Every year the NFL Network makes its list of the Top 100 players as voted by fellow NFL peers, 2018’s list is the 8th of its kind.
As of today, the list is yet to be completed. So far, only players 100-11 have been announced. Unfortunately, the list was not as kind to the Oakland Raiders this year as it had been previously and no more Raiders will be featured. This year Bruce Irvin (85), Derek Carr (60), and Khalil Mack (16) were the only Raiders to break into the Top 100.
To begin, it is important to remember the NFL Top 100 doesn’t carry a significant amount of importance. The player’s list never seems to be very accurate. I would imagine certain players play favorites and some positions don’t get enough love, especially interior offensive and defensive lineman. The most striking example of the list being flat-out ridiculous would be from the 2016 list which had Carr at 100 and Blake Bortles at… 56.
The list is more of a fun thing to watch than a life or death football ranking etched in stone. So then why do we Ramble about the list you ask? Because it is a whole lot more fun than talking about Khalil Mack’s holdout and if Martavis Bryant is going to get suspended. Let’s begin.
Bruce Irvin No. 85
Bruce Irvin simply got snubbed by the NFL Top 100 a year ago and wasn’t shy about telling the world. This year he finally received the recognition he deserved and made the list for the first time in his career. Irvin did so by tying a career high in sacks and setting a new career high in tackles.
Honestly, No. 85 was a pretty fair spot for Irvin. Yannick Ngakoue of the Jaguars was three spots behind Irving at No. 88 and did log four more sacks than Irvin. However, Ngakoue was more of a pass rusher only as opposed to Irvin who was out there on every down playing multiple roles for the Silver and Black. In 2018, expect Irvin’s pass rushing numbers to look even better with him playing more defensive end under the new coaching regime.
Derek Carr No. 60
Carr fell from No. 11 to 60 on the NFL Top 100 this year. Unfortunately, that demotion made sense statistically. Carr tossed seven more interceptions, threw six fewer touchdowns, and threw for roughly 500 fewer yards.
In 2016 Carr was performing at an MVP-caliber level but in 2017 his performance was underwhelming, as Raider Nation expected more. However, do not expect Carr to be this low next year. Former offensive coordinator Todd Downing clearly had a negative impact on the offense as a whole in his one and only season calling the shots on offense. Enter coach Gruden. He will have Carr back to the slinging superstar he was in 2016. The duo is reportedly off to a nice start. I like Carr’s odds to break the Top 10 next season.
Khalil Mack No. 16
Mack fell from No. 5 to 16 this year for two main reasons. First, the Raiders overall record took a major hit and this had a negative impact on all Raiders on the list. Second, Mack wasn’t able to come up with as many highlights or game-clinching plays this season. In 2016, Mack had strip sacks to seal victories against the Panthers, Bills, and Broncos. In 2017, Mack had no such plays that could draw him added attention. This might be the only explanation for his brief stumble down the list. As he was the same dominant player he has always been this year.
Notable Raider Omissions
Amari Cooper: Cooper was No. 53 on the 2017 NFL Top 100. Then, he only managed 680 receiving yards in 2017, the first time in his brief career he failed to account for over 1,000 yards. His omission in 2018 is fair.
Kelechi Osemele: K.O. made the list last year at No. 95. He failed to repeat due to the struggles of the entire Raider offensive line. To the raw eye, it was clear the zone running scheme didn’t fit the O-line for the players that Oakland utilized. Hopefully, the return to more power schemes and fullback sets will reignite the unit. Individually, Osemele may not have been as dominant but he was good nonetheless.
Rodney Hudson: Despite being one of the NFL’s most dominant centers, Rodney Hudson has never made the list. He certainly should have by now. He is the ultimate unsung hero. Thankfully, Hudson is finally getting a touch of love from the media which has been well deserved for quite some time. Regarding the NFL Top 100, interior lineman just don’t get love on the list.