The most stressful week of football since the draft is now over. I thought it might be interesting to convert the NFL top-100 into a value system for the sake of comparing teams and predicting the 2020 standings.
This year’s been strange enough, so why not use a dubious popularity contest to make guesses about the outcome of football games?
I’ve used a very oversimplified value system; it’s merely a reverse point system from 1-99. One point separates each player from the next, gaining a point each as they climb closer to to the top 100 - the athletes ranking gives their value. Tyler Lockett at 65th position scores 35 points, and Jamal Adams at 27th scores 73 points. I’ve consulted the guys over at Pro Football Focus; the math checks out.
The hypothesis is that what follows would be the result of the truly elite players being the difference makers; the possession of enough such athletes being enough to turn the tide of a season.
This would also come with the assumption that the remainders of NFL rosters are largely comparable, which comes with two problems. One is that some teams are either tanking or led by Bill O’Brien, and the other is that this, by definition, cannot account for rookies who have a significant impact.
But we can’t do anything about that, so we press on to compare the stronger teams in the NFC with this nearly infallible system.
- Russell Wilson: 2
- Bobby Wagner: 13
- Jamal Adams: 27
- Jadeveon Clowney: 41
- Tyler Lockett: 65
- DK Metcalf: 81
- Chris Carson: 96
With Clowney: 375
8 DeAndre Hopkins
15 Chandler Jones
69 Larry Fitzgerald
90 Kyler Murray
Based on this the NFC West would look as follows:
If Jadeveon Clowney re-signs with Seattle it would put their value over San Francisco and move them to first. Which, honestly, feels like a reasonable outcome one could expect. For the sake of this piece, we’re acting as though Clowney will depart because after 118 articles none of us know what in the world he is doing.
I then compiled the values of some of the other NFC contenders, playoff-caliber teams. The first one shows just how sorry the NFC East truly was last year.
73 Fletcher Cox
85 Zack Ertz
94 Jason Kelce
98 Brandon Brooks, out for the season
New Orleans Saints
5 Michael Thomas
12 Drew Brees
23 Cameron Jordan
42 Alvin Kamara
67 Demario Davis
76 Marshon Lattimore
82 Ryan Ramczyk
1 Lamar Jackson
44 Mark Ingram
53 Marcus Peters
74 Ronnie Staley
75 Earl Thomas
79 Calais Campbell
86 Marlon Humphrey
NFC Playoff Seeding:
- Seahawks w/o Clowney
Following this principle, the Super Bowl would be the Saints beating the Chiefs by about four points.
However, if Clowney were to return to Seattle, it would bump their NFC seed to second and put them in a reasonable range of New Orleans, who at this point is just embarrassing the rest of the division. Why haven’t they made it to a Super Bowl again?
Anyway, this was a fun little experiment. The welcome surprise would be the arrival of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a playoff team we haven’t seen in a while. This also goes without Rob Gronkowski qualifying for any points, who’s finished in the top-20 in this poll multiple times.
The full list is below for anyone interested as it’s been difficult to find a simple text version without highlights and bios for easy access.
What do you think of how the rankings shape out this way?
NFL Network’s Top 100
1 Lamar Jackson Quarterback Baltimore Ravens
2 Russell Wilson Quarterback Seattle Seahawks
3 Aaron Donald Defensive Tackle Los Angeles Rams
4 Patrick Mahomes Quarterback Kansas City Chiefs
5 Michael Thomas Wide Receiver New Orleans Saints
6 Christian McCaffrey Running Back Carolina Panthers
7 George Kittle Tight End San Francisco 49ers
8 DeAndre Hopkins Wide Receiver Arizona Cardinals
9 Stephon Gilmore Cornerback New England Patriots
10 Derrick Henry Running back Tennessee Titans