The NFL season is 94 days away, so what better way to prepare for the season then to countdown the top 5 NFL players going into this upcoming season. This list will include players from both sides of the ball with all stats put into perspective.
Honorable Mentions: WR Julio Jones, QB Aaron Rodgers, DT Aaron Donald, HB David Johnson.
5. Von Miller OLB Denver Broncos.
Starting off the list is the star linebacker who dominated Cam Newton in Super Bowl 50, 5-time pro-bowler Von Miller. You can make a reasonable argument as to why Von Miller is the most dominant player in the league on the defensive side of the ball. Last season, Miller finished with 78 tackles, 13.5 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles, which led him to a pro bowl and first team all-pro honors. Von Miller is the leader of a star-studded Denver Broncos defense and should continue to unleash hell on quarterbacks next season.
4. Khalil Mack DE/OLB Oakland Raiders
Khalil Mack is a full-fledged monster. Mack is a great pass rusher and run stopper. Last season Mack finished with 73 total tackles, 11 sacks, 5 forced fumbles and 1 interception. That stat line gave Mack a 1st team all pro honor, a pro bowl spot, and the award for defensive player of the year. Every single year Mack improves, and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
3. J.J. Watt DE Houston Texans
Next up on the list is a player who’ll make some people upset for being this high, J.J. Watt. In only playing 3 games last season due to a herniated disk injury he had 8 tackles and 1.5 sacks, nothing special. But don’t let last season change your view point on this man, JJ Watt is still a force to be reckoned with. This 3x Defensive Player of the Year is by the far the best defensive player in the league when healthy. In 2014 and 2015 combined, Watt finished with a total of 38 sacks. The bottom line is that J.J. Watt is far none the best defensive player in the league when he’s healthy.
2. Matt Ryan QB Atlanta Falcons
Coming off of an MVP season and possibly one of the best seasons by a QB in NFL history, (4,944 yards, 38 TDs 7 INTs) Ryan still has a lot to prove. He came up short in the Super Bowl after blowing an infamous 28-3 lead over the Patriots. He now must prove to everyone that he is not a one hit wonder and this upcoming season has to be just as good as his last. Ryan has the targets and offensive support including the best wide receiver in the NFL in Julio Jones. If both play to their potential it could be another amazing season, and maybe even take home a super bowl ring.
1. Tom Brady QB New England Patriots
Number one on my list is none other than the G.O.A.T. himself, Tom Brady. Coming off of a terrific Super Bowl winning season where he threw for 3,554 yards, 28 TDs and only 2 INTs in 12 games, Brady is shaping up to have another amazing season this year. The Patriots had one of the best off-season’s of all the teams this year. Most notably, they picked up star recover Brandin Cooks in a trade with the New Orleans Saints. Cooks lined up with Julian Edelman and a healthy Rob Gronkowski spells trouble for opposing defenses. The Patriots definitely have the best team in the NFL on paper, and it should correlate on the field. There’s no doubt in my mind that Tom Brady is going to have yet another amazing season this year.