NFL Network’s Top 100, though followed closely during football’s offseason lull, often takes a bit of flak for not always seeming to be an accurate representation of the league. NFL Network says the list is voted upon by the players, but it always does seem a bit off.
Just this year, former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, who was ranked 81 on the list before the start of the 2017 season, was left off despite coming off undoubtedly the best season of his career.
Pro Football Weekly’s Super 50 is another version of player rankings, but the publication takes into account many more opinions. According to its website, Pro Football Weekly “general manager” Hub Arkush compiles the Super 50 by using the input of evaluators and coaches, as well as the feedback of his staff.
Three Chiefs made the NFL’s Top 100—Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce—but only two made the Super 50.
No. 36 - TE Travis Kelce
A seam-stretching terror who’s averaged 84 catches for 1,081 yards and six touchdowns since 2016, Kelce is one of the toughest covers in football. He’s just too big (6-foot-5, 260 pounds), fast (timed 40 in the 4.6s) and fluid as a detached route runner for safeties or linebackers to hang with consistently. Kelce, 28, is still ascending entering Year 6, when he’ll have his second new regular starting quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, after improving his rapport with Alex Smith over the past four seasons. In an offense with the gun-slinging Mahomes and a plethora of weapons, Kelce’s special talents are ideally accentuated. Kelce has earned praise from teammates for his dedication to improving as a blocker, too, but make no mistake: his receiving skills set him apart.
No. 35 - S Eric Berry
Berry, like (Earl) Thomas and another defender still to come on this list, is a rare commodity in today’s NFL: A two-way safety as effective running the alley as sticking with backs and tight ends or defending the middle of the field in deep coverage. Berry, though, is attempting yet another difficult comeback, this time from a ruptured Achilles that ended his 2017 campaign after less than one full game. He previously come back stronger than ever from a torn ACL and battle with Hodgin’s lymphoma, and even at 29, his return provides optimism on a ‘D’ that devolved completely in his absence last season and moved on this offseason from fellow stalwarts, Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali. Indeed, Berry’s leadership role and outstanding football intelligence will be counted on more as Kansas City looks to rebuild its ‘D’ on the fly.
- Six running backs made the list, none of which were named Kareem Hunt. I find that this has been a common theme with Hunt this offseason. Though he won last year’s NFL rushing title, Hunt is not considered among the NFL’s elite at the position. As a Chiefs fan, you’d hope this provides only more motivation to prove it again during his sophomore season.
- I also think Tyreek Hill should be on the top-50 list but do understand why he isn’t. We’ll have to check back on him next year.
- Only one tight end was higher than Kelce, and you guessed it. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, coming in at No. 12. Like in the case of Hill, I don’t necessarily agree with it but it is something that could change leading into next season.
- The last thing Berry is in Kansas City is underrated, but what I think may be getting overlooked this offseason is he is the biggest defensive addition in what was a troubled unit last season. He is not only solid at his own position—he is also the glue of otherwise unsettled parts. After not making the NFL Top 100, it was good to see him get recognition on this list.
- Los Angeles Rams cornerback Marcus Peters came in on the Super 50 at No. 8. It is well deserved.