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Top 100 Players of 2021, Nos. 40-31: Kyler Murray, Darren Waller surge up list

It's that time of year again, when NFL players cast their votes to identify the best in the league heading into the 2021 NFL season. Check out the results of this year's voting to see where your favorite players rank.

Bradley Chubb
Denver Broncos · OLB

The 82nd ranked player two years ago, Chubb is back in the Top 100 after health tanked his shot at making last year’s list. Opposing O-lines and QBs were quickly reminded why the Broncos edge rusher is still a player to be excited about. The first-time Pro Bowler led the Broncos with 7.5 sacks and 45 pressures while facing a steady dose of double teams all season. Here’s to hoping those injury concerns soon become a thing of the past so he can reach his full potential.    

Kyler Murray
Arizona Cardinals · QB

If it was possible to clock Murray’s ascension up this list, it would probably compare to one of the explosive Cardinals QB’s highlight-reel carries. After debuting at No. 90 his rookie year, Murray turned in an exceptional Year 2 on his way to earning the first of what is likely many Pro Bowl selections. He completed 67% of his passes for 3,971 yards and posted a 26-12 TD-INT ratio while leading Arizona to its best record (8-8) since 2017. If 2020 is any indication, it shouldn’t be long before Murray’s talent gets the Cards over the hump.  

Marlon Humphrey
Baltimore Ravens · CB

Every amateur football coach in America should be showing their secondary tape of Humphrey’s 2020 performance. The Ravens defender recorded a league-high eight forced fumbles, a career-best 82 total tackles and was great in coverage. He also somehow managed to find time to chip in 2.5 sacks. After slotting in at No. 86 last year, Humphrey’s unreal season served as the perfect precursor to the two-time Pro Bowler’s first trip inside the Top 40.  

Darius Leonard
Indianapolis Colts · OLB

There’s having a nose for the ball, and then there’s Leonard. There’s being a dynamic, tackling machine, and then there’s Leonard. Sensing a theme here? The Colts’ multi-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro linebacker rises 13 slots on this list after a red-hot 2020. Appearing in 14 games, “The Maniac” notched 132 tackles, three sacks, seven passes defensed and three forced fumbles. With his anticpated market-resetting deal now officially signed, sealed and delivered, Leonard couldn’t have picked a better time to add yet another gaudy stat line to his name.

David Bakhtiari
Green Bay Packers · OT

Bakhtiari’s charisma is trumped only by his insane work ethic. His teammates love him. Our friends over at PFF do, too, grading the Packers left tackle as one of NFL’s best pass-protectors and run blockers. Bakhtiari allowed one sack and was penalized just four times in 758 snaps last season; that’s about as disciplined as it gets. Recovering from the torn ACL he suffered to close the calendar year will be a huge hurdle to overcome, but the multi-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler’s drive gives him a great chance at doing so.

Darren Waller
Las Vegas Raiders · TE

On the heels of a career year, Waller’s inspiring story keeps finding ways to captivate NFL fans. As the focal point of the Raiders’ offense, the Pro Bowl tight end upped his numbers to career-high marks across the board: 107 receptions, 145 targets, 1,196 yards and nine TDs. From barely making it last year (No. 99) to cracking the Top 35, Waller has established himself among the NFL’s elite.

Chris Jones
Kansas City Chiefs · DE

It’s no coincidence Jones earns his highest Top 100 selection the season after securing a bag worthy of a franchise cornerstone. The Chiefs’ disruptive defensive tackle finished 2020 with 36 tackles, 7.5 sacks and 28 QB hits as part of a pass rush that sorely needed his tenacity. He also earned his second career Pro Bowl and All-Pro (second team) nods. Apart from that other behemoth in L.A., you’d be hard-pressed to find a more reliable interior defender than Jones.

Quenton Nelson
Indianapolis Colts · OG

Nelson turned in a third-straight first-team All-Pro season in 2020, becoming the first offensive lineman in NFL history to begin his career in this fashion. He also added another Pro Bowl nod because, well, why not? Of the 1,082 snaps Nelson played last season, only one ended with a sack. Even the most novice of stat mavens can acknowledge that’s flat-out absurd. Is it too soon to call Nelson the best guard in Colts history? At this point, it might just depend on who you ask.

Joey Bosa
Los Angeles Chargers · DE

Injuries limited Bosa to 12 games but the Chargers edge rusher made the most of those appearances. Finishing the season ranked No. 2 among Next Gen Stats’ top 10 disruptors, the 2020 All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection was effective and efficient. Couple those accolades with the best Top 100 finish of his career, and it stands to wonder just how much more dominant Bosa -- the No. 3 overall pick in 2016 -- can be entering Year 6.

Jamal Adams
Seattle Seahawks · SS

Adams’ designation may read safety, but unicorn might be a more apropos title. Even with an early-season groin injury hindering his availability, the all-world defender showed out in his first season with the Seahawks. In addition to again being named a Pro Bowl and All-Pro (second-team) selection, Adams made history against his former team when he broke the single-season record for most sacks by a DB (9.5). The Seahawks’ decision to make him the highest-paid at his position is a sign that the young gun could finally be in the right situation.

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