I love lists. Love them.
What do I need to get done tomorrow? Let me make a to-do list. What are the five best movies ever? List those bad boys. Which Deniece Williams song makes my heart sing the most? Give me a list. (Spoiler: It's Let's Hear It for the Boy).
Someone who might love lists more than I do is NFL Network, or as they would have you believe… the NFL players.
Since 2011 the NFL Network has put together an annual “NFL Top 100” list. The list is pretty simple – the Top 100 Players in the NFL as voted on by the players.
That last bit is a little tricky. Yes, technically the votes that go into this list are 100% players on NFL rosters, but I can guarantee you that the Tom Bradys of the world aren't in on it. As a result the sanctity of the list is left in the hands of players who are simply prisoners of the moment and have no memory past the most recent season.
The 2016 version of the Top 100 list gets going tonight on NFL Network, and we here at Inside The Star were wondering how America's Team is going to do.
|DeMarcus Ware (12th)||DeMarcus Ware (6th)||DeMarcus Ware (12th)||Dez Bryant (25th)||DeMarco Murray (4th)|
|Jason Witten (36th)||Jason Witten (75th)||Dez Bryant (35th)||DeMarcus Ware (56th)||Dez Bryant (15th)|
|Andre Gurode (57th)||Tony Romo (91st)||Jason Witten (41st)||Tony Romo (71st)||Tony Romo (34th)|
|Miles Austin (70th)||Tyron Smith (78th)||Tyron Smith (36th)|
|Tony Romo (72nd)||DeMarco Murray (87th)||Jason Witten (93rd)|
|Jay Ratliff (75th)||Jason Witten (98th)|
Bolded Names Are Active Players On The Dallas Cowboys Roster
The Cowboys average 4.6 players on the NFL Top 100 every year, but since we can't have a player who's value is .6 (we'll let the Eagles have those guys like Sam Bradford) we'll round it down to an even 4. That number is working well for Cowboys Nation these days, right? Ezekiel Elliott was selected with the 4th Overall Pick and Dak Prescott is going to wear #4. Sweet.
So who will the four Dallas Cowboys on the list be? We need to remember that the “players” voting on this list have really, really, really short term memories. For instance, it would not shock me at all for Tony Romo to be completely absent from this list due to the fact that he only played, poetically, four games last year.
Here are our official predictions regarding the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016.
Jason Witten Gets The Sixth Ring
The only Dallas Cowboy who has made the list each year since its inception is one who I believe we all take for granted – Jason Witten.
Witten has become so good and so dependable that it's actually boring. He's like the San Antonio Spurs of the tight end position. It's exhausting to watch him play game after game, make catch after catch, and be clutch all the time.
Jason is a household name when it comes to the tight end position. The NFL literally hands the players voting a list and says to write down their 100 best players. If I gave you a pen and paper to do the same, don't you think Witten's name would come up? Of course you do. He's making the list for a sixth straight time.
Tyron Smith Makes It To The 20s
I can't emphasize how big enough of a factor the whole “household name” quality is with this list. The players are essentially writing down the first hundred names that come to mind.
Tyron Smith has established himself as one of the premiere left tackles in the game – arguably the best. Consider the big names that were hurt last season: Tony Romo, Le'Veon Bell, Jamaal Charles, etc.. When the voters think of stars, no pun intended, they'll think of Tyron. Look for him to be one of the top two tackles on the list.
Dez Bryant Falls To The 50s
Mr. Throw Up The X only played in nine games during the 2015 season, and he was without #9 for six of them. As a result he ended the season with a disappointing 31 catches for 401 yards and 3 touchdowns.
With other receivers across the NFL having spectacular seasons in 2015 (Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, and Brandon Marshall off the top of my head) Dez will likely be one of the lower receivers on the list. He'll still make it, he's Dez Bryant after all, but if you were basing the list off of 2015, which most of these guys are, it'd be hard to justify putting him above a lot of people.
Zack Martin Makes His NFL Top 100 Debut
Pretend that you literally just started following the NFL a year ago. (This is how Chip Kelly builds NFL teams, FYI).
When it comes to the best at their respective positions one name would undoubtedly stick out – Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl Guard Zack Martin. In two seasons Zack has as many Pro Bowls and was named a First-Team All-Pro in 2014 as a rookie. You'd be pretty impressed, right?
The voting for this is typically done around the Super Bowl as far as the calendar is concerned, which somewhat explains why Zack didn't make the list last year. Similarly to Tyron Smith people identify him with success and with the greatness of the Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line. He'll make it.
Sean Lee Squeaks In For A Surprise 5th Cowboy
I know that I said we were going to round down from 4.6 but the rules of math, logic, and my own heart are suggesting that we round up! Raise the roof up in this hizzy!
Sean Lee was, shockingly, one of the lone points of consistency when it came to health for the 2015 Dallas Cowboys. He played in 14 games, something he's only done three times in his career, and he racked up 76 tackles along the way. That's the 19th most of all NFL players and the 12th most among those that saw snaps at the linebacker position.
Even more wind in the Sean Lee sails is the fact that perhaps his finest game of the season came in a Monday Night Football matchup in Washington on a cold December night. This was a national game that plenty undoubtedly saw that conveniently took place shortly before voting likely began. 2015 saw Sean Lee make his first Pro Bowl, and now it's going to give him his first spot on the NFL Top 100.
It wouldn't be fun if we didn't get a little crazy, right? Here are three bold predictions for the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016 List:
- Darren McFadden Makes The List — The NFL's 4th Leading Rusher has to be remembered, right?
- Dan Bailey Is The Only Kicker On The List — Split 'em. All day long.
- Byron Jones Jumps Onto The List — We weren't the only ones who saw what he did.