NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2022" -- voted on by the players themselves -- concludes on Sunday, Aug. 28. Players ranked 20-1 will be revealed Sunday over the course of three hour-long episodes, beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
The highest-ranked undrafted player will be revealed in Episode 9 (Nos. 20-11). With that in mind, NFL Network analyst Michael Robinson provides his ranking of the top 10 active undrafted players heading into the 2022 NFL season.
Believe it or not, there's one person on a football team who gets less love than the offensive line: the fullback. It's a thankless job. The guy running behind your block often gets the notoriety, but there are several special players at the fullback position who do their jobs extremely well and earn that shine. Ricard is one of those guys. He's made the Pro Bowl in each of the last three seasons and plays a major role in the Ravens' dynamic rushing attack, which has ranked among the league's top three in each of the last four seasons.
Bourne was an efficient player for the Patriots in 2021, finishing second on the team with 55 receptions for 800 yards and five touchdowns despite playing just 52 percent of the offensive snaps. It was the best statistical season of his career, and though he's endured some struggles in camp, he could still claw and scratch his way into being a difference-maker in the regular season -- just like he did during his four seasons in San Francisco.
Lazard had his best season in 2021, posting a career-high 40 receptions, 513 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. I realize those aren't eye-popping numbers. However, with the departures of Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling this offseason, Lazard will be thrust into a much bigger role as one of few familiar targets for Aaron Rodgers on the roster. He's played with the reigning MVP for four seasons -- unlike free-agent signee Sammy Watkins and rookie Christian Watson -- and that chemistry should be reflected in Lazard's 2022 production.
Barrett immediately became an integral part of the Bucs' defense after arriving in Tampa in 2019. Since that season, Barrett has compiled 75 QB hits, 39 tackles for loss, 11 forced fumbles and 37.5 sacks, including a league-high 19.5-sacks in 2019. All four of those marks are top five in the NFL in that span. With Todd Bowles still leading the defense, there's reason to believe the two-time Pro Bowler will produce what would be his third double-digit sack season in four years.
In 2021, his second season as a full-time starter, Ekeler put up a career-high 206 carries, 911 rush yards and 12 rush TDs (20 scrimmage TDs). He's one of the more well-rounded backs in the league, with the ability to create big plays whether he's running between the tackles or catching the ball out of the backfield. The emergence of quarterback Justin Herbert should help Ekeler reach new highs in 2022, with defenses keying on the Chargers' dynamic pass game, leaving fewer defenders in the box.
The two-time Pro Bowler has been a key part of the Vikings' offense since 2016. He hasn't hit the 1,000-yard mark since 2018, but he's certainly developed into a reliable red-zone weapon for Kirk Cousins. Thielen has amassed 24 receiving touchdowns since 2020, tied for third in the NFL behind Davante Adams and Mike Evans, who were second- and first-round draft picks, respectively. With the Vikings pivoting away from a run-first offense under first-year head coach Kevin O'Connell, and with Thielen already having a strong rapport with Cousins, the veteran wideout could reach 1,000 yards for the third time in his career.
Brate doesn't get a ton of attention, having played second fiddle to guys like Rob Gronkowski and O.J. Howard in recent years. He's quietly strung together a nice career, though. He's tied for second among tight ends with 29 receiving touchdowns in the red zone since 2016. After restructuring his contract, which runs through 2023, Brate enters this season as the team's TE1 and is in prime position once again to be a big red-zone threat.
It's the year of Justin Tucker! He set the NFL record for the longest converted field goal -- a nail-biting, crossbar-hitting 66-yarder that led to a Ravens victory in Week 3 -- received a four-year contract extension, and lastly, was the No. 94-ranked player in the Top 100 Players of 2022 (his first time in the players' list). The five-time first-team All-Pro's 91.1% field-goal conversion rate ranks No. 1 among kickers since 1938. If he's not already, Tucker should be considered equals with legends like Morten Andersen and Adam Vinatieri.
Earning praises from Chris Godwin and Cooper Kupp in the Top 100 Players of 2022, Moore has become one of the best slot cornerbacks in the NFL. He not only plays well in coverage but he's constantly around the ball, whether that's at the line of scrimmage or in the backfield. Moore is an absolute ballhawk for the Colts and his 12 INTs from the slot lead all players since 2018, per Pro Football Focus. It's time he starts getting credit for his high level of play.
This list was harder to construct than I thought it'd be. However, Jackson's place at No. 1 was never in question. He brought home a bag in free agency this offseason after establishing himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the league under Bill Belichick in New England. Since 2019, Jackson leads the league in both takeaways (24) and interceptions (22) and has allowed the lowest passer rating in coverage (46.3) in that span, per PFF (min. 100 targets in coverage). Now part of a stacked Chargers defense, which features one of the top pass-rushing duos (Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack) and safeties (Derwin James) in the league, Jackson will be tasked with stopping pass-happy offenses in the AFC West on a weekly basis. Still, I don't see much of a decrease in production -- if any -- in his future.
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