Football analytics site Pro Football Focus has released the final chunk of their top 101 NFL players for 2018. Seven Kansas City Chiefs made the list this year — four on offense and three on defense — compared to six in 2017.
Opinions vary on the validity of PFF’s grading system. But there are roughly 1000 players who start in the NFL every season, so making this list — even at the back end — is a pretty big deal.
3. Patrick Mahomes
Our MVP award was a two-man race for the vast majority of the season, but the big separator though between Mahomes and Drew Brees was consistency. Mahomes produced game in and game out in a high-volume passing offense. He didn’t have a single-game grade below 60.0 all season long, and he only had three below 70.0. His 49 big-time throws were six more than anyone else in the NFL, and he also broke PFF’s single-season deep passing yardage record with 1,514 yards on passes of 20 or more yards downfield —- and that’s with three dropped deep balls on the year.
Mahomes makes his debut on PFF’s Top 101 in third place, behind Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
15. Chris Jones
Jones’ ascent to the upper echelon of interior defenders has been incredible and judging by his most recent performance; he’s only getting better. Jones ranked fifth among his peers with an elite overall grade of 91.0 this year, and his 79 quarterback pressures were behind only Aaron Donald (106) and Fletcher Cox (101).
This is the second time Jones has been in the PFF Top 101. Jones was ranked 64th in 2017, when he had 38 total quarterback pressures.
23. Travis Kelce
Kelce’s dominance at the tight end position helped round out one of the best receiving corps in the NFL this season. En route to an overall grade of 88.6 and receiving grade of 90.4 – both ranking second at the position – Kelce hauled in 113 receptions for 1,467 yards, the most among tight ends. Including the playoffs, he generated 2.28 yards per route run and a 118.6 passer rating when targeted, again, both ranking second at the position.
This marks Kelce’s third appearance on the PFF 101. In 2017, he was ranked 50th and had more broken tackles than any other tight end.
25. Tyreek Hill
To the surprise of nobody, the Cheetah was a big play waiting to happen in the 2018 season. Hill generated 1,593 yards on 96 receptions during the regular season with 754 of those yards coming on passes that traveled 20 or more yards downfield, first among receivers. Hill also demonstrated his versatility by averaging 8.1 yards per attempt on 23 rushing attempts.
Hill lands on the PFF 101 for the third time. In 2017, Hill led the league in yards gained on deep passes and was ranked 72nd.
35. Mitchell Schwartz
Mitchell Schwartz had the highest-graded year of his career in 2018. His overall grade of 82.9 ranked fifth out of 85 qualifying offensive tackles, and his pass-blocking efficiency rating of 98.1 ranks sixth.
This is Schwartz’ second appearance on the list. He was ranked 68th in 2015, when he was still a member of the Cleveland Browns.
37. Dee Ford
Dee Ford had a breakout year in his fifth season as a pro, the first season in which he earned an overall grade higher than 65.0. His overall grade of 88.6 ranked 11th among edge defenders in 2018, and his pass-rush grade of 91.0 ranked first. Ford led all edge defenders with 77 total pressures (45 hurries, 17 hits, 15 sacks).
This is Ford’s first appearance on the PFF 101.
80. Justin Houston
As part of one of the best pass-rushing trios in the NFL, Houston once again did damage to opposing passing attacks. He ended the year with a pressure rate of 13.3% and a win rate of 19.3%, which respectively ranked 24th and fifth among the league’s edge rushers.
Houston has now been listed in the PFF 101 five times. He was ranked 86th in 2017, when he was among the top 10 in quarterback pressures.
Two Chiefs who were on last year’s PFF 101 — Kareem Hunt (34) and Alex Smith (92) — did not make the list in 2018. Kendall Fuller (74) was on the 2017 list as a member of the Redskins, but did not make this season’s list.