39. Minkah Fitzpatrick, safety, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Minkah Fitzpatrick trade might go down as one of the best moves in the Steelers’ recent history. He made the same impact for Pittsburgh’s defense that he did for Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide. Frankly, he is one of the NFL’s best playmakers and is showing no signs of slowing down with a long career ahead of him.
38. Zack Martin, guard, Dallas Cowboys
Martin could retire today and probably be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The decision to draft him over Johnny Manziel pays off to this day and he could well be considered one of the best guards ever when he’s finished playing. Before going down with a calf injury last season, Martin further proved his value and versatility by excelling at right tackle for an injury-depleted offensive line.
37. Chris Jones, defensive tackle, Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes might have won Super Bowl LIV MVP, but the Chiefs don’t complete that fourth-quarter comeback without Jones. He earned every dollar of that $85 million contract and will be essential for this team to become the next NFL dynasty. He responded to his lucrative long-term deal with a 7.5-sack 2020 campaign and graded as PFF’s No. 2 interior defender behind only Aaron Donald.
36. Kyler Murray, quarterback, Arizona Cardinals – NFL breakout player
The Grand Canyon-sized leap we saw from Lamar Jackson from 2018 to 2019? Something similar happened this past year with Murray, who became a more decisive, devastating ball-carrier and improved as a passer. He fits perfectly into Kliff Kingsbury’s scheme, and the addition of DeAndre Hopkins is paying off big time. Murray was on pace to become the first quarterback in NFL history with 4,000-plus passing yards and 1,000-plus rushing yards in a season, but got banged up down the stretch. It’s very possible Murray hits those historic numbers in 2021.
35. Tre’Davious White, cornerback, Buffalo Bills
It would have been devastating for the Bills if Tre’Davious White opted out of the 2020 NFL season. Fortunately, he decided to play and helped boost Buffalo to the AFC Championship Game. The All-Pro cornerback deserves to see his previous Madden rating (90) go up. As strong as the Bills’ secondary is across the board, White is definitely the best player in their defensive backfield.
34. Tyrann Mathieu, safety, Kansas City Chiefs
Honey Badger’s story is of consequence. Here’s a dude that was kicked off the LSU football team due to off-field issues. Mathieu then entered the NFL as a major question mark after Arizona made him a third-round pick back in 2013. Since then, he’s morphed into an elite-level cover safety. Mathieu led the Chiefs to a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance this past season, earning first-team, All-Pro honors for the third time in his career and second year in a row.
33. Bobby Wagner, linebacker, Seattle Seahawks
An unheralded second-round pick out of Utah State in 2012, Wagner became one of the best linebackers of the decade. A seven-time Pro Bowl selection and six-time All-Pro, Wagner is living the dream and will one day be a Hall of Famer.
32. Darius Leonard, linebacker, Indianapolis Colts
From second-round pick in 2018 to instant star. Leonard didn’t just win Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2018, he was also named first-team All-Pro as a rookie. From FCS star to one of the game’s best linebackers, Leonard proves NFL teams can find talent anywhere.
31. Nick Bosa, defensive end, San Francisco 49ers
Not only did Bosa earn Defensive Rookie of the Year honors last season, he put up one of the greatest initial seasons in NFL history. The Ohio State product recorded 25 quarterback hits, nine sacks and one crazy interception last season. He also put up an absurd 102 pressures. One. Hundred. Two. The only question: how will he look in 2021 coming off a torn ACL?
30. Joey Bosa, defensive end, Los Angeles Chargers
Signed to the richest contract for a defender in NFL history at the time he put pen to paper, Bosa has more than lived up to that billing. The former No. 3 overall pick from Ohio State has recorded 109 quarterback hits and 47.5 sacks in five NFL seasons. Bear in mind that he missed four games as a rookie, nine in 2018 and four this past season. Provided he stays healthy in his prime, Bosa has the production and elite skill set to ascend much further up the NFL top 100 list.