Whilst it’s still the quiet time of year for the NFL the people over at NFL HQ like to fill their time by asking the players of the NFL to vote on their top 100 players for the current year. All the votes are put together and a list of the top 100 is slowly released over the course of a few weeks so that we’ve all got something to “discuss” – not that anyone really “discusses” things via social media these days but rather shouts and stamps their feet.
I remember when the fixtures for the NFL London 2017 games were released and social media lit up with people crying about how crap the games were this year compared to last years and how we get to only see second-rate teams and second-rate players! I say, “What a load of crap people spout on social media!”.
Obviously, I could be accused of being biased as I’m a Cleveland Browns fan and they’ve committed to hosting one of their home games over here in London this year, but still, they’re a team playing in the best American football league on the planet in one of the most gruelling sports on the planet so they must be pretty good. Add to that the fact that they have a new front office that has worked some damn good moves over the off-season and we’ve got ourselves an exciting young team coming over to put on a performance for us.
We’ve also got one of the most exciting, high-scoring offenses coming over in the form of the New Orleans Saints, the playoff achieving Miami Dolphins as well as the Arizona Cardinals who should be up there challenging for a playoff spot as well as teams that I think are on the rise with the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars and I don’t think we’ve done too bad, really.
People will still be cynical about it but I reckon we’ve done better for 2017 than we did in 2016 – just my personal opinion. I mean come on, we had the terrible Jaguars versus the non-starting Colts, the piss-boring Redskins and Bengals then the Rams and Giants. The only decent team we had in 2016, in my opinion, was the New York Giants. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for any and all NFL teams to come over and play in front of us and I’ll continue to purchase my season ticket every year, but I just think people should stop expecting the NFL to send over the Super Bowl winners and teams at the top of the sport. One or two, maybe, like the Dolphins who made it into the playoffs and stand a good chance of going back there again this year.
Anyway, I’m waffling now – as usual. What I actually wanted this post to be about is the fact that we are going to be able to see a number of the players that have been voted on to the NFL Players Top 100 list during the NFL London 2017 series of games.
A quick look at the list shows us we’ll be seeing 17 of those players on the list, which I don’t think is a bad number. Many will say that this list is bullshit, including the guy at #35, Mr JJ Watt, and to an extent, I agree. Some of the names on there are bizarre additions.
I just wanted to list out and have a look at the players we’ll be getting to see in the NFL London 2017 games, so here we go:
Adrian Peterson | RB | New Orleans Saints | #98
Right, ok, hands up, JJ Watt was right. WTF is Adrian Peterson doing on this list!? In 2016 he appeared in a total of 3 games and ran the ball 37 times for just 72 yards and he still got voted on to the list. Ok, I agree, he shouldn’t be on the list seeing as they do them every year and it should be based on the previous season’s performances.
But, are you glad that he’s going to be coming over to the UK to play in that high-powered Saints offense at Wembley Stadium and you’re going to get a chance to see him play before he retires? I know I am.
He appears on the list at number 98 this year after he made it to number 5 in 2016.
Everson Griffen | DE | Minnesota Vikings | #92
Ok, now we’re getting serious. This guy should be higher up on the list, in my opinion after not appearing at all last year. He’s got everything needed to be one of the best edge rushers in the league and is a big reason why I think the Vikings are a team that are going places this season.
He has good speed and moves that allow him to get to the QB. I can’t wait to see him go up against one of the best left tackles to ever play in the NFL at Twickenham this year when he lines up opposite the great Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns. Another reason why I disagree with the nay-sayers about the games we have coming up in the NFL London 2017 series.
Chandler Jones | LB | Arizona Cardinals | #85
Another of the better pass rushers in the league will be gracing the turf at Twickenham in 2017. Although he has slipped on this list, from #48 to #85, he improved last season to have his best season, stats-wise, according to the guys over at PFF. He came out of the season with an overall grade of 87.4/100 and earned himself the #7 position on their list of edge rushers for the 2016 season.
I feel sorry for Jared Goff or whoever is playing at QB for the Rams on October 22nd, 2017.
Calais Campbell | DE | Jacksonville Jaguars | #83
A former Arizona Cardinal who played with the #85 guy on the list, Calais Campbell seems to have always been destined to come to London and play in 2017. After his big money move, he will be playing at Wembley Stadium for the Jaguars instead of at Twickenham Stadium with the Cardinals.
He’s another player who has slipped down this player-voted list, from #71 in 2016, he is still a player who makes me glad that the Jaguars are going to be playing in London again.
The guy’s an absolute beast who will help the Jags in the pass and run stopping aspects of their defense. It’s going to be great seeing how this defense improves with the likes of him around up front added together with that much-improved secondary. I reckon I’ll be looking at taking this defense in some of my fantasy leagues this year.
Harrison Smith | DB | Minnesota Vikings | #74
Yet another defensive player on this list – I guess we’re in for a treat in London this year if we like good defensive play!
One of my favourite players on the defensive side of the ball. He reads the game well and hits hard and should cause my Cleveland Browns some trouble at Twickenham when the two side meet.
He had another solid season in 2016 as he just carried on doing what he does; play great football at the very highest level.
It’s a good job the Browns have improved that offensive line as their QB would have been spending a lot of his time on his ass if they hadn’t with Griffen and Smith on the same field.
Jay Ajayi | RB | Miami Dolphins | #69
“London-born Jay Ajayi”, that’s “London-born” everyone, just in case you didn’t know where he was born even though the NFL UK lot like to tell us EVERY. CHANCE. THEY. GET!
Anyway, Jay Ajayi hits this list for the first time after a few good games in 2016 for the Miami Dolphins. In only the second season of his career, he was named to the Pro Bowl after having a season that started off with him throwing his toys out of the pram, to him running for over 200-yards in three separate games. Two of those games came in consecutive weeks (6 and 7) before he capped off his regular season with the third 200+ yarder in week 16 against their AFC East rival Buffalo Bills. He also had an 111-yard game in week 9 against another division rival, the NY Jets.
It’s no surprise that he’s on this list and it’s a ranking I actually agree with. I feel that he owes a great deal to his offensive line for those great performances of last year as it was only when the starters were healthy that he achieved what he did. If the Dolphins can keep that line healthy this year, I reckon we’ll have a brilliant offensive game that could be a high scoring affair seeing as their opponents, the New Orleans Saints, have a high scoring offense.
Xavier Rhodes | CB | Minnesota Vikings | #66
Another newbie to the list and already the third Minnesota Vikings player to be on it, at number 66 we have cornerback, Xavier Rhodes.
Not only is this the third Viking on the list but it’s the third Viking defender – one up front and two in the secondary. They also have some good linebackers. The more I look into this Twickenham matchup the more my mouth starts watering.
Just like his teammate Harrison Smith, Rhodes is a big physical player who can crack heads and make plays when he needs to.
Cameron Wake | DE | Miami Dolphins | #62
Ok, back to the Dolphins we go. DE Cameron Wake is one of four Dolphins players who were voted onto this ‘Top 100 Players of 2017′ list.
Cameron Wake is, simply, brilliant! I think the combination of him and Ndamukong Suh on that Dolphins’ defensive line is a big part of why they’ve got better and made it to the playoffs last year. He just consistently plays at a high level at the highest level of the game. He’s surely coming to the end of his career but his stats and ratings just never seem to start going down. I like how he seems to keep wanting to play and get better, and I look forward to seeing him at Wembley in 2017.
Luckily for the New Orleans Saints QB, Drew Brees, they have improved their offensive line during the offseason meaning we should get a good battle in the trenches during that game. Having said that, they have lost starting tackle, Terron Armstead during minicamp and it’s questionable whether he’ll be back in time for this game.
Ndamukong Suh | DT | Miami Dolphins | #55
So here he is, the other part of that deadly duo on the Miami Dolphins defensive line, Mr Ndamukong Suh.
My wife’s a Detroit Lions fan so I spend much of my time watching them play. I loved it when Suh was playing for them as I got to see him wrecking face often. He’s a big, strong guy with a bad attitude and he’s great to watch playing football.
I’ll be honest and say that I thought, during a period of his career, that he was going to become one of those players who thought he was bigger than the franchise he was playing for, and who would end up going from team to team collecting paychecks whilst not caring how he played. Boy-o-boy was I wrong! It would seem that I mistook his intensity and football aggression for something else. I don’t seem to hear about him anymore in a bad way, and now only in a good way either on the football field or off it. He’s just a great old-school player who plays the game hard and thoroughly deserves to be on this list.
Larry Fitzgerald | WR | Arizona Cardinals | #45
We’re nine players into our NFL London 2017 list of players who made it into the NFL Top 100 Players 2017 and we’ve broken into the top 50. Who better to do that with than the future Hall of Famer, Larry Fitzgerald.
He’s another of those great players who just seems to be getting better even though he’s coming to the end of his career. This guy deserves to be on every list of great players and is one of the two players I’m really looking forward to seeing at Twickenham during the Cardinals @ Rams game there on October 22nd, 2017. The other player is on this list as well but higher up at #15.
Marshal Yanda | OG | Baltimore Ravens | #43
Our first and only Baltimore Raven to get voted onto the list for 2017 is also one of only two offensive linemen that we’ll get to see in London in 2017 who made the list.
Best guard in football? Very likely. He’s yet another veteran of the game who would appear to love playing and wants to continue to improve. His stats and ratings are constantly showing him as one of, if not the, best guards in the game.
It’s going to be great seeing him trying to stop the new and improved Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line, and that’s another great trenches battle that we’ll get to see this year – can you tell that I like watching line play?
Jarvis Landry | WR | Miami Dolphins | #42
Fourth and final Miami Dolphins player on the list this year. Jarvis Landry has rocketed up the list from #98 in 2016 to #42 in 2017.
Over 1,100-yards in the last two seasons and Pro Bowl selections in those two out of his three-year career so far all adds up to us being able to watch one of the better wide receivers in the league right now. His ability to gain yards after the catch means that the play ain’t over until the whistle is blown with this guy.
Joe Thomas | OT | Cleveland Browns | #25
YAY! I knew my Cleveland Browns could do it even when they have one of the worst regular season records in the league’s history. If anyone from the team was going to represent the Browns on this list it was always going to be the sure-fire future Hall of Famer, Joe Thomas. The guy is a legend of the game due to his skill on the field and his loyalty to the franchise through some very rough times – mainly due to the terrible management of the team on gameday and also the rebuilding process that previous front offices have failed at so horribly!
Joe Thomas is yet another veteran that has a limited amount of seasons left to play in the league but us Browns fans hope he continues for many more.
I thought players were supposed to slow down as they got older but this guy still surprises me with how quickly he sets off from the snap. I’m constantly thinking he jumped the snap but then on the replay, it shows that he didn’t and that he was just quicker than everyone else.
A truly great player that I’m so glad I’ll get to see play before he retires and it should be a good battle for him against that impressive Minnesota Vikings defense.
Patrick Peterson | CB | Arizona Cardinals | #19
Patrick Peterson is considered as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and has been voted to the NFL Pro Bowl in each of his six years in the league.
He’s also a fantastic kick returner on special teams and has even lined up on offense at wide receiver due to the great skills he has. I imagine he’ll have a good day for his stats when the Cardinals take on the Rams at Twickenham this year and he very much deserves to be in the top 20 of this list.
Drew Brees | QB | New Orleans Saints | #16
Yet again another player who could be, and is, said to be one of the greatest of all time. He’s another reason why I just don’t understand why people moaned about the games we are getting over here in London for the 2017 series of games. I can’t wait to see him play before he retires and the offense he was in last year was great and, although they’ve lost WR Brandin Cook to the Patriots, I still think they are going to be a force to be reckoned with this season.
Record setting, future Hall of Famers don’t come along too often and he’s one of them so let’s be happy that we get to see him and his Saints team in London.
Aaron Donald | DT | LA Rams | #15
If there was one game out of the four in the 2017 NFL London games that I was least bothered about seeing it was the Arizona Cardinals @ LA Rams at Twickenham Stadium. Neither team really does it for me and I don’t usually take much interest in either.
I buy a season ticket every year now and attend all the games so instead of looking at the team in situations like this I look at the players on those teams.
I’ve already mentioned that I’m looking forward to seeing future Hall of Fame wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald in this game, but another big draw for me to attend the game is the fact that DT Aaron Donald will be playing in it.
He’s such a dominant player at the DT position and, according to the guys over at PFF, is the third highest ranked player in the league behind QB Tom Brady and WR Julio Jones.
DT isn’t a glamorous position and I’m sure a lot of people attending the game wouldn’t pick him out on the field, but I for one am looking forward seeing him play and hope that he can help the Rams make a better game of this one than they did against the NY Giants at Twickenham in 2016.
David Johnson | RB | Arizona Cardinals | #12
The highest ranking player on the NFL Top 100 Players 2017 is yet another Arizona Cardinal. This time it’s running back David Johnson and after his performances of 2016, it’s totally deserved that he is the highest NFL London-bound player on the list.
Not only can this guy run the ball but he’s fantastic catching it and turning it into yards. He can run, catch, cut and move – everything needed to become a star in the NFL.
The biggest disappointment about this list, for me, is the fact that this guy isn’t in the top 10, but then again, he wasn’t on it at all last year so to come straight in at #12 is pretty impressive.
There we have it, 17 players from 8 teams that will be playing in London during the NFL London series of games that all the other players in the league think are some of the best at their jobs right now.
I know that this list isn’t respected by many as there are players on there who shouldn’t be and players who should be in higher or lower positions but come on, it gives us something to look at and discuss whilst we’re all waiting for something to happen in or around the NFL, right?
So, which players that are coming to play in London in 2017 are you most looking forward to seeing? Maybe they are on the list or maybe they aren’t. We all have our favourite players and we all know that there are other candidates that have a stronger claim for a spot on a top 100 players list than some of the ones on this list. Let us know in the comments below.
I personally think that we’ve got some cracking games with some cracking positional match-ups to look forward to this year and I don’t understand why some people are negative about them. Is it just because your team didn’t get chosen to play this year or do you genuinely think that these games are rubbish?