The last time I talked the NFL Top 100 list I made a case that the 2020 list had some Buffalo Bills players who could have been in consideration but no true snubs. What it came down to was a straightforward premise. To be considered in the top 6% of the league it should generally require not only an overall excellent player, but one having an excellent season.
Put another way, a high bar pushed just a bit higher still. Here’s who I think will make the list in 2021. As always, feel free to scold me in the comments. And for good measure, a playoff run or prime-time highlights can’t hurt in the “attention” department.
Players I thought were close in 2020
If you read the list from my other Top 100 opinion piece this is the same group that I felt were very close and you could at least make a case for inclusion. All fell short for one reason or another based on the threshold described above. Excellent players playing at their typical level. Excellent, but not quite Top 100.
- Jordan Poyer: For both Poyer and the next player on the list I felt that garnering attention was unfortunately something they did too effectively as a pair to make a case for the Top 100. The safe bet is for that to continue, but a couple extra interceptions for one or the other could do the trick to separate from the pack of two.
- Micah Hyde: So which one do I think is more likely to get those extra picks? Historically you’d likely go with Poyer and that’s the safer bet. Poyer usually racks up more tackles as well due to scheme. Sorry Micah but the data points to Poyer. For either player though, a couple lucky tips and there’s an excellent case to be made. I won’t predict a “yes” for either, but wouldn’t be shocked to be wrong.
- Matt Milano: I think Milano will struggle to put up enough highlights to be considered. This is another “lack of attention” argument for the record, as Milano could easily have an elite season. Milano is close to Edmunds’s numbers for tackles but that probably won’t be enough.
- Tremaine Edmunds: This is my first “yes.” While the tackle numbers are close for both linebackers, Edmunds is more likely to bat passes and make other splash plays. I also think that of the two, Milano was closer to his ceiling in 2019. The Top 100 is also a player-based vote and players likely respect the green sticker on Edmunds’s helmet.
Will these guys repeat?
Three players from the Bills made it on the 2020 list. Will they repeat?
- Stefon Diggs: I think Diggs will be close but not quite in 2021. Josh Allen is willing to distribute the ball and there’s two very good options behind Diggs. I’m also not convinced that offensive coordinator Brian Daboll will be allowed to call an offense with enough passes to get Diggs over the 1,100 mark again.
- Josh Allen: I argued that Allen didn’t deserve to be on the 2020 list and I think he’ll be fringe in 2021. That said, he clearly did enough to draw attention to himself in 2019 to get the league to notice. A step forward in 2020 gives him a repeat year.
- Tre’Davious White: Not much explanation needed. The best player on a rising team with plenty of prime-time games is in.
If evenly distributed, each team would have three players represented on the list. It’s not evenly distributed though, and the Bills are starting to turn heads. I think that keeps up this year and the Bills have four or five players on the list. As noted above, Allen, White, and Edmunds are three I think are in. Poyer and Diggs are the two safest bets to join them. Hyde and Milano wouldn’t be a shock either. A few players like Devin Singletary, Mario Addison, or Ed Oliver would have a little more of a climb but aren’t out of the question.