Winding down the last 25 players on our list, we now take a look at players with jersey numbers ranging from 24-1. An early run on running backs continues, finished out by a mix of veteran quarterbacks and a new wave of young quarterbacks who have provided excitement to football fans everywhere.
24. Stephon Gilmore, New England Patriots
The reigning defensive player of the year kicks things off with the nod over star Browns running back Nick Chubb. The first corner to win the award since Charles Woodson in 2009, Gilmore locked down the right side of the field for the Patriots last season, finishing tied for the league lead in interceptions (six) and pass breakups (20). A combination of speed, athleticism, and length, he is praised for his work ethic and talent by fellow Patriots teammates and coaches.
23. Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints
The former Ohio State Buckeye and now number one corner in New Orleans, Lattimore, is entering the league’s elite, heading into just his fourth season. With receiver like quickness and a linebacker like aggressiveness, Lattimore regularly plays up at the line in press coverage. An imposing figure in run support also, he can shed blockers at the first and second level and drive back opposing running backs. After a pro bowl season in 2019, the Saints picked up the 5th year option for the 2017 draft pick, keeping him in New Orleans through 2021.
22. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
Perhaps the best offensive weapon in football, McCaffrey, makes an impact on games in so many different ways. After a 2019 season that saw him lead the NFL in total touches, yards from scrimmage, and touchdowns, he became just the third player in NFL history to record 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season. With the rare ability to line up all over the formation, taking snaps at wide receiver and in the backfield, he is the perfect offensive weapon for the new age NFL and looks to be the lead guy for the Panthers foreseeable future after his four-year contract extension this offseason.
21. Ezekiel Elliott Dallas Cowboys
After leading the league in rushing in two of his first three seasons in the league, he is one of the best backs in the game. In a disappointing year for the Cowboys last season, Elliot shined, rushing for over 1300 yards and 12 touchdowns, leading to his third pro bowl nod. One of the most powerful running backs in the league, Elliot, can use a strong leg drive and his upper body to drive past opposing defenders and pick up extra yards. Along with this, he can use outstanding balance and agility to make cuts quickly in open space to make defenders miss.
20. Jalen Ramsey, Los Angeles Rams
Our third defensive back in this section of the list and perhaps the best cover corner in the game, Ramsey, is the complete package. With the size at 6 foot 1 and weighing 209 pounds, he has the ability and athleticism to hang with any opposing offensive player in the league. After becoming disgruntled with the Jaguar’s ownership, Ramsey played well in nine games after being traded to the Rams, recording 33 tackles, one interception, and four passes defended. One of the only defensive backs in the game who shadows the opposing team’s number one receiver game in and game out, he is the true definition of a shutdown corner.
19. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys
A silky smooth technician that possesses some of the best route-running skills in the league, Cooper gets the slight edge over two very talented receivers in Golladay and Thielen. In his first full season with the Cowboys in 2019, he recorded career highs in receptions (79), receiving yards (1189), touchdowns (8), and yards per reception (15.1). Still hindered by consistency issues week to week, Cooper recorded 562 yards and three touchdowns in a five-game stretch last season. However, he failed to go over 100 yards receiving in any of his final seven games to close out the season last year and only recorded one touchdown. This inconsistent play makes him still not dependable enough to be mentioned among the real elites of the game at receiver.
18. Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
A second straight former University of Alabama receiver, Ridley has become the perfect complement across from Julio Jones in Atlanta. Taking full advantage of the coverage that Jones demands on every play, Ridley has established a quick connection with quarterback Matt Ryan over his first two seasons, recording over 800 yards receiving and seven touchdowns in 29 games for the Falcons. Owning some of the best footwork and acceleration among wide receivers in the league, he can use his explosiveness to set up opposing defenders and his 4.4 speed to run past them.
17. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
A top-five wide receiver and one of the complete players at his position in the league, Adams has improved in each of his first five seasons. After a career year in 2018 that saw him record his first thousand-yard season and finish second in the league in touchdowns, he followed it up last season with 83 receptions for over 900 yards and five touchdowns in 12 games with the Packers. Trouble for any opposing defensive back, Adams can release off the line of scrimmage with ease and run an entire route tree as the go-to guy for Aaron Rodgers.
16. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
The Rams signal-caller had a down year last season after leading his team to the Super Bowl in 2018; still, Goff remains the best player at this jersey number. A perfect fit for head coach Sean McVay’s outside-zone running and heavy play-action offensive scheme, Goff can make any throw in the game from a clean pocket, along with outside the pocket on the run. However, when the pocket breaks down and the pressure gets to Goff, and he needs to make a playoff schedule, he begins to struggle as evidenced by last season when he was hit 48 times, good for tenth most in the NFL.
15. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
The best football player on the planet at the most important position in the sport, Mahomes is the most natural pick on this entire list. Already a regular-season MVP, a Super Bowl champion and MVP heading into just his fourth NFL season, he is entering rarified air among the best quarterbacks ever to play the game. After trailing in all three playoff games last season, he led three second-half comebacks to help the Chiefs secure their first title in over 50 years, no bigger than rattling off 41 consecutive points after falling behind 24-0 to Houston in the Divisional round of the playoffs.
14. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
Fresh off a trade to the Bills early on in the offseason after becoming disgruntled with the Vikings, Diggs is the best number 14 in the game. While he lacks elite size and speed like other receivers in the game, he is a dynamic route runner and is one of the best at creating space and getting open. As the undisputed number one target in Buffalo next season, look for Diggs to remain one of the most productive wideouts in the NFL.
13. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
A popular number for elite receivers in the league, Thomas earns the nod after a record-setting 2019 performance that saw him record 149 receptions and break the record for catches in a single season. In an NFL in 2020 that focuses on the deep ball more than ever, Thomas is a unique receiver in that the majority of his receptions come in the short and intermediate areas of the passing game. With the size and ability to set up corners off the line of scrimmage and use his body to shield them at the point of the catch, he can catch a volume of passes game in and game out, leading many to put him among the true elites of the game.
12. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
In a battle between two of the games all-time great quarterbacks, Rodgers earns the edge over the soon to be 43 Brady. Seen by many as not the quarterback he once was, Rodgers remained incredibly efficient last season, throwing for over 4,000 yards and 26 touchdowns to just four interceptions. One of the greatest arm talents to ever play the game, he has the arm strength and accuracy to make any throw in the book. While he is approaching the final years of his career at the age of 36, the Packers are always a Super Bowl contender with Rodgers under center.
11. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
With six straight seasons of over 80 catches and 1300 receiving yards, Jones is as consistent as they come at the receiver position. At 6-foot-3 and weighing 220 pounds with 4.3 speed, he can run past opposing defensive backs on deep balls and go up to high point the football over top of them. Currently on track to break 49ers legend Jerry Rice’s all-time receiving yards record, Jones could vault himself into the best of all-time conversation when his career is all said and done.
10. DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals
After three straight first-team all-pro selections, Hopkins finds a new home in the desert next season after the Texans shocked the world after choosing to move him early on in the offseason. An elite receiver on short and intermediate throws as long as a deep threat, he is everything you can ask for in a true number one receiver. What separates him from other elite receivers in the game is his red zone abilities, finishing top five in touchdown receptions in two of his last three seasons.
9. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
The guy you think of when you hear the number nine, even at the age of 40, Drew Brees continues to play at a high level. After a thumb injury forced him to miss time last season, Brees continued his strong play, completing over 74 percent of his passes for 2900 yards and 27 touchdowns in 11 games. However, the Saints came up short in the playoffs after being upset by the 6th seed Minnesota Vikings. Heading into next season, Brees will again try and lead the Saints to that elusive second Super Bowl he has been chasing his entire career.
8. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
A human highlight reel at the quarterback position, Jackson makes defenders look foolish each week. After a brief stint in his rookie season that saw him start seven games, Jackson was electrifying last season, throwing for 3100 yards and 36 touchdowns while rushing for over 1200 yards, leading him to capture the MVP award. Once thought of as a running back or wide receiver by NFL scouts heading into the draft, he has taken significant strides as a passer and is paired in the perfect situation in Baltimore with head coach John Harbaugh.
7. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
After missing 14 games last season with an elbow injury, the spotlight will be on Roethlisberger next season after leading the league in passing yards just a season ago. One of the hardest quarterbacks in the game to bring down, he is continuously extending plays in the pocket and creating windows with his patented pump fake. Behind one of the best defenses in the league in Pittsburgh, look for the Steelers to once again be a contender in the AFC next season with Big Ben at the helm.
6. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
The Browns’ fiery leader had a disappointing season last year after taking the league by storm during his rookie season. Starting all 16 games for the Browns, Mayfield threw 21 interceptions, leading the team to a disappointing 6-10 finish. A major reason for his poor play was the inconsistent play of the Browns offensive line and the poor play calling of Freddie Kitchens. Looking ahead to 2020, with the new additions of head coach Kevin Stefanski and tight end Austin Hooper, look for Mayfield to have a much better season and make the Browns a contender in the AFC wildcard race.
5. Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers
One of the most lovable players in the NFL, Bridgewater shined for the injured Drew Brees in five games for the Saints last season. Leading the team to an undefeated record in those games, he completed 67 percent of his passes for 1300 yards, nine touchdowns, and just two interceptions. Not the most physically gifted quarterback by any standard, Bridgewater uses his intelligence, accuracy, and leadership to lead his team. After signing a three year deal with the Panthers early on in the offseason, look for Bridgewater to shine paired with former Baylor head coach Matt Rhule.
4. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
One of the most clutch quarterbacks in the NFL, Watson makes the Texans a contender each season. In his third season in the league last year, he led the team to an AFC South title, throwing for 3800 yards and 26 touchdowns. However, the most brilliant moment of his young career came in the AFC wildcard round when he led the Texans from 16-0 down to a victory against the Buffalo Bills. The next quarterback in line for a contract extension, look for Watson to break the bank.
3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
In one of his best seasons to date in 2019, Wilson shined, leading Seattle to their second straight playoff appearance. One of the best quarterbacks in the league at navigating the pocket, Wilson is known for his Houdini like escape abilities and strong throw on the run skills. Often keeping the team in contention based on his play alone, he has made the pro bowl in six of his first eight seasons and looks to be getting better with age, throwing for over 3900 yards and 30 touchdowns in each of his last three seasons.
2. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
One of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league, if it weren’t for his shortcomings in the playoffs, Ryan would be higher among all-time greats. A three-time pro bowler and a one time MVP in 2016, he relies on his accuracy as a passer and his football intelligence to win games. After missing the playoffs in Atlanta the last two seasons, he will look to get the Falcons back on track next season, in one of the most competitive divisions in football, following the arrival of Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.
1. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
The 2019 offensive rookie of the year, Murray is one of the most polarizing players in the game. After rewriting the record books in 2019, he became just the second rookie quarterback ever to record more than 3500 yards passing and 500 yards rushing in a single season. Although, he still has a lot of room for improvement heading into 2020 as he threw 12 interceptions last season with over half of them coming in the final stretch of games.
Questions and comments?
Hit us up on the Socials:
Check out our Facebook Group where you can read and post articles at The Scorecrow
Reddit Group where everyone can post without fear of being banned at The Scorecrow
Follow Chris Gallagher on Twitter @ChrisGally06
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images