It’s been the NFL media player season and not everyone is happy. Nothing makes players, experts and fans more excited than putting someone in front of someone else for their work on the field, because they are wrong and we are right.
Sporting News has started with the fun of position by position and has already released our quarterback, running back, a wide receiver and tight end rankings entering the 2020 season. So with the NFL’s annual Top 100 players rolling out again this week, it goes without saying for us to compare, contrast and ask questions.
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Given the league’s list based on players voting for their peers, there are always noticeable differences between armchair analysts and scouting services. With No. 100 through No. 71 revealed and No. 70 through No. 1 yet to come, here are the biggest early reactions to the rankings, starting with a pissed off wide receiver:
Keenan Allen doesn’t like number 77 that much
Broad receivers are outspoken and every good person thinks he’s the best indeed. They are very difficult to rank against each other, let alone against a pool of players in other positions.
The Chargers ‘Keenan Allen was not happy to be the fourth of many recipients revealed, only for the Bears’ Allen Robinson (No. 93), the Rams ‘Cooper Kupp (No. 89) and the Seahawks’ DK Metcalf ( No. 81). Although Allen isn’t the greatest field stretcher or scorer, he expected his three-year average of 101 catches, 1,263 yards, and 6 TDs to give him a better view of widespread outs.
Interestingly, Allen called the Buccaneers duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin (not Goodwin) and Speedster of Chiefs, Tyreek Hill, one of the receivers he said were inferior.
Evans is gaining more attention for his major plays and has averaged over 17 meters per catch over the past two seasons. Hill represents the best home run-hitting receiver in Allen’s own division, the AFC West, where Allen recently stated he was the best.
However, Godwin is a similar technician to Allen with his routes and hands. He missed two games in his outbreak last season, but still posted 86 catches for 1,333 yards and nine TDs. Allen is right that he needs more credit, despite the lack of success and scoring. But big plays and TDs are a big part of the game. That’s why he’s a solid number 15 among the widespread players in the Sporting News list, with Godwin No. 3, Hill No. 6 and Evans No. 7. All of them can counter that he’s more like SNs – and probably the NFLs – No. 1, Saints’ Michael Thomas, then all.
Allen has a lot of substance, but there is much more than style associated with the games of Evans, Godwin and Hill to make them worthy of being ranked above him.
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Allen Robinson really was the dissed Allen wide receiver
Keenan Allen was 16 places ahead of Allen Robinson. In the broad list of SN recipients, Robinson was number 12, three places ahead of Allen.
Robinson hails from a remarkable season with the Bears, where he received little additional help outside of Anthony Miller and produced despite major regression from Mitchell Trubisky. Robinson was better all round as an external receiver who got the best coverage every week vs. Kupp, who dominated in the slot for the Rams, and Metcalf, who flourished as number 2 opposite Tyler Lockett for Russell Wilson.
In 2015, Robinson appeared poised to become the NFL’s best wide-out and posted an 80-catch, 1,400-yard, 14-TD season for the Jaguars. He did that despite catching passes from Blake Bortles, making the QB look much better than he actually was.
Between a torn ACL and a free agency, it was a long way back for Robinson to reach that level. His 26-year season in 2019 was right there: 98 catches, 1,147 yards, and seven TDs. Robinson’s songs were very similar to Allen’s, so if Allen has a beef, Robinson has a bigger one.
All in all, with Robinson and Allen ranked so “low”, it again shows that the NFL has never been as deep and talented as a wide receiver, the most glossy and most talked about position of the game.
Josh Allen, really, at number 87, about Carson Wentz?
All who concern Allen more on the “NFL Top 100” is the third year quarterback of the Bills. Had it been the edge pass rusher of the Jaguars of the same name, you would have liked that.
But we’re not sure how Josh Allen is quarterback over Carson Wentz. According to NBC Sports Philadelphia, five Eagles made the list (Zach Ertz, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Fletcher Cox, Darius Slay), but all five have already been revealed and none of them is Wentz.
When Allen was in Wyoming, the athletic passer-by with big arms made comparisons to Wentz. But Wentz, an MVP candidate on Eagles’ Super Bowl 52 run, played a full season at a much higher overall level in 2019. Allen gets too much attention for his productive running (510 yards, nine TDs) than criticism for his erratic, inaccurate passing.
Kyler Murray of the Cardinals was the first QB to be revealed on the list at number 90, three spots down. That was also a bit of a stretch. Murray was the attacking rookie of the year. With similar transient and hasty numbers from 2019 and some benefits to improve with new wide receivers Stefon Diggs and DeAndre Hopkins respectively, it makes sense that Allen and Murray are close together in rankings.
In Sporting News’ forward-looking QB rankings for 2020, Allen (No. 18) was just ahead of Murray (No. 19). But it is impossible, with only 70 spots left, that all 17 QBs outperform both at the moment. That includes Wentz, who ranked SN on quarterback No. 9.
You’d hope Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Deshaun Watson and Dak Prescott are all ditches to make the quarterback in the NFL Top 100. Tom Brady is also likely to get there due to his GOATness, despite a shaky last Patriots season. But Allen doesn’t deserve to crack the list yet, not even far behind all of them.
Allen Robinson certainly shouldn’t be behind Josh Allen, and Keenan Allen should be much more upset that he’s even 10 places ahead.