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions

    Despite only having Matthew Stafford for eight games, Kenny Golladay still recorded a noteworthy season in his third NFL campaign. With only 65 receptions for Detroit, Golladay was the definition of a big-play threat. The Northern Illinois phenom tallied receptions of 75, 66, 59, 47 and 42 on the season. Golladay ranked in the top 10 in receiving with 1,190 yards while grabbing double-digit touchdowns for the first time in his career. The third-year receiver topped the NFL with 11 touchdown receptions in 2019.

    The former third-round pick capped off his breakout season with a PFN OSM score of 27.69 in 2019, the highest score of his young career. After recording back-to-back 1,000 yard receiving seasons, expect Golladay to continue his run through the PFN Top 100 with a healthy Stafford under center.

    86) Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders

    The first rookie to crack the PFN Top 100 comes in at number 86 with Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders. The Alabama product quickly proved he was worthy of the first-round pick, rushing for 1,150 yards in only 13 games in the Raiders’ final season in Oakland. Jacobs added seven rushing touchdowns on his way to earning a spot on the PFWA All-Rookie Team.

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    In his first season, Jacobs (16.14) ranked ahead of fellow running backs Ezekial Elliott (15.05), Dalvin Cook (14.73) and Alvin Kamara (13.69) when it came to PFN’s Offensive Share Metric for 2019.

    With the Raiders going through a transition period in their first season, Jacobs could be in line to take over as the new face of Silver and Black football in Las Vegas.

    85) Ryan Kelly, C, Indianapolis Colts

    While guard Quenton Nelson gets much credit for the Indianapolis Colts’ nasty interior offensive line, Ryan Kelly has earned his spot in the PFN Top 100 for a reason.

    Since getting drafted by the Colts in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Kelly has quickly taken over as one of the league’s top centers. Kelly served as the glue inside Indianapolis’ top-five rushing attack.

    After dealing with injuries in 2017 and 2018, Kelly returned to the field strong, allowing only one sack on the season. The former Alabama center collected his first Pro Bowl appearance in 2020. With a contract year on the horizon, Kelly could double-down on his breakout campaign to earn a significant payday.

    84) Mark Ingram, RB, Baltimore Ravens

    After New Orleans split up one of the league’s best one-two punches with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, the former Alabama All-American joined Baltimore’s backfield. Alongside the Raven’s sophomore signal-caller, Ingram joined forces with Lamar Jackson, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill to form one of the league’s most dynamic rushing attacks. Ingram set the tone for the Ravens campaign with a bang, rushing for 107 yards and two touchdowns in week one against the Miami Dolphins.

    Related | Ravens Fantasy Running Back Battle: J.K. Dobbins vs. Mark Ingram

    Ingram ended his first season with the Ravens tallying 1,018 yards and 15 touchdowns — the highest scoring total of his career. The veteran running back earned his third trip to the Pro Bowl on his way to a 16.78 PFN OSM score in 2019.

    Even if Ingram’s play falls off in 2020, the Baltimore running back should receive a nod in the PFN Top 100 for his hypnotic hype of the defending Most Valuable Player. Big Truss.

    83) Lavonte David, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Since getting drafted out of Nebraska in 2012, Lavonte David has quietly proven he’s not only one of the league’s best linebackers, but also one of the NFL’s best all-around defensive players. Since entering the league, David leads all linebackers in solo tackles, forced fumbles and tackles for loss since 2012. Over his career, David has only had one season where he didn’t record 101 or more tackles.

    In 2019, the Buccaneers’ defensive captain showed no signs of slowing down. David filled the stat sheet with 123 combined tackles, seven pass deflections, seven quarterback hits, three forced fumbles and a sack. Late in the season against the Atlanta Falcons, David became one of three Buccaneers to surpass 1,000 career tackles.

    Sound good enough for a spot on PFN’s Top 100? No doubt.

    82) Casey Hayward Jr., CB, Los Angeles Chargers

    In the middle of one of the league’s most talented secondary is veteran Casey Hayward Jr. In his time with the Chargers, Hayward flourished from a slot corner to a versatile weapon in the Los Angeles defense.

    The Vanderbilt product can line up from the inside to the boundary. Since coming to Southern California, Heyward Jr. often draws the task of handling the opposing team’s best pass-catcher. In 2019, Hayward Jr.’s pair of interceptions and eight pass breakups earned him the number 82 spot in PFN’s Top 100.

    The Chargers had three players rank in Pro Football Network’s top 25 cornerbacks heading into 2020, with Heyward Jr. earning the highest spot of the trio at number 6. With a healthy Derwin James, and Chris Harris Jr. added to the mix, Hayward Jr, will get the chance to show off his versatility in the LA defensive backfield.

    81) Calais Campbell, DT, Baltimore Ravens

    If PFN put together a list of the top 100 players for each of the last 10 seasons, there’s a strong chance Calais Campbell’s name would be inked in every edition. In 2020, nothing is different; the veteran defensive tackle comes in just outside the top 80 in PFN’s top 100 list.

    Campbell didn’t match his production from 2017 and 2018, but he still turned in a strong performance in 2019. The 12-year veteran recorded 56 combined tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. Campbell added a pair of pass deflections and a fumble recovery touchdown.

    As apart of the Jacksonville Jaguars exodus of the 2020 offseason, Campbell joined the AFC North champion Baltimore Ravens. At age 33, Campbell will have the chance to compete for a Super Bowl alongside Matthew Judon, Brandon Williams and Derek Wolfe.

    80) Byron Jones, CB, Miami Dolphins

    Since joining the NFL in 2015, Byron Jones has backed up his elite athletic prowess to prove he’s much more than a combine all-star. Over his five year career, The UConn product has earned much praise for his coverage skills. Despite his lack of interceptions, Jones’ athleticism has transitioned into a weapon of versatility in the NFL. With a solid frame, football IQ and sound technique, Jones can line up all over the field in any type of defensive scheme.

    Related | Miami Dolphins clever cornerback contracts demonstrate clear intent

    After signing a five-year deal worth $82.5 million with the Miami Dolphins, Jones production could finally blossom into a number that matches his skill set. Lining up next to first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene and fellow PFN Top 100 member Xavien Howard, opposing teams will have no choice but to test Jones. If the new Dolphins’ defensive back can translate more targets into turnovers, I’ll bet he’ll be higher on the PFN Top 100 in the future.

    79) Eric Kendricks, LB, Minnesota Vikings

    As the league continues to slant towards pass-happy offenses, coverage linebackers are becoming more and more valuable. After showing off as one of the league’s most reliable linebackers in coverage over his first four seasons, Eric Kendricks elevated his game to an elite level in 2019.

    The Minnesota linebacker registered 110 tackles, two forced fumbles and a career-high 12 pass deflections. For the first time in his career, the UCLA product earned spots on the Pro Bowl roster and the NFL’s first-team All-Pro list.

    As our rankings begin to countdown, more of the Vikings’ defensive players will be highlighted. However, number 79 on the PFN Top 100 may be the glue that holds Minnesota’s defensive attack together.

    78) Bradley Chubb, OLB, Denver Broncos

    Although his sophomore season was limited to four games due to a knee injury, Bradley Chubb’s rookie campaign was worthy of a spot in the PFN Top 100. After being picked by the Denver Broncos with the fifth overall selection in the 2018 draft, the decorated NC State product quickly burst onto the AFC West scene.

    Alongside Von Miller, Chubb record 12 sacks and two forced fumbles in 16 starts in 2018. Chubb’s debut season in Denver earned him a place on the PFWA All-Rookie Team. After adding several high-powered offensive weapons, Vic Fangio will count on Chubb to have a bounce-back injury return as the Broncos make their climb out of the rebuilding stage.

    77) Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

    There’s no doubt Carson Wentz’s talent as a passer is special enough to earn him a spot on our top 100 list. Despite an underwhelming start to 2019, Wentz turned it on in the second half of the season. After dropping four straight games, Wentz helped lead the Eagles to four consecutive victories and a trip to the postseason.

    While his 2019 performance didn’t align with his All-Pro campaign in 2017, the former number two overall pick passed for a career-high 4,039 yards. For the first time since his rookie season, Wentz started all 16 games. However, a concussion injury against the Seattle Seahawks in the playoffs closed out Wentz’s season on the sideline.

    In 2020, Wentz will have the opportunity to improve his top 100 ranking with a newly installed group of speedy Philadelphia pass catchers.

    76) Jaire Alexander, CB, Green Bay Packers

    Taking the final spot in the first quarter of PFN’s top 100 ranking is Green Bay’s gritty defensive back Jaire Alexander. After earning a spot on the PFWA All-Rookie Team in 2018, Alexander built off a steady debut season in his second act.

    The Louisville product started all 16 contests for Green Bay in 2019, improving his numbers in nearly every statistical category. The sophomore corner totaled 58 combined tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble. Alexander led the Packers while ranking in the top five of the NFL with 17 pass deflections.

    In PFN’s top 25 cornerbacks heading into 2020, Alexander came in at number 7 on the list. After two steady seasons, Alexander is a prime candidate to make the jump to the Pro Bowl and beyond in 2020.

    PFN Top 100 Players of 2020
    100-76 | 75-51 | 50-26 | 25-11 | 10-1