ESPN put together a ranking of the top 100 players of the 2018 season. As you may know, the 2018 season hasn’t happened yet. Those who were asked to participate in the poll were asked to predict who the best players of the upcoming season will be. The players were rated on a scale of 1-100 on each list then those ranks were averaged for the final piece and per the rules past performance and positional value were not considered — “only greatness this season.”
Three members of the New York Giants made the list, but the amount of players doesn’t necessarily correlate with team quality. 15 teams had at least three players on the list, but the New England Patriots have two.
It shouldn’t be particularly hard to guess the three Giants who appear on the list, so let’s get to them.
Odell Beckham, No. 11
Beckham, recipient of a nice new contract, is predictably the highest Giant on the list and one of the top players rated overall. However, he’s just the third wide receiver on the list behind Antonio Brown (4) and Julio Jones (8). He’s also two spots behind a player he’ll likely see quite a bit of in Week 1, Jalen Ramsey of the Jacksonville Jaguars (9).
Some Giants bias might cause some reading this currently to believe this is a little low for one of the most exciting players in the league, but it’s a pretty fair ranking. There could be an argument made to shift around much of the top 5-12 players listed, so seeing Beckham come in at 11 isn’t too far off.
Landon Collins, No. 60
Collins is the fifth of five safeties to make the list. He’s behind Harrison Smith (25), Earl Thomas (28), Eric Berry (36), and Malcolm Jenkins (56).
These rankings might make a little more sense if everyone is expected to play a full season and at full health. Of the four safeties in front of Collins, one is not in camp, one is coming off an Achilles tear, and the other will turn 31 this season, though Jenkins is still playing at a high level. Collins should have the best case to rise up these rankings following up last year’s “down” season with an active role in James Bettcher’s defense, which should move the fourth-year safety all around the defense.
Saquon Barkley, No. 87
Barkley was the only rookie to make this list, which makes sense as a high draft pick with clear projected volume. 10 running backs made the list, the fourth most at a position behind quarterback, wide receiver, and defensive end, each of which had 14 players. Running back was also tied with corner at 10.
Eight running backs were listed ahead of Barkley: Le’Veon Bell (7), Todd Gurley (13), Ezekiel Elliott (15), David Johnson (27), Alvin Kamara (30), Kareem Hunt (52), Melvin Gordon (72), and Devonta Freeman (74). Dalvin Cook (94) is the back who made the list just behind Barkley.
This ranking is probably based on not knowing where to put a rookie running back on the list. If Barkley is going to live up to expectations of the second overall pick, he’ll put up numbers that put him at least in the Johnson-Kamara range of players.
Of course it’s not easy to predict who the top-100 players of an upcoming season is going to be, but it shouldn’t be too hard to predict Damon Harrison is going to have another great season. Snacks continues to be consistently underrated — a reminder he’s never been to a Pro Bowl — and he doesn’t make the cut here with seven defensive tackles listed. Those who did make the list do have more value as pass rushers, but Harrison has added in some quarterback pressure since coming to the Giants while being an unstoppable force in the middle against the run.
Around the division
The Philadelphia Eagles tied the New Orleans Saints with most players listed (7). Winning a Super Bowl will have that effect. Five Dallas Cowboys were listed, three on the offensive line — though Zack Martin (38) is recovering from a knee injury and Travis Frederick’s (61) status is unknown after being diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome. Washington had three players listed, but none in the top-70 — Trent Williams (73), Josh Norman (83), and Alex Smith (97).