Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers isn’t what he used to be in the eyes of his peers.
The top 10 players of the NFL Network’s Top 100 list was unveiled on Wednesday night and Rodgers finished sixth. That’s down four spots from 2015, when he finished behind only Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.
The rankings are determined by player voting. More players turned in ballots this year than in any of the five previous years the NFL Network has been compiling this list.
This year’s top 10 is as follows.
- Carolina Panthers quarterback (and league MVP) Cam Newton
- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady
- Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown
- Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson
- Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly
- Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones
- New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski
- New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Newton’s No. 1 ranking prevented both Brady and Watt from being the first player to finish No. 1 twice.
The Packers landed only three players on the list. In addition to Rodgers, linebacker Clay Matthews came in at No. 57 and defensive end Mike Daniels was No. 95.
The Minnesota Vikings had four players in the top 100, the Chicago Bears had one, and the Detroit Lions got skunked.
In 2015, the top five were Watt, Rodgers, Brady, DeMarco Murray and Peyton Manning.
The Packers had six players on that list: Rodgers (2), Jordy Nelson (18), Matthews (51), Eddie Lacy (60), Julius Peppers (71), and Randall Cobb (100).
Perhaps most interesting here is that the players didn’t hold Rodgers’ subpar 2015 season against him. The list is supposed to represent the 100 best players entering the 2016 season. If you look at last year’s list — particularly at Nelson and Lacy — you can see that players did hold 2015 against them.
A fickle bunch, clearly.
As for Rodgers, we’re not going to rank him at all. You could make an argument why he should be No. 1 by saying who would you want to start a franchise with right now? You could make an argument for him being outside of the top 100 entirely by watching the tape from the 2015 season.
That’s the thing about lists like these. They’re subjective.
Rob Born contributed to this piece.