Recently we all got a pleasant surprise when it was revealed that Josh Allen had made it onto the NFL’s Top 100 list. Soon after news broke that Stefon Diggs and Tre’Davious White also made the list, bringing the Buffalo Bills’ total to three players. Were there any snubs? If so, who? Here are some opinions you’re free to yell at me for in the comments.
Allow me a tangent
We all know I hate top-ten lists for the NFL as that’s roughly a third of teams in most cases, so what do I think of the Top 100 concept? Well, actually I love it. Doing some easy math, let’s assume that there are approximately 50 players per team who would be in consideration. I say 50 because every team has a couple specialists who likely won’t ever be nominated. Sorry Reid Ferguson, you know I love and appreciate you but such is the life of a long snapper.
Anyway, that comes out to 1,600 players who are theoretically in the mix. Taking the top 100 from a group that large is just a bit over 6% of the player pool. That’s a pretty small chunk all told and is a pretty darn good cut off for elite talent.
Players I love watching but...no
Using the above, we should minimally only consider players in the top 6% of their position. If you’re not elite or in the conversation then it’s an easy “no.” Here’s my short list of top players that I want to give credit to, but not enough credit to join the top 100.
- Lee Smith: As the president of his fan club it kills me to say this but as good as he is, a niche player like Smith isn’t in the conversation.
- Jerry Hughes: Another player you all know I love to watch. He’s still offering a lot on the field, but there’s a good list of pass rushers ahead of him
- Mitch Morse: Similar to Hughes, I enjoy watching Morse but there’s no fooling myself here.
Let’s make a case for...
As another disclaimer I think some position groups should be over-represented. Quarterbacks and pass rushers for example should have more players in the top 100 than say a guard. It’s not necessarily true that those positions are more talented but it is easier to see it.
- Jordan Poyer: The only thing holding me back from a “yes” is that good players tend to elevate teammates and the next guy on my list is also so damn good it’s hard to separate the two. Does Poyer belong on the list? It’s close but not quite for me.
- Micah Hyde: See above. I know, I know. It’s weird to penalize these guys for having the audacity to be playing next to another excellent player but remember there’s an element of being able to have the talent stand out.
- Matt Milano: I really like Milano and think he’s an elite coverage backer and a key to head coach Sean McDermott’s defense. That said, from a pure talent perspective I think he’s on the outside looking in.
- Tremaine Edmunds: To explain my “no” answer I’ll reiterate why I don’t like the nickname “Maine Savage” for Edmunds. Despite his size and athleticism, there’s a scarcity of “wow” plays to justify “savage.” Edmunds is still climbing to his ceiling, I truly believe that but the occasional hesitation and uncertainty on plays last year leave me thinking he doesn’t belong on the top 100. Yet.
You’re really gonna hate me for my opinion on...
I don’t think we had any snubs. In fact it’s the opposite. Here’s my “list” of players that made it that shouldn’t have.
- Josh Allen: I understand his inclusion because of the visibility of the games against the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers. I’m excited about his future and will argue that all Bills fans should be too, but his 2019 season wasn’t really that good. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, fourth-quarter comebacks are nice but I’ll take “increasing a fourth-quarter lead” every single time. And remember that the Bills LOST half of their one-score games. So even in Allen’s signature “comeback kid” stat he’s still just a coin toss. I won’t even argue he has “it.” Up to this point though, his “it” has him behind a long list of other quarterbacks in most major stats.
It sounds like I’m really down on the team last year I imagine because I added zero names and advocated for removing one. Hear me out though. Being in the top 6% of the league is huge. That’s a very small sample of players. It should be reserved not just for overall excellent players but excellent players who had a good year even by their standards.
In those terms my first list is comprised of very good players. The second group is a list of excellent players. That group gets a “no” really only because they were “merely” their excellent selves. Tre’Davious White is the standard to compare to. Play after play. Game after game. White turned the tide in Buffalo’s favor.
I’m not down on any of these guys. In fact I’m eagerly anticipating this season. It’s a lofty bar in my mind. Who knows, maybe my list of players I think will be on the list next year might be more optimistic. That’s foreshadowing by the way.