DeAndre Hopkins will be among the league's Top 20 players when the NFL Top 100 is all said and done.
DeAndre Hopkins will be among the league's Top 20 players when the NFL Top 100 is all said and done.
Photo by Eric Sauseda

DeAndre Hopkins Will Be Among Top 20 Players On the NFL Top 100

You could forgive DeAndre Hopkins if he is feeling a little slighted as the 2018 NFL season draws closer and closer. After all, most of the discussion surrounding the Houston Texans with training camp looming centers around two players returning from injury, and sure, Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt are supremely important players, but Hopkins has been a fixture for this team for 79 out of 80 games since 2013.

Yeah, Watson is the Texans' most important player, and Watt is the face of the franchise, but the Texan who was the best at his job in 2017 was the first team All-Pro, Hopkins, who led the NFL in touchdown catches with 13, despite playing more than half the season with a combo of Tom Savage and T.J. Yates tossing him the pigskin. If nothing else, Hopkins was able to rejuvenate his reputation of being "QB proof," a label that he'd lost for a season in 2016. (Indeed, the only player, as it turns out, who could shut down DeAndre Hopkins is Brock Osweiler.)

As a result of Hopkins' down season in 2016, he fell out of the NFL Top 100 altogether heading into 2017, this after debuting in the player-selected list at number 19 the year before, coming off a 2015 season in which he caught 11 passes for over 1,500 yards from Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer.

On Monday night, the NFL Network unveiled the next set of ten players in the NFL Top 100 for 2018. They went as follows:

21. BOBBY WAGNER, LB, SEA
22. A.J. GREEN, WR, CIN
23. PATRICK PETERSON, ARZ
24. TRAVIS KELCE, TE, KC
25. CAM NEWTON, QB, CAR
26. CAM JORDAN, DE, NOLA
27. LARRY FITZGERALD, WR, ARZ
28. CHANDLER JONES, DE, ARZ
29. MATT RYAN, QB, ATL
30. LeSEAN McCOY, RB, BUF

Yes, another ten players came and went with no sign of Hopkins' name, which I am virtually certain means he will, once again, reassert himself as one of the top 20 players in all of football. For what it's worth, in forecasting where Hopkins would land on this list, a few weeks ago, I posted 19.5 as the OVER/UNDER for his slot. As it turns out, I might be spot on.

There are still many marquee names, more marquee than Hopkins, that still have not been named. I feel very confident that I nailed Hopkins' ranking with a spot or two. I'd be floored if he were in the top ten, mildly surprised if he were top 15, but not shocked at all if he were between 20th and 16th somewhere. As best I can tell, I think the following are the names that will comprise the top 20 spots, in no particular order:

TOM BRADY, QB, NE
AARON RODGERS, QB, GB
DREW BREES, QB, NOLA
CARSON WENTZ, QB, PHI
ANTONIO BROWN, WR, PIT
LE'VEON BELL, RB, PIT
BEN ROETHLISBERGER, QB, PIT
ROB GRONKOWSKI, TE, NE
AARON DONALD, DT, LAR
KHALIL MACK, OLB, OAK
JALEN RAMSEY, CB, JAC
TODD GURLEY, RB, LAR
RUSSELL WILSON, QB, SEA
DeANDRE HOPKINS, WR, HOU
JULIO JONES, WE, ATL
CALAIS CAMPBELL, DE, JAC
LUKE KUECHLY, LB, CAR
VON MILLER, DE, DEN
EVERSON GRIFFIN, DE, MIN
ALVIN KAMARA, RB, NOLA

The countdown resumes next Monday at 7 p.m. Central Time on the NFL Network.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.

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