Top 100 Players of 2022, Nos. 60-51: Cardinals QB Kyler Murray checks in at No. 57

It’s that time of year again, when NFL players cast their votes to identify the best in the league heading into the 2022 NFL season. Check out the results of this year’s voting to see where your favorite players rank.

Corey Linsley

Linsley hasn’t allowed a sack since Week 10 of 2020, per PFF, when he was a member of the Packers. The Chargers nabbed him from Green Bay in free agency ahead of the 2021 season by making him the highest-paid center at the time. Once there, he continued being an immovable force along a whole new line. Linsley is under contract until 2025, and new paydays being struck for other centers continue to paint this list’s No. 1 at the position as a steal.

Maxx Crosby

Crosby’s eight sacks in 2021 fell two short of his career high from his rookie year, but the budding star’s third season was unmistakably his breakout campaign. According to PFF, Crosby generated 112 total pressures (sacks, hits and hurries combined) and a pass-rushing win percentage of 27 in the regular season and postseason, both good for highest in the league. He’s well deserving of his first appearance on the Top 100, and he’d likely rank even higher if the numbers in the sack column had matched his utter domination.

Darren Waller

Since bursting onto the scene as the Raiders’ starting tight end in 2019, Waller has carried the load as Derek Carr’s favorite target. He’s amassed 252 receptions and 3,006 yards on 355 targets in those three seasons thanks to an uncoverable combination of size and speed. Despite playing through knee and back injuries that contributed to him missing six games last year, Waller still posted a top-10 season for receiving yards at his position. The elite tight end remains one of the sports world’s most inspiring stories of redemption. 

Kyler Murray

Short in stature with gargantuan talent, Murray possesses a nightmare skill set for defensive coordinators. Pushed out of the pocket, he might punish you with a 30-yard scamper. Left with a millisecond too long to pick apart a secondary, he can place a tight spiral anywhere on the field. He was a front runner for MVP in 2021 before the Cardinals tapered off, and he’ll require a hefty trophy case for all his hardware in the near future if his trajectory continues. 

Xavien Howard

The Dolphins’ shutdown corner has made the Pro Bowl in three of the last four years. In those three seasons, he had 22 interceptions and 48 pass deflections, twice leading the league in picked passes. Miami’s recent influx of pass rushers like Emmanuel Ogbah and Melvin Ingram should boost Howard’s impact in the secondary even further. He’s one of the few cornerbacks who can be trusted to perform on an island, and his plot of land has had restricted access for years now.

Joel Bitonio

After three consecutive years on the All-Pro second team, Bitonio finally broke through to become a first-team All-Pro in 2021. PFF graded him at fifth overall in run blocking the last two seasons, and he has committed only 13 penalties in the last six years. The Nevada product can hang his hat on being an integral part of Cleveland’s vaunted run offense and screen game, but the 2014 second-rounder has also allowed just three or fewer sacks in all but one season.

Jeffery Simmons

Simmons continues to ascend the ranks of defensive tackles, and the Titans’ defense is rising with him. Tennessee ranked sixth in points allowed and 12th in yards allowed in 2021 after being a bottom-10 unit in both categories the previous year. Simmons reached career highs across the board. He also added three sacks in the team’s lone playoff game, which would’ve previously matched his career high for an entire regular season before he hit the accelerator with 8.5 in 2021.

Mike Evans

Tampa Bay Buccaneers · WR

Evans is inevitable. The big-bodied wide receiver delivers with a regularity that pushes his greatness to the point of banality. Eight seasons into his career, Evans has never finished a year with less than 1,000 receiving yards. He now has 9,301 yards. A.J. Green, one of the greats of the era, has only 977 more — and he’s five years older. Evans hauled in 75% of his contested targets in 2021, per PFF. Tom Brady had a 122.8 quarterback rating targeting him despite nearly a quarter of Evans’ targets occurring 20-plus yards downfield. Evans also set a career high with 14 touchdowns. All of this, and he dropped five spots. He’s so money, it’s routine.

Matt Judon

New England Patriots · OLB

The Patriots reacted swiftly last offseason after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008, splurging to retool everywhere. It’s hard to argue against Judon as their best free-agent acquisition. The pass rusher was a solid player in five years with Baltimore, racking up 34.5 sacks and two Pro Bowls, but he hit his stride in a leadership role with New England. Under Bill Belichick, Judon finally broke the double-digit sack barrier with 12.5 to earn his inaugural spot in the Top 100. 

Alvin Kamara

Kamara has never missed a Top 100 list, but this stands as his lowest ranking yet. Kamara’s drop can be explained by his touchdown regression from 2020, which was impossible to avoid after finding pay dirt 21 times (including six in one game!). The Saints also targeted Kamara just 67 times in the passing game after he averaged 102.5 targets going into last season. Regardless, Kamara remains arguably the best pass-catching back in the league and an electric runner that can humiliate defenders in the blink of an eye.

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