Five New York Giants Make ESPN’s NFLRank Top 100 in Football
In another continuation of annual projects, ESPN released their NFL Rank Top 100 Players of 2017 list. The project featured 53 ESPN football experts to rate players based solely on how they’ll perform in 2017. Unlike rankings done after the season, this is more projection than looking back. Voters were also asked not to weigh positional value, only judging how each player will do in the upcoming season. The was a 100-point scale used, with 100 implying an all-time great season, 90 standing for All-Pro level, and 80 as a “very good” year.
Five members of the New York Giants made this list. Odell Beckham Jr., the only member of the offense, was the highest ranked at ninth overall. Beckham had a rating of 91.92 — well into All-Pro territory — and he improved upon his ranking of 13th from 2013. He was the third-highest ranked wide receiver behind Antonio Brown (fifth) and Julio Jones (sixth).
The next-highest ranked Giant was safety Landon Collins at 29. Collins wasn’t ranked in last year’s version and his average rating among voters this season was 87.55. He was the third safety listed behind Kansas City’s Eric Berry (17th) and Seattle’s Earl Thomas (19th). In a companion piece on ESPN Insider, Collins got some more love from some former NFL defensive backs. Matt Bowen named Collins the most underrated player on the list with an argument that Collins should have been Defensive Player of the Year in 2016 and that he expects another huge season in 2017. Domonique Foxworth listed Collins as his player most likely to be in the top-25 for next year’s list. Both are right and Collins probably should have been higher this year. As great as Berry was in his return to the field, Collins has claim for a bigger impact on the defense, though so does Thomas, who should still hold the title of top safety in the league.
Further down the list, the next three Giants are fairly close together. Olivier Vernon came in at No. 61, Janoris Jenkins was No. 65, and Jason Pierre-Paul was No. 74. Vernon’s rating average 84.25 and he improved 30 spots from last season’s rank of 91. It does appear some are catching on with the value Vernon brings to the defensive line. He was also mentioned by Field Yates as the most underrated player on the list.
Jenkins was either the eighth or ninth highest-ranked cornerback on the list, depending on how you want to classify Arizona’s Tyrann Mathieu at No. 59. While Jenkins had a breakout year in 2016 (he wasn’t ranked on last year’s list), it’s hard to place him among the top corners in the league with the likes of Patrick Peterson, Richard Sherman, and Chris Harris Jr. He probably does have an argument to be placed over No. 44 Josh Norman and No. 56 Malcolm Butler, who was Football Outsiders’ Aaron Schatz’s most overrated player in the ranking.
The last Giant was Pierre-Paul, who was not ranked last year. His 83.19 average rating still indicates many expect an excellent season from the edge rusher.
Notable Giants left of the list include Eli Manning, Damon Harrison, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Ereck Flowers — kidding about the last one. Twelve quarterbacks were on the list that excluded Eli, even though Manning ranked 11th in ESPN’s QB Tiers ranking that came from those who work in the league.
Harrison was Dan Graziano’s pick as his top snubbed player, who should have been within the top-100.