Our top 50 NFL players | A little love for defense


No quarterback at the top of the NFL’s Top 50 Players? Sacrilege!

Posted at 5:00 a.m.

Miguel Bujold

Miguel Bujold
The Press

No Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, no more Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen. Those four aces are a bit lower.

No player has more impact than the quarterback in football. The second most important are those who are precisely able to neutralize the opposing passer. By forcing him to lie on the ground, or by « dropping » him off themselves…

These players are of course the quarter hunters. And in a time when the lines are a little blurry in the quarterback hierarchy, there’s no doubt about the best defensive players.

If Aaron Donald is fairly unanimously considered the king, TJ Watt is certainly second, he who tied Michael Strahan’s mark with 22.5 sacks in 2021, even though he missed 2 games and a game of 2 others.


PHOTO PHELAN M. EBENHACK, ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVES

TJ Watt

Watt has 72 sacks in 77 games in the NFL and his total has increased each season. Only Reggie White (81) and his older brother JJ Watt (74.5) have collected more than him in their first five seasons. Always at the top of his game in crucial moments, Watt also caused 22 fumbles and had 4 interceptions.

Donald’s stats are a little less spectacular than Watt’s (98 sacks and 23 fumbles in 127 games, 50 more), but he plays inside and can dominate a line of scrimmage like no other player is. able to do it. Talk to Joe Burrow and the Bengals, who watched Donald snatch victory from their fingers in the Super Bowl.

The race for best defensive player has only involved Donald and Watt for the past two years and the two start as favorites this year, although other players, for example Myles Garrett, Derwin James, Micah Parsons or the brothers Nick and Joey Bosa, could make the fight more interesting.

Obviously, this ranking will not be unanimous and some fans will wonder why a player or another of their favorite team is not part of it or why it is so low… There are precisely 1696 players in the NFL. The top 50 is an average of 1.56 players per team… The crème de la crème.

Players like Christian McCaffrey and David Bakhtiari are too often injured. Dak Prescott and Kyler Murray rarely excel when it counts. And there just wasn’t enough room for Budda Baker and Minkah Fitzpatrick, two of the league’s top safetys.

As is often the case in this kind of exercise, the offensive line is under-represented. I stuck with my dream line: Jason Kelce at center, Trent Williams and Tristan Wirfs as blockers, and Quenton Nelson and Zack Martin as guards.

The prize goes to the Chargers, while 10 teams have no representative.

Our top 50

1. Aaron Donaldtackle (Rams)2. TJ Wattoutside linebacker (Steelers) 3. Josh Allenquarterback (Bills) 4. Aaron Rodgersquarterback (Packers) 5. Patrick Mahomesquarterback (Chiefs) 6. Tom Bradyquarterback (Buccaneers) 7. Davante Adamswide end (Packers) 8. Cooper Kuppwide end (Rams) 9. Derrick Henryrunning back (Titans) 10. Deebo Samuelwide end (49ers) 11. Tyreek Hillwide end (Dolphins) 12. Joe Burrowquarterback (Bengals) 13. Jonathan Taylorrunning back (Colts) 14. Trent Williamstackle (49ers) 15. mike evanswide winger (Buccaneers)
16. QuentonNelsonguard (Colts)
17. Justin Herbertquarterback (Chargers)
18. Derwin Jameshalf safety (Chargers)
19. Nick Bosadefensive end (49ers)
20. Myles Garrettdefensive end (Browns)
21. Justin Jeffersonwide winger (Vikings)
22. Ja’Marr Chasewide winger (Bengals)
23. Zack Martinguard (Cowboys)
24. Jalen Ramseycornerback (Rams)
25. Russell Wilsonquarterback (Broncos)
26. Travis Kelcetight end (Chiefs)
27. Joey Bosadefensive end (Chargers)
28. lamar jacksonquarterback (Ravens)
29. JC Jacksoncornerback (Chargers)
30. Xavien Howardcornerback (Dolphins)
31. DK Metcalfwide end (Seahawks)
32. Nick Chubbrunning back (Browns)
33. Micah Parsonslinebacker (Cowboys)
34. Jaire Alexandercornerback (Packers)
35. Stefon Diggswide end (Bills)
36. AJ Brownwide winger (Eagles)
37. Cam Heywardtackler (Steelers)
38. Kenny Clarktackler (Packers)
39. Maxx Crosbydefensive end (Raiders)
40. Alvin Kamararunning back (Saints)
41. Tristan Wirfsblocker (Buccaneers)
42. Shaquille Leonardlinebacker (Colts)
43. Jeffery Simmonstackle (Titans)
44. Keenan Allenwide winger (Chargers)
45. DeAndre Hopkinswide winger (Cardinals)
46. Jordan Poyer, half safety (Bills)
47. Matthew Staffordquarterback (Rams)
48. Denzel Wardcornerback (Browns)
49. Jason Kelcecenter (Eagles)
50. justin simmonssafety half (Broncos)

The predictions of Miguel Bujold

  • New Orleans to Atlanta: New Orleans
  • Cleveland, Carolina: Cleveland
  • San Francisco to Chicago: san francisco
  • Pittsburgh to Cincinnati: Cincinnati
  • Philadelphia to Detroit: Philadelphia
  • Indianapolis-Houston: Indianapolis
  • New England to Miami: Miami
  • Baltimore at the NY Jets: Baltimore
  • Jacksonville to Washington: Washington
  • Kansas City, Arizona: Kansas City
  • Las Vegas at the LA Chargers: LA Chargers
  • Green Bay, Minnesota: Minnesota
  • NY Giants at Tennessee: Tennessee
  • Tampa Bay to Dallas: Tampa Bay
  • Denver to Seattle: denver

Three games to watch


PHOTO GARY A. VASQUEZ, USA TODAY SPORTS ARCHIVE

Charegers quarterback Justin Herbert (10)

Las Vegas against the LA Chargers, Sunday, 4:25 p.m.

These two teams met in the very last match of last season. A draw guaranteed both teams a playoff spot and that’s where we seemed to be headed until Daniel Carlson sent the Chargers on vacation with a 47-yard field goal on the last play of overtime, a victory of 35-32 from the Raiders. ALL the intradivision games in the American West will be events not to be missed this season, and this is the first.

Tam Bay at Dallas, Sunday, 8:20 p.m.


PHOTO AJ MAST, ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVES

Tom Brady

Tom Brady is back for a 23e season and it is in Texas that it will begin. The Buccaneers offensive line will have to rely on two inexperienced players from the start. Rookie Luke Goedeke will be the left side guard, while 2021 third-round pick Robert Hainsey will replace Ryan Jensen (knee) at center. The best player on the line, right tackle Tristan Wirfs, is expected to play despite an abdominal injury. On the Cowboys side, it will be interesting to see if 2021 defensive rookie Micah Parsons presses the quarterback more often now that Randy Gregory is playing in Denver.

Denver at Seattle, Monday, 8:15 p.m.


PHOTO RON CHENOY, USA TODAY SPORTS ARCHIVE

Russell Wilson

On a strictly sporting level, there are other matchups that are more attractive than this one (Steelers-Bengals and Patriots-Dolphins at 1 p.m., Packers-Vikings at 4:25 p.m.). But it will be Russell Wilson’s big return to Lumen Field, in his very first game in a Broncos uniform, moreover. Wilson was considered a demigod in Seattle, but will his wish to change teams, which was granted by the Seahawks, have changed the opinion of the fans towards him? Probably not, but we’ll know the answer Monday night.



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