After an offseason that seemed to last ages, football is finally almost here, as the 100th NFL season will kick off with Packers-Bears on Thursday night. There will be storylines to monitor, new players to watch, and highlights everywhere you go. It will be glorious.
To celebrate, we ranked the 50 best players in the league heading into the 2019 season. The rankings are based on what they did last year, what they’ll likely do this year, and (of course) our own personal feelings on the matter.
Here are the 50 best players in football ahead of the 2019-20 NFL season.
1. Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams
Donald is perhaps the first defender in NFL history to be universally recognized as the best overall player in football, and deservedly so. He’s been a wrecking ball for years on the interior defensive line, racking up insane stats despite spending most of his time at defensive tackle.
Donald finished last year with a league-leading 20.5 sacks and 41 QB hits, along with 25 tackles for loss. Absolutely outrageous numbers. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year has had a legitimate case for MVP over the last two seasons, and at only 28, still has some of his best years ahead of him. To thrive as he has during the biggest offensive explosion in league history is remarkable, and it’s hard to find anyone who would argue he isn’t the best the league has to offer.
2. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Mahomes would not have appeared on this list one year ago. But in his first season as a starter, he set the league on fire; his cannon arm combined with Andy Reid’s offensive genius is a pairing created in a football lab. The Chiefs obliterated nearly every defense they came across, with Mahomes’ ability to extend plays and hit receivers from any angle at any distance being the force behind them.
If not for the existence of Donald (who may yet prove to be an alien), Mahomes would be the top player in the league after throwing for over 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns, astounding numbers for a first-year player. Year One of the Patrick Mahomes experience was a whirlwind, and an encore in 2019 will cement his place atop lists like these for years to come.
3. Khalil Mack, EDGE, Chicago Bears
It was a bit of a shock when the Raiders traded Mack, and rarely has a trade looked so bad so quickly. Perhaps feeling miffed after Oakland offloaded him despite years of excellent service, Mack was on a warpath all season. He finished with 12.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, and a ridiculous six fumbles forced despite missing two games due to injury.
Highlights of Mack handling very large offensive linemen like they were children made the rounds on every form of social media. Teams were forced to dedicate at least two, and some times three, players to stop him from living in the backfield. That still didn’t work.
4. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Last year was a down year by Rodgers’ standards, tossing only 25 TDs and hitting on 62 percent of his passes to total just under 4,500 yards as the Packers missed the postseason. But he only threw two picks and apparently played the entire year on a fractured leg. By most down year standards, it’s still pretty damn good.
Rodgers was clearly disillusioned by Mike McCarthy by the time he got fired. With a new coaching staff to rejuvenate him, it’s reasonable to believe Rodgers will once again return to his form as one of the three best QBs in the league at any given moment.
5. Von Miller, EDGE, Denver Broncos
Miller had a quiet year by his standards, notching 14.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss on a Denver team that struggled to win all season. That doesn’t change the fact that Miller remains one of the scariest sights any offensive lineman can see across the ball. While Mack earns his money through a deadly combination of strength and technique, Miller remains unmatched in his speed off the edge.
He still has the quickest first step out of any defender, and his ability to contort his body and bend just out of reach of the linemen remains one of the most amazing sights in the league. He’ll be a front-runner for NFL sack leader again this year and will do so unlike any other edge defender in the league.
6. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
The immortal Brady will remain in the top 10 of any list until he finally retires, it seems. Brady doesn’t put up big stats anymore, at least by his standards, as he tossed 29 TDs and 11 interceptions for a total of 4,355 yards last year. More importantly, as always, he won games, made the right throws when it mattered most, and once again was crowned Super Bowl champion.
The Patriots’ playoff run showed a clear shift in their offensive mentality; they built up their offensive line, and with Rob Gronkowski’s retirement, will rely on the ground game more than the 41-year-old Brady. But, as we’ve all learned time and time again, count out Brady at your own risk. He’s still one of the best QBs in the game.
7. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
Speaking of successful old QBs, Brees had another excellent, record-breaking year in Sean Payton’s efficient offense. He tossed only five picks while throwing 32 touchdowns and nearly 4,000 yards as the engine behind one of the league’s most explosive offenses.
While Brees and New Orleans suffered a second consecutive heart-shattering playoff loss, Brees will continue to break his own records and put up gigantic numbers. Few players are more impactful on their team than the longtime Saint, and he’s already established himself on the pantheon of NFL quarterbacks.
8. Antonio Brown, WR, Oakland Raiders
Say what you want about AB’s off-field antics, he remains the most dangerous receiver in the league. His route-running is pristine, he adjusts to balls in the air like no other, and if you give him a few more seconds, he’ll always get open. He caught 104 balls for 1,297 yards and a league-leading 15 TDs despite apparently being quite unhappy in Pittsburgh.
It remains to be seen how Brown fares when he isn’t catching balls from Ben Roethlisberger, the perfect quarterback to match Brown’s style. It’s a good bet, though, that he’ll continue to prove he deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence as the greatest wideouts of this century.
9. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
If it wasn’t for his myriad of injuries, Jones would likely be in the running for one of the greatest receivers ever, much less in today’s game. As is, the 6’3” Jones is as unguardable as any pass-catcher in the league; he’s somehow both bigger and faster than anyone who tries to cover him.
Jones led the league with 104 yards per game and averaged nearly 15 yards per reception. Defenses just have no answer for him. Even when he’s only at 70 percent, like he was much of last year, he’s a nearly unstoppable force. AB’s consistency gives him a very, very slight edge, but Jones is the very embodiment of dominance when he’s fully healthy.
10. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans, WR
Hopkins has been making some noise and rallying support for his claim of best receiver in the league; he doesn’t quite have the resume of AB or the awe-inspiring athletic traits of Jones, so it’s hard to put him above those two. One thing Hopkins can claim is the best hands in football. He can grab anything and everything within his catch radius. “When he’s covered, he’s open” can be an overused trope in football, but no player embodies it more than Hopkins.
He’s succeeded with some truly terrible quarterbacks, and Deshaun Watson has been a blessing. Last year, Hopkins caught 115 balls for 1,572 yards and 11 touchdowns as the No. 1 option in Houston. He has a ways to go to be a legitimate contender for the top receiver in the NFL, but he’s firmly established himself in the upper echelon in only six seasons.
11. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
Last year was an important one for Wilson, who forced his name into all top quarterback discussions by leading a banged-up Seattle team to the playoffs against all odds. Despite a porous offensive line, he threw for 35 TDs and only seven picks with the best completion percentage of his career. He won’t put up eye-popping numbers every week, but his football IQ combined with his mobility makes him one of the best all-around signal-callers in the game.
12. Stephon Gilmore, CB, New England Patriots
Many were shocked when Bill Belichick offered Gilmore a monster contract right out of the gate in 2016 free agency. We now all understand. Gilmore was a first-team All-Pro last season and the best corner in the league by nearly all available metrics. He only picked off two passes, but racked up 20 passes defended and was the key that unlocked a Patriots defense that shut down the best offense in the league when it mattered most. Cornerback is one of the most important positions in this league, and there’s none better than Gilmore right now.
13. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns
OBJ missed the last four games of the 2018 season, but still managed to put up 1,052 yards and six touchdowns on 77 catches. That was all with Eli Manning at quarterback, whose arm strength has declined dramatically over the last few years. Beckham should explode in 2019 as the newest member of Baker Mayfield’s receiving corps. OBJ is one of the few players in the league capable of taking it to the house every time he has the ball, and had a historic start to his career in terms of his production. He’s only getting started.
14. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
Barkley was billed as a generational talent at running back coming into his rookie year, and he proved everyone right. Despite facing regular eight or nine-man boxes, Barkley ran for 1,300 yards and 11 touchdowns while adding 91 catches for 721 additional yards in the passing game. This isn’t to mention the ridiculous highlight reel he created. Barkley is the most exciting player in football right now, and the best back in the game.
15. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
Gurley had an outstanding, MVP-level season until his knees betrayed him. He ran for 1,250 yards and led the league with 17 rushing touchdowns, in addition to his 580 yards and 4 touchdowns in the air. He was the focal point of the Rams high-powered offense, and if it weren’t for his disappearance in the playoffs, he would be ranked much higher. If the knees can hold up, Gurley is an electric force who can win games by himself. But we saw what happens when they don’t in the playoffs this season, and it’s hard to slot him higher with that in mind.
16. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
With Rob Gronkowski’s retirement, Kelce now takes the mantle of best tight end in the game without much debate. Not everyone loves his antics on the field, but it’s impossible to deny his absurd talent as a pass-catcher; he caught over 100 passes for Kansas City for 1,336 yards and 10 TDs, averaging 13 yards per catch, a wild number for tight ends. Kelce has always been a talented pass-catcher who can make big plays happen after the catch, and now that he has Mahomes tossing it to him, he should consistently put up numbers like these for the next half-decade.
17. Bobby Wagner, MLB, Seattle Seahawks
Wagner has emerged as the best linebacker in the league over the last few years, and just had the best season of his career. He notched 138 tackles as the center of Seattle’s defense and added 11 passes defended, most among middle linebackers in the league. He’s a whirlwind, fast enough to cover backs and strong enough to hang with tight ends, all while quarterbacking an entire defense. One of the best all-around players in football, and an elite player no matter which way you slice it.
18. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Elliott was yet again one of the best backs in the game last year, and the engine that drove the Cowboys’ offense. He led the league in yards per game for the third year in a row with 95, and in total racked up 1,434 yards and six TDs. Running backs aren’t as important in today’s game, sure, but Elliott’s health and talent has gotten Dallas to the point it’s at now and he’s the engine that makes that offense run. As of now his holdout carries on, but it seems like Elliott will be taking the field for Dallas sooner rather than later.
19. Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
Many believed Rivers to be on the downside of his career before last season, when he exploded for 4,300 yards and 32 TDs, leading the best Chargers team in a long time to a postseason victory. He remains the intense, whip-smart signal-caller we’ve all come to know and love, and continues to be unfazed by any situation. He’s fiery, which rubs some people the wrong way, and doesn’t throw the prettiest ball in the league, but he remains an elite QB in his late 30s.
20. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
Hopkins might have the best hands in the league, but Thomas is a very close second. He was targeted 147 times by Brees last year, and caught 125 balls, an absurdly-high catch rate of 85 percent. He ended the year with 1,405 yards and nine touchdowns, using his large body to shield off defenders on inside routes and fades. He disappeared during playoff time, but at 26 projects to be a top pass-catcher for a long time, and the Saints paid him accordingly this offseason.
21. Le’Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets
This could either be way too high or way too low for Bell, depending on how he spent his year off. If he comes back in the same form we saw last time he was on the field, he’s the best dual-threat back in the game; his patience behind the line is uniquely deadly, and he has the speed and athleticism to get around just about anybody in the open field. A year off from football will have its effects, and it may take a bit for Bell to get back up to speed. But he should be a great backfield partner with Sam Darnold, and should resume the role of bell cow for the woeful Jets franchise.
22. J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans
Watt has slowly made his way back from a series of injuries over the last few years, and last season was the first in which we’ve seen something resembling the Watt of old. He notched 16 sacks with 25 QB hits and 18 tackles for loss, exhibiting the same wrecking-ball mentality he had at the height of his powers. Watt may never make his way back to DPOY-level production, but those numbers are better than nearly everybody else at his position. He is still very, very good.
23. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
This might be the year Big Ben finally falls off after losing two of the Killer B’s in Brown and Bell. But he has Juju Smith-Schuster and James Conner as their replacements, so it isn’t all bad. He threw for over 5,000 yards last season but tossed 16 picks, his highest total since 2015. He put up big numbers, yet struggled to come away with victories, and turned the ball over at the worst possible time. Until we actually see a dropoff from a production standpoint, Roethlisberger will have his place among the five best QBs in the league.
24. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons were bad in 2018 after a rash of injuries derailed their season before it started, but Ryan was actually quite good. The Boston College product threw for over 4,900 yards with 35 TDs and only seven picks. It didn’t translate to wins, but without Ryan, the Falcons might’ve had the first overall pick last April. Ryan isn’t consistently a game-changing QB, but there are only a handful of guys who you’d take over his steady production at the most important position in football.
25. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
With the news he will not be suspended to start the year, Hill will resume his role as one of the few true game-changers in the NFL in Kansas Cuty. His speed opens up the Chiefs’ offense in a way few other speedsters in the game can, and his ability to stay in the play created more than a few highlights for Kansas City last year. He’s a crucial cog of KC’s offense and a legitimately unique player in the NFL.
26. Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
Poor Watson has spent his first two seasons in the NFL getting wailed on by defenders because his offensive line is so bad. Despite that, he’s a bright young player who led Houston to a division title last season. He threw for 4,100 yards and 26 TDs while adding 500 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Watson has every quality, tangible and intangible, to be a very good QB in this league for a long time. As is, he still has some work to do before he moves up the list.
27. Quenton Nelson, G, Indianapolis Colts
Perhaps the best rookie to come out of what looks to be a star-studded 2018 class, Nelson is a wrecking ball of a human who transformed Indy’s offensive line. There is nothing more important than protecting their new franchise QB in Jacoby Brissett, and Nelson is as good as any guard in the league in that area. He’s an excellent athlete for someone his size and can pull across the line to pave lanes for his running backs, too. Nelson should be around for a long, long time.
28. Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Wentz didn’t have a great year coming off a season-ending ACL tear, but should be trending upwards in 2019. He threw for 3,000 yards and 21 TDs in only 11 games before getting shut down for the season. He didn’t look quite right all year but still put up decent numbers, which should be a ray of hope for Eagles fans. He’ll come back fully healthy next year for the first time since his 2017 MVP form, where he threw for 3,200 yards and 33 TDs in 13 games.
29. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints
Kamara was the more versatile of the two-headed monster that resided in the Saints’ backfield last season. He was as good on the ground as running mate Mark Ingram, finishing with 883 yards and 14 TDs, but played a key role in the passing game on top of that; he finished the year with 81 catches for 700 yards and four touchdowns. The Saints move Kamara all around their offense, and there are very few backs who can line up in the slot then run between the tackles on consecutive downs. He isn’t as explosive as some of his counterparts around the league, but few contribute more to their offense.
30. Myles Garrett, EDGE, Cleveland Browns
Garrett had a relatively quiet rookie year for Cleveland, but came into his own last season, and the best has yet to come. The sophomore racked up 13.5 sacks and 29 QB hits, all without much help next to him on the defensive line. Garrett seemed to catch up to the speed of the NFL last season and was a consistent threat on the edge all year. He needs to come a bit farther along in his run defense and dealing with double-teams, but Garrett has all the makings of taking the leap to an upper-tier pass rusher this year.
31. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It was a down year in Tampa for literally everyone except Evans. The 6’5” behemoth came down with 86 catches for over 1,500 yards for an absurd average of 17.7 yards per catch. The last few years have been prolific for Evans, but he could put up some ridiculous numbers next year with Bruce Arians designing the offense. Few receivers in the league are as physically dominant as Evans, and while he’ll never beat anyone with his speed or quickness, it doesn’t matter when you’re bigger and stronger than almost everyone else.
32. Fletcher Cox, DT, Philadelphia Eagles
It was another year of high production for Cox, who continued his role as the chaotic center of the Philly defense. He notched 10.5 sacks last year with 12 tackles for loss and a career-best 34 QB hits. Simply put, he was everywhere; a force of nature who created one-on-one matchups for his fellow linemen Brandon Graham and Michael Bennett. Cox won’t get the recognition he deserves, given his work comes down in the trenches, but he’s the most important player on Philly’s defense.
33. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
McCaffrey proved how dangerous he can be on the football field last year. He also proved he can be an every-down runner. Finishing with 1,098 yards rushing and 867 yards receiving (on 107 catches), McCaffrey was one of the most electric playmakers in the NFL and the Panthers did a good job of getting him the ball in space. Equally impressive, he averaged 5.0 yards per carry, putting to rest any conversation about his ability to make it at RB in the NFL. Now firmly entrenched as the Panthers primary playmaker on offense (sorry Cam), McCaffrey has the burden of proving he can handle a heavy load (over 300 touches last year) moving forward. But in terms of talent, few rival him in the NFL.
34. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
Most years, Newton would have made an appearance much earlier in the list. But after a lost year and subsequent shoulder surgery, it’s anyone’s guess as to what kind of player Newton will be. At his best, he’s the best dual-threat QB in the league who uses his strong arm and constant movement to stretch the defense at every possible moment. Given his injury history, he might cool it on the scrambling, and he’s never been an elite passer. Still, he’s a unique athlete in a league filled with elite ones, and always a joy to watch. Until you see what he’s wearing post-game, anyway.
35. David Bakhtiari, LT, Green Bay Packers
Bakhtiari has established himself as one of the best left tackles in the league. While some other guys have more dominant stretches, what sets Bakhtiari apart is his consistency and durability; he’s missed a total of six games in six years as the starter in Green Bay, and for the last three, has been steady as they come. Aaron Rodgers couldn’t operate the way he does without an elite offensive line, and Bakhtiari is the leader of the unit that keeps him upright. A first-team All-Pro last season, you can’t ask for a better left tackle right now.
36. Jason Kelce, C, Philadelphia Eagles
Kelce has been one of the best centers in the league for years in Philadelphia, and was recognized as such last season with his second consecutive first-team All-Pro selection. He’s the commander of the Eagles’ offensive line, one of the better units in football, and Philly wouldn’t have a ring if it weren’t for him. Until someone takes his title, Kelce is the best center in football.
37. Chris Jones, DT, Kansas City Chiefs
The woes of the Kansas City defense have been lamented all offseason, but Jones was one of the lone bright spots. The third-year defensive tackle notched 15.5 sacks, 19 tackles for loss, and 29 quarterback hits, absurd numbers for an interior defensive tackle. He was a pass-rushing force all season and more than earned his second-team All-Pro selection. There are a lot of really good defensive tackles in the league right now, and this past season firmly cemented Jones in the conversation for the best one not named Aaron Donald.
38. Eddie Jackson, S, Chicago Bears
Khalil Mack got a lot of credit for the Bears defensive performance last year (rightfully so), but perhaps no one on that unit was more important to their success than Jackson. A free safety who hits hard and reads QBs like a hawk, Jackson was named first-team All-Pro after returning two of his six interceptions back for touchdowns. He also had 51 tackles, two forced fumbles and 15 passes defended. Jackson makes his presence known across the field and is a big reason why the Bears defense is among the most elite in the league.
39. Cameron Jordan, DE, New Orleans Saints
Jordan has been among the most consistent defensive linemen in the NFL since 2013, playing in every game and averaging double-digit sacks each season during that time period. After yet another monster performance in 2018, when he had 12 sacks, 49 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and 21 QB hits, the Saints gave Jordan a $52.5 million extension this offseason. There’s no reason to believe he won’t live up to it, as he’s never missed a game in his career and is a constant presence in the opponent’s backfield.
40. Luke Kuechly, MLB, Carolina Panthers
Kuechly has been among the most dominant defensive players in the game since he came in as a rookie in 2012. He’s been named to the Pro Bowl team every year since (six times in all) and has made five first-team All-Pro teams during that time too. The “down” year, 2016, when he missed six games because of injury, he was named second-team All-Pro. The heart and soul in the middle of the Panthers defense, he accumulated 130 tackles, including a career-high 20 for loss, in 2018. He’s a punisher in the middle of the field, but he’s got the mind of a quarterback, understanding what the offense is trying to do, then ramming himself into the middle of that plan and blowing it up consistently.
41. Zack Martin, G, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys offensive line has taken a few steps back from their height of dominance in 2016, but Martin has not. He’s been named to the Pro Bowl every year of his career and most recently earned his third first-team All-Pro selection (he was second-team All-Pro the other two years). Arguably the best guard in the game, Martin paved holes for Ezekiel Elliott, who led the league in rushing yards last year, and somehow didn’t have one holding penalty called against him. You don’t hear his name on telecasts a lot for that fact, but as any great offensive lineman will tell you, not hearing your name is the best compliment you can get.
42. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
Since tearing his ACL in the 2016 season opener, Allen has been among the elite wide receivers of the game. He had over 1,300 yards and 100 catches in 2017 and nearly 1,200 yards on 97 catches last year. He also caught six touchdowns in each season and was named to the Pro Bowl. A strong, agile wide receiver, he’s become Philip Rivers’ go-to guy in the clutch, and more often than not, Allen delivers. The only question is: has he reached his ceiling or is there more room to improve?
43. Darius Leonard, MLB, Indianapolis Colts
Leonard had a rookie season to remember in 2018, leading the league in tackles (163) to go along with seven sacks, eight passes defended and two interceptions. A second-round pick out of South Carolina State, Leonard collected plenty of hardware for his monster season, including defensive Rookie-of-the-Year and first-team All-Pro. More than that, he was the centerpiece of the Colts defensive turnaround as a team, making plays across the field and playing with a motor that never shut off. He’s turning 24 this offseason, so the expectation is he’ll only go up from here.
44. Xavien Howard, CB, Miami Dolphins
Despite missing the final four games of last season with a knee injury, Howard left an indelible mark. He tied for the league lead in interceptions with seven and, most notably, intercepted Andrew Luck on back-to-back defensive plays. He was named to the second-team All-Pro squad, but likely would have been first-team if he stayed healthy. After signing an extension that made him the highest-paid corner in the league this offseason, the expectation is for Howard to come back better than ever. Of course, knee injuries change a lot, so we’ll have to see how he fares this season before writing the final chapter on his place in the NFL.
45. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Most football fans know how great Green can be. But we haven’t seen it the last three years because of injuries. Last year he had a three-touchdown game and was on pace for his seventh 1,000-yard season before a recurring toe injury sidelined him after appearing in only nine games. He still averaged 77.1 yards per game and finished with six touchdowns. A five-time Pro Bowler, Green earns a spot on this list based on his dominance when he’s on the field. But after missing seven games last year and six in 2016, it’s fair to wonder if his injury woes will ultimately drop him from the Top 50, especially seeing as he’ll be on the shelf for the first few weeks.
46. Kyle Fuller, CB, Chicago Bears
After missing all of the 2016 season with a leg injury, Fuller had his breakthrough moment last year, being named first-team All-Pro after recording seven interceptions and defending 21 passes. He played a huge role in the Bears shutdown defense and rewarded GM Ryan Pace’s decision to match an offer sheet from the Packers. The former 14th overall pick took a big leap forward in his fifth year in the league, anticipating what the offense was doing like so many greats before him. If he stays healthy, he’s a lockdown corner on one of the best defenses in the league. But he does have to prove that wasn’t a one-hit-wonder of a season to stay among the best in the game.
47. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Smith-Schuster has made a lot of noise this offseason with his social media interactions with Antonio Brown, but it was his remarkable sophomore season that truly put him in the NFL spotlight. Playing opposite Brown, Smith-Schuster went off for 1,426 receiving yards and seven touchdowns last year and was named to the Pro Bowl. With Brown gone, JuJu will likely see more coverage schemes designed to stop him. Depending on how he does with that, he could move up this list or be pushed off it.
48. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions, QB
People love to complain about Stafford’s mechanics and turnovers, and the reality is he hasn’t come close to matching his 2011 season (5,000 yards, 41 TDs) in the years following. But Stafford is still among the top gunslingers in the NFL and his stats prove it. In a down year for the former Georgia Bulldog, Stafford threw for 3,777 yards with 21 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. That while playing under a totally new regime with young receivers in Detroit. The Lions hired a new offensive coordinator this offseason and the expectation is they’ll take a significant step forward this year. If they do, expect Stafford to be the centerpiece of that success.
49. Yannick Ngakoue, EDGE, Jacksonville Jaguars
Ngakoue is one of the young up-and-coming pass rushers in this league. He only notched nine and a half sacks last year after nabbing 12 in 2017, but racked up 33 QB hits, a huge number on a defense that has a lot of other talent. He also racked up a career-high 13 tackles for loss. Ngakoue has all the signs of an elite player in him, and certainly passes the eye test when you watch him battle offensive tackles; he just has to put it together for long stretches of time.
50. Bradley Chubb, EDGE, Denver Broncos
Another young up-and-coming pass rusher, Chubb led all rookies in sacking opposing quarterbacks 12 times last year, and figures to only get better as Vic Fangio, the man who unleashed Khalil Mack, takes over his development. Chubb is a quality all-around pass-rusher who can get to the QB with any variety of strength, quickness, and rushing moves that the situation requires. Equally as important, Chubb will face heavy doses of one-on-one action with Von Miller across from him. That worked out pretty well last year for Denver, and Chubb should only have a more impressive statistical season in his sophomore campaign.