Pro Football Reference Blog

List of NFL Top 100 Players of all time Part 3

Posted by Darin Hayes on May 31, 2024

Backers, Tight Ends, Safties, and More

Forget the quarterbacks for a moment. The NFL’s symphony of violence and athleticism wouldn’t be complete without the tenacious blitzers who hunt quarterbacks, the mismatch nightmares at tight end, the dazzling route runners who leave defenders in their dust, and the lockdown corners who silence aerial assaults. In the NFL’s Top 100, where legends are ranked and legacies debated, these unsung heroes – the linebackers, tight ends, receivers, and defensive backs – take center stage. Let’s delve into the pantheon of these gridiron warriors, exploring the all-time greats who redefined their positions and forever changed the way the game is played.

This article takes a deep dive into the prestigious NFL Top 100 list, a dynamic ranking meticulously compiled by current and former players, coaches, and media experts mixed with the database values of Pro-Football-Reference. We’ll unravel the criteria that distinguish the elite from the exceptional, examining factors like on-field dominance, leadership qualities, and lasting impact on the game.

Prepare to embark on a journey through time, encountering iconic shutdown defenders who haunted opposing offenses and electrifying receivers who defied expectations. This list encompasses the best of the best, from the gridiron warriors of yesteryear to the modern-day superstars.

A few years ago, the NFL released a list called the NFL 100. It was a media frenzy and stirred controversy and discussion as only the NFL can. For our list, we will consult the NFL’s choices but also use the power of the Stathead Football database and its Approximate Value and Fantasy rankings data to provide a top 100 of the NFL’s best players.

With so many deserving players, crafting a list of the top 100 is a daunting task. We’ll tackle it by position groups and in three separate posts. By the end, we’ll have a compelling 100 to discuss, sparking lively conversations among NFL fans.

So, please sit back, relax, and join us as we delve into Part 3 of the definitive NFL’s Top 100 list of players of all time. This exploration promises to ignite debates, rekindle memories of legendary plays, and solidify your understanding of the men who have truly shaped the game we love. We fondly call this the “thumper section,” filled with tight ends, offensive two-position stars, safety, and backers, which fit the bill in this section.

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List of NFL Top 100 Players of All Time Part 2

Posted by Darin Hayes on May 23, 2024

Receivers and Cornerbacks

The battle between offense and defense hinges on a thrilling clash in the aerial chess match that is professional football. On one side, the charismatic gunslingers and acrobatic wideouts orchestrate passing attacks designed to dissect defenses. On the other hand, lockdown corners and ball-hawking safeties stand as the last line, and their every move is dedicated to thwarting those aerial assaults. This article dives into the legends who have dominated these positions: the shutdown cornerbacks who turned receivers into ghosts and the record-breaking wideouts who soared over defenders with unparalleled grace. We’ll explore the all-time greats who redefined their roles, forever altering the game’s landscape and leaving fans breathless with their on-field artistry.

We take a deep dive into the prestigious NFL Top 100 list, a dynamic ranking meticulously compiled by current and former players, coaches, and media experts mixed with the database values of Pro-Football-Reference. We’ll unravel the criteria that distinguish the elite from the exceptional, examining factors like on-field dominance, leadership qualities, and lasting impact on the game.

Prepare to embark on a journey through time, encountering iconic shutdown defenders who haunted opposing offenses and electrifying receivers who defied expectations. This list encompasses the best of the best, from the gridiron warriors of yesteryear to the modern-day superstars.

A few years ago, the NFL released a list called the NFL 100. It was a media frenzy and stirred controversy and discussion as only the NFL can. For our list, we will consult the NFL’s choices but also use the power of the Stathead Football database and its Approximate Value and Fantasy rankings data to provide a top 100 of the NFL’s best players.

With so many deserving players, crafting a list of the top 100 is a daunting task. We’ll tackle it by position groups and in three separate posts. We’ll have a compelling 100 to discuss by the end, sparking lively conversations among NFL fans.

So, please sit back, relax, and join us as we delve into Part 2 of the definitive NFL’s Top 100 list of players of all time. This exploration promises to ignite debates, rekindle memories of legendary plays, and solidify your understanding of the men who have truly shaped the game we love.

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List of NFL Top 100 Players of All Time Part I

Posted by Darin Hayes on May 21, 2024

The NFL is a league steeped in legendary figures whose feats of athleticism and tactical brilliance have left an indelible mark on the gridiron. But who truly stands above the rest? Who deserves to be enshrined in the pantheon of the NFL’s greatest players ever?

This article explores a portion of the prestigious NFL Top 100 list, a dynamic ranking compiled by current and former players, coaches, and media experts. We’ll dissect the criteria that separate the elite from the exceptional, exploring factors like dominance on the field, leadership qualities, and lasting impact on the game.

Prepare to embark on a journey through time, encountering iconic quarterbacks who orchestrated game-winning drives, shutdown defenders who haunted opposing offenses, and electrifying running backs who defied expectations. This list encompasses the best of the best, from the gridiron warriors of yesteryear to the modern-day superstars.

So, please sit back, relax, and join us as we delve into Part 1 of the definitive NFL’s Top 100 list of players of all time. This exploration promises to ignite debates, rekindle memories of legendary plays, and solidify your understanding of the men who have truly shaped the game we love.

A few years ago, the NFL released a list called the NFL 100. It was a media frenzy and stirred controversy and discussion as only the NFL can. For our list, we will consult the NFL’s choices but also use the power of Stathead Football and its Approximate Value and Fantasy rankings data to provide a top 100 of the NFL’s best players.

It is a complex set of choices to make when making a list of the top 100 best when there are so many qualified players deserving of the honor. Let us do it by position groups and in three different posts, and when we are finished, we will have a nice 100 to chat about.

First up in part one are the big guys in the trenches on both sides of the ball.

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10 Best Fullbacks of All Time

Posted by Darren Baker on May 20, 2024

What has happened to the once celebrated fullback position in today’s NFL? You can more easily find plasma televisions than fullbacks in the modern pro game. With the emphasis on high-octane passing attacks, fullbacks have virtually been phased out in the league. Many coaches go with three tight ends or an H-back on a roster over a traditional fullback. Gone are the days of the I-formation alignment in the backfield. The once predictable fullback dive in short yardage situations is no more. There was a time when every team had a selfless battering ram who would be the lead blocker for the main running back. Fullbacks would get some carries and catch the occasional pass out of the backfield. This player would take a beating and didn’t typically get the publicity of other skilled-position guys, but they had the respect and admiration of their peers.

Let’s be nostalgic and identify some of these men. For the sake of this exercise, fullbacks won’t typically be your workhorse guy. Jim Brown, a true legend and maybe the greatest running back ever, is technically listed as a fullback, as is Larry Csonka and Franco Harris, so featured backs like that will not be included on this list. Don’t expect to see eye-popping numbers with this group…just grit, power, and determination. So in the spirit of Kyle Juszczyk, here are some of the best fullbacks in NFL history.

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15 Best Left Guards of All Time

Posted by Darin Hayes on May 17, 2024

The offensive line acts as the wall protecting the quarterback and creating running lanes, and left guards to play a crucial role in this formidable structure. These unsung heroes anchor the left side, locking horns with defensive tackles and linebackers. This post delves into the realm of the NFL’s greatest left guards of all time.

We’ll journey through gridiron history, uncovering the legendary figures whose dominance and skill cemented their place in football lore. From dominant run blockers to impeccable pass protectors, we’ll analyze their impact on the game and dissect their unique play styles.

So, settle down in your best three-point stance, be prepared to fire out, and be awestruck by the feats of these remarkable athletes. Let’s unveil the Best NFL left guards of all time!

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12 Best Right Tackles of All Time

Posted by Darin Hayes on April 19, 2024

In the gladiator arena of the NFL, the quarterback reigns supreme. But without his loyal guardian on the right side, his reign can be short-lived. Enter the offensive right tackle, a stalwart warrior tasked with a singular mission: protecting the quarterback’s blindside.  These titans of the offensive line excel in the trenches, wielding their strength, technique, and unwavering focus to neutralize some of the league’s most ferocious pass rushers.

Today, we embark on a journey through gridiron history, unveiling the legendary right tackles who kept quarterbacks upright and paved the way for offensive dominance.  From the immovable mountains who anchored rushing attacks to the nimble technicians who neutralized elite speed rushers, get ready to be introduced to the pantheon of the NFL’s most dominant right tackles.  Who will claim the top spot?  Let the debate begin!

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11 Best Centers of All Time

Posted by Darin Hayes on March 29, 2024

From snapping plays to anchoring the offensive line, the center position commands respect and responsibility in the NFL. In the heart of the trenches, they’re the silent quarterbacks, orchestrating plays, protecting their fellow linemen, and paving the way for legendary runs and game-winning throws. But who reigns supreme in this realm of snapping giants?

Joining us today is a quest to uncover NFL history’s most dominant, impactful, and celebrated centers. We’ll dive into their legacies, examining not just statistics and accolades but their leadership, versatility, and undeniable impact on the game to try and determine the highest NFL center rankings. Whether it’s the legendary leadership of Mike Webster or the sheer dominance of Jim Ringo, prepare to be transported through decades of gridiron battles as we uncover the actual dominant snap initiators and the best center of all time in the NFL.

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10 Best Nose Tackles of All Time

Posted by Darin Hayes on March 27, 2024

Introduction

In the trenches of professional football, a battle rages on every snap. The nose tackle stands as an immovable force among the gladiators in this clash. These behemoths are the defensive line’s anchors, occupying multiple blockers, disrupting plays, and freeing up their teammates to make tackles. But who, among these giants, have cemented their place as the greatest nose tackles of all time?

This article delves into the annals of NFL history, analyzing the careers of legendary nose tackles. We’ll explore their dominance on the field, their impact on the game, and the unique skill sets that separated them. From the immovable walls that clogged running lanes to the disruptive forces that wreaked havoc in opposing backfields, prepare to be introduced to the pantheon of the NFL’s best nose tackles.

The nose guard goes by multiple monikers in football circles. Common alias’ to the defensive line player positioned between the “A” gaps are nose tackle, “zero technique,” nose guard, and middle guard.

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10 Best Free Safeties of All Time

Posted by Darren Baker on March 23, 2024

Generally speaking, the safety position in the NFL is broken into two roles: a strong safety and a free safety. Both of these defenders have to be just about the most athletic guy on the field. A strong safety is typically a little bigger than a free safety. They tend to play closer to the line of scrimmage and be more involved in stopping the run. Usually they line up on the strong side, where the tight end starts off for the offense, and they at times cover tight ends and/or fullbacks. A free safety is usually faster and a little rangier than a strong safety. In addition to providing run support, they are expected to help cornerbacks in pass coverage more often, and they even have to shadow slot receivers occasionally. A lot of the time they are the center fielders of the defense.

We are going to identify the best free safeties of all time. Keep in mind that many defensive backs rotate positions throughout their careers, so classifying these elite athletes can be difficult. To be eligible for this list, a player had to be listed as a free safety for the majority of their career, not a corner or a strong safety. Without further delay, here are some of the fiercest hitters and most versatile players to ever grace the gridiron: ten of the best free safeties in NFL history.

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10 Best Defensive Tackles of All Time

Posted by Andrew Weiser on March 22, 2024

Defensive tackle is not one of the most glamorous positions in football but it is crucial in any defensive scheme. NFL defenses need strong defensive tackles to pressure the quarterback and stop the run. Across eras in the NFL, some of the biggest, strongest and toughest defenders have played defensive tackle. Here is who we think are the 10 best defensive tackles of all time.

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