Pete Prisco keeps Tom Brady near the top even at nearly 45, while the Chargers have the most in top 100
Stars win in the NFL. Period.
The Los Angeles Rams put that on display last season in winning the Super Bowl. They are certainly a top-heavy team, with big money paid to their star players. Of course, they have to do a good job of supplementing the roster to make it work, which general manager Les Snead has done, but it’s the stars who drive the team.
They also lead my 2022 list of the NFL‘s top 100 players. Not only do the Rams have the No. 1 player on the list, but they have three in the top 10, and none of those is their high-priced quarterback, although Matt Stafford is a top 50 player.
Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is the No. 1 player on my list this year. That’s because he’s the best defensive player in the league, as well as being in the argument to be considered the best of all time. He is clearly the top player at his position, whereas an argument could be made at all the others, even quarterback.
The other Rams players in my top 10 are receiver Cooper Kupp at No. 5 and cornerback Jalen Ramsey at No. 10. Kupp showed the football world last year that he is currently the NFL’s best receiver. Ramsey remains a shutdown corner, who evolved into much more last season in a variety of roles in the new-look Raheem Morris defense.
The fact that Donald tops the list moves a quarterback off the top spot. That doesn’t mean the top-10 isn’t quarterback heavy —as usual. In fact, the entire list is quarterback heavy because there are a lot of star passers in the league right now.
If you’re wondering which team has the most players, it’s the Los Angeles Chargers with nine in the top 100 — three more than the three teams tied for the next most with six (Cowboys, Buccaneers and 49ers). The Rams ended up with five, as did the Bills, Bengals, Chiefs and Packers. The Patriots are among six teams without any in the top 100, joining the Giants, Jets, Texans, Jaguars and Lions.
So dive in and eat it up. Nobody will be happy. That much I know. But for all those out there ready to kill me for the list, I offer you this: Try it. It’s not easy to do, especially in a league where there are so many good players.
HONORABLE MENTION: Penei Sewell, T, Detroit Lions; Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints; Jevon Holland, S, Miami Dolphins; Denzel Ward, CB, Cleveland Browns; Shaq Mason, G, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers; Jaylen Waddle, WR, Miami Dolphins; D.J. Reader, DT, Cincinnati Bengals; Patrick Surtain II, CB, Denver Broncos; Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Commanders; Kenny Moore, CB, Indianapolis Colts; Tre’Davious White, CB, Buffalo Bills; Marlon Humphrey, CB, Baltimore Ravens; Matt Judon, EDGE, New England Patriots; Amari Cooper, WR, Cleveland Browns; Quinnen Williams, DT, New York Jets; David Andrews, C, New England Patriots; Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles; Devin White, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Derek Carr, QB, Las Vegas Raiders; Randy Gregory, EDGE, Denver Broncos; Jason Kelce, C, Philadelphia Eagles; Haason Reddick, EDGE, Philadelphia Eagles; Justin Simmons, S, Denver Broncos; Marshon Lattimore, CB, New Orleans Saints; Tyrann Mathieu, S, New Orleans Saints; Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers; Leonard Williams, DE, New York Giants; Elgton Jenkins, OL, Green Bay Packers; David Bakhtiari, T, Green Bay Packers; Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings; Quandre Diggs, S, Seattle Seahawks; Vita Vea, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Ryan Jensen, C, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Adrian Phillips, S, New England Patriots; Harold Landry, EDGE, Tennessee Titans; Yannick Ngakoue, EDGE, Indianapolis Colts; Matt Ryan, QB, Indianapolis Colts; Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks; Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers; Hunter Renfrow, WR, Las Vegas Raiders; Cordarrelle, Patterson, RB/WR, Atlanta Falcons; Carlton Davis, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Allen Robinson, WR, Los Angeles Rams; Brandon Scherff, G, Jacksonville Jaguars; Danielle Hunter, DE, Minnesota Vikings; and DeMarcus Lawrence, DE, Dallas Cowboys.