Everybody has opinions, and you know what they say about opinions and a certain orifice of the human anatomy. But it sure can be fun to fling our opinions out there sometimes and see what sticks. Yesterday, Pete Prisco of CBS Sports decided that he was qualified to judge who are the current 100 best players in the NFL today.
Four members of the Pittsburgh Steelers made the list, but perhaps those who did not are equally notable. Making the cut were T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward, Bud Dupree, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Prisco also included a rather extended list of probably another 50 players who ‘just missed’ the list, which seems impossible, but included Ben Roethlisberger, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and David DeCastro among those proverbial honorable mentions.
Given Roethlisberger’s uncertain status, perhaps it’s fair to leave him off the list at this time. Fitzpatrick, I’m sure many will have an issue with that. In just his second season, he has already become instrumental and fundamental in one of the best defenses in the league. He recorded seven takeaways last season, which I believe was tied for the most in the NFL, with two defensive touchdowns, and was a first-team All-Pro.
Prisco did include six safeties in his top 100, a representative number, with Tyrann Mathieu the highest at 34. Harrison Smith, Jamal Adams, Derwin James, Justin Simmons, and Kevin Byard were the others who made it ahead of Fitzpatrick.
As for those who did make it, Watt led the way for the Steelers, ranked 16th. Heyward came in at 33, with Dupree at 60, and Smith-Schuster, coming off of a very disappointing and injury-filled season, still checked in at 84. That ranked 12th among wide receivers, behind players like Davante Adams, A.J. Green, and Keenan Allen.
I’m not sure if more people will be surprised by Fitzpatrick’s omission or Dupree’s inclusion, but the latter is coming off of a strong season in which he posted 11.5 sacks with four forced fumbles and two recoveries, in addition to playing strong run defense and racking up tackles for loss.
As with Prisco, of course, we all have our own opinions, as well. Considering the fact that he included other players who are returning from significant injuries, I would still have found a way to include Roethlisberger on my list of top 100 players, for example. But nobody asked me.