NFL Top 100 Players of 2021: The GOAT is #1, Chiefs’ Kelce Top 10(1)

The two most-recent NFL MVPs. Record-breaking contracts and record-setting performances. As we delve into the NFL top 10 for the 2020 season, prepare to be surprised who is within the top five. Also, prepare to disagree with where one future Hall of Fame quarterback is ranked.

1. Tom Brady, quarterback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Best quarterback of all-time

NFL power rankings: Tom Brady: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Feb 7, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after beating the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady is the best player in NFL history. He is also the best player in the NFL, as evidenced by leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their second Super Bowl title. There has to be regret in New England these days, as the GOAT is now bringing championships to south Florida at the ripe old age of 43.

2. Patrick Mahomes, quarterback Kansas City Chiefs – Highest paid NFL player

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes during NFL game against the Broncos
Dec 15, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) looks to pass during the second half against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a reason the Chiefs signed Patrick Mahomes to a $500 million contract last offseason. He makes throws that seem humanly impossible and defy physics. When his career is over, we could be talking about Mahomes as the best player in NFL history. Even some of his incompletions in a disappointing 31-9 blowout loss to Tampa Bay in Super Bowl LV were mind-boggling. Mahomes should bounce back from the disappointing performance versus the Bucs and have the Chiefs in championship contention on an annual basis for the next decade.

3. Aaron Donald, defensive tackle, Los Angeles Rams – Best defensive player

NFL defense rankings
Dec 6, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99) sacks Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) in the first quarter at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Plenty questioned Donald coming out of college because of his height at 6-foot-1. For those 12 teams that passed on him in the 2014 NFL Draft, it’s a day that will live in infamy. Donald is the best defensive player in the NFL and with 85.5 career sacks already, he’ll one day retire as one of the NFL’s all-time greats on the defensive line.

4. Aaron Rodgers, quarterback, Green Bay Packers

Madden 21 ratings, Aaron Rodgers
Dec 13, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) gestures during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Rodgers‘ demise was greatly exaggerated. He came back with a vengeance after the Packers drafted Jordan Love with one phenomenal performance after another last season. He graded as PFF’s top-ranked quarterback in 2020, and it’s easy to see why with the 48-5 TD-INT ratio and 121.5 quarterback rating. Keep in mind, he did that without Green Bay giving him any additional weapons.

5. Travis Kelce, tight end, Kansas City Chiefs – Best NFL tight end

Super Bowl LV: Super Bowl 2021
Jan 17, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) reacts against the Cleveland Browns during the second half in the AFC Divisional Round playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

An argument can be made that Kelce is the game’s best tight end. The five-time Pro Bowler is averaging over 101 receptions for 1,327 yards over the past three seasons. He’s one of the primary reasons Patrick Mahomes has morphed into the NFL’s best quarterback after such a short time under center — and why the Chiefs have made three straight AFC title games.

6. Russell Wilson, quarterback, Seattle Seahawks

NFL rumors: Russell Wilson
Jan 3, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) throws a pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Wilson is living the dream life as an NFL star. Well, except for the fact that the Seahawks seem to routinely not give him enough pass protection. The former third-round draft pick still hears jokes about his height (5-foot-11). However, Wilson can just laugh as he continues to dominate his peers with a Super Bowl ring on his finger, incredible stats and a future bust in Canton, Ohio. Can Seattle surround him with better offensive linemen in 2021? Wilson is growing impatient as he pursues a second championship.

7. Davante Adams, wide receiver, Green Bay Packers – Best NFL wide receiver

Worst performances during 2021 NFL Divisional Round Day 1
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) splits the defense of Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) and outside linebacker Samson Ebukam (50) during their divisional playoff game on Saturday, January 16, 2021, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Credit: William Glasheen via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Adams is proof that the draft bust label can be applied too quickly. After two seasons, the former second-round pick seemingly couldn’t put it together. He put in the extra effort, realized his full potential and is now one of the best players at his position. As a key cog in Aaron Rodgers’ MVP season, Adams accumulated 115 receptions, 1,374 yards and a ridiculous 18 touchdown catches.

8. T.J. Watt, outside linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers – Best NFL edge rusher

Pittsburgh Steelers star T.J. Watt
Dec 21, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (90) celebrates with inside linebacker Avery Williamson (51) during the third quarter at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Watt has easily gotten out of the shadow of his brother J.J. in recent years to carve out his own legacy as the Steelers’ next elite defensive player in an extensive franchise history of them. He continues to do eye-popping things on the football field, and was frankly snubbed as Defensive Player of the Year in 2020 after logging 41 quarterback hits, 15 sacks, 23 tackles for loss, seven pass deflections and an interception.

9. Deshaun Watson, quarterback, Houston Texans

New York Giants rumors: Deshaun Watson
Sep 23, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) is sacked in the fourth quarter by New York Giants defensive tackle Mario Edwards Jr. (99) at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Lost in the shuffle of the performance we’ve seen from Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson over the past two years, Deshaun Watson has proven to be a franchise quarterback himself. After the Texans fired Bill O’Brien, Watson actually improved and proceeded to lead the NFL in passing yards this past season despite playing for a horrible Houston team. This offseason, he’s made himself the hottest quarterback commodity ever by requesting a trade.

10. Derrick Henry, running back, Tennessee Titans – Best NFL running back

Jan 10, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs onto the field during pregame introductions before a AFC Wild Card playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

A former Heisman winner at Alabama, Henry’s first two seasons with Tennessee was nothing to write home about. The bulldozer of a back recorded an average of 617 rushing yards during that span. Since then, however, he’s been nothing less than dominant. Henry went for a whopping 1,746 total yards and 18 touchdowns in 2019 en route to leading the Titans to a shocking appearance in the AFC Championship Game. His follow-up act in 2020? Leading the NFL in carries (378) rushing yards (2,027) and rushing TDs (17). Yep, the Triple Crown for King Henry.