Every offseason, NFL Network sits down with players from across the league who vote on who they think are the top 100 players heading into the new NFL season. In this article, we revisit NFL Network’s 10 top players of 2019.
Revisiting NFL Network’s Top 10 Players of 2019
1. Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams
After reaching the Super Bowl in 2018, Aaron Donald and the Los Angeles Rams failed to even reach the playoffs in 2019. Donald, who won back-to-back AP Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2017 and 2018, wasn’t as highly touted as usual by the time the season came to an end. Still, Donald finished the year with 12.5 sacks, 20 tackles for loss, and 24 quarterback hits.
2. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
Brees finished 2019 with 2979 yards, 27 touchdowns, four interceptions, and a 74.3 completion percentage. He injured the thumb on his throwing hand in week two and missed the following five weeks due to the injury. During that time, backup Teddy Bridgewater took over and led the team to a 5-0 record. Many thought Brees would retire after the season, leaving the team to Bridgewater or even Taysom Hill—until Bridgewater left in free agency and Brees returned on a two-year deal.
3. Khalil Mack, LB, Chicago Bears
Khalil Mack finished 2019 with 8.5 sacks, 47 tackles, eight tackles for loss, and 14 quarterback hits, although it was his most underwhelming season since his rookie year. There were rumors earlier this offseason that the Chicago Bears were listening to trade offers for the pass rusher.
4. Patrick. Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes has been the most exciting player in the NFL ever since he took over as the starter for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018. The reason he wasn’t number one on this list was probably that people knew it would be hard for him to throw for 50 touchdowns and win league MVP again. But he did even better and won Super Bowl LIV, the first championship in 50 years for Kansas City.
5. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams (formerly)
The Los Angeles Rams shocked a lot of people when they decided to release Todd Gurley in the middle of free agency—two years after signing him to an extension. But it wasn’t a complete surprise to everybody. Gurley’s ACL tear in college finally caught up to him in 2018 before the Rams appeared in Super Bowl LIII when it was revealed that Gurley was suffering from arthritis in his knee.
In 2019, he finished with 857 rushing yards (least of his career) and 12 rushing touchdowns, which isn’t horrible. But in the past few seasons, teams are beginning to realize that it may not be worth it to sign running backs to major deals.
Luckily for Gurley, he found another shot with the Atlanta Falcons who he agreed to a one-year deal with.
6. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots (Formerly)
Despite throwing for over 4,000 yards, 24 touchdowns, and only eight interceptions, Tom Brady still had a bit of bland season in his last with the New England Patriots. Some of his decline could easily be attributed to his age of 42 but a lot of it could also be due to the fact that he didn’t have a lot of help at receiver in his last years with New England.
Brady managed to lead the Patriots to the wild card round of the playoffs, where they lost to the Tennessee Titans on a pick-six. Enough was enough and Brady shocked everyone by parting ways with New England in free agency and signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
7. Antonio Brown, WR, Oakland Raiders (Formerly)
Antonio Brown is (was?) one of the leagues best wide receivers and has been the most controversial name among the NFL in the last year. He was traded to Oakland early last offseason and couldn’t stay out of the headlines—from frost-bitten feet to helmet-gate, and then a confrontation with Oakland general manager, Mike Mayock. Brown was soon released by the team and wound up in New England, only to a play a single game there before being released again after sexual assault allegations came to light.
Now, Brown remains a free agent after going on several Twitter rants.
8. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers came one game away from appearing in the super bowl, which would’ve been their first in 10 years. 2019 was the Packer’s first season under new head coach, Matt LaFleur. Before the season started, there were several reports of a rift between Rodgers and LaFleur but whether there was any truth to that or not, the two managed to go 13-3 in their first season together and Rodgers had one of his best seasons in years.
9. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Julio Jones continues to be one of the best wide receivers in the league, although there still seems to be some dispute about it. Last season he ranked second in receiving yards, averaged 14.1 yards-per-receptions, caught six touchdowns, and earned a Pro Football Focus grade of 90.4. Expect his production to go up once the Atlanta Falcons fix their offensive line issues.
10. Von Miller, LB, Denver Broncos
Von Miller is one of the most dangerous players to play defense in the NFL but his 2019 season wasn’t as strong as his others. Miller did end up earning his sixth-consecutive Pro Bowl.
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