One of the most-anticipated events during each NFL offseason is the unveiling of the league’s Top-100 players in 2020. It’s list that’s solely voted on by the players themselves so you can usually expect a few surprises along the way as each group of ten players gets unveiled until all 100 are named.
In that same manner, CBS Sports NFL writer Pete Prisco put together his own top-100 for the 2020 NFL season and a whopping five Chargers were named to the list with two more having “just missed” the final rankings.
Let’s go Charger by Chargers and see how Prisco did.
#13 Joey Bosa
“He continues to be one of the best edge rushers in the league, getting 11.5 sacks and a ton of pressures. He has to keep pushing forward because little brother, Nick, is coming up this list after an impressive rookie season.” - Prisco
Even without hitting a career-high in sacks in 2019, last year was by-far Bosa’s best season as a professional. I mean, he was only one off his career-high of takedowns but the way he improved in the run game was something to be marveled. He consistently defeated blocks and reset the line of scrimmage against opposing tackles, leading to a career-high in tackles for loss (18) and 67 total tackles, which finished as fourth-best on the team behind trio of linebackers.
wHeN iS JOey BoSa cOminG baCK? pic.twitter.com/IctSEUJJmK— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) November 25, 2018
Bosa has yet to play two-straight years without missing time for one reason or another. If he’s able to stay on the field like he did in 2019, there’s no reason he can’t assert himself among the elite of the elite this season.
#49 Derwin James
“He was limited to five games last season because of a foot injury suffered in the preseason. When he returned, he showed off his ability to be a disrupter in a lot of ways on the defense.” - Prisco
Even with just one real season under his belt in the NFL, James has garnered an insane amount of respect from his peers and media, alike. Of course, not many rookie defenders come into the league and earn First-Team All-Pro honors. It was terribly unfortunate he wound-up injured and missed the majority of last season, but it was so very apparent once he got back on the field that he is an instant-impact player. His physical presence makes a difference for his teammates and the Chargers will need that for all 16 games in 2020.
#66 Keenan Allen
“For the second time in three seasons, he had over 100 catches with 104 for 1,199 yards and six touchdowns. He is a consistently one of the best in the NFL.” - Prisco
Allen has been the picture of consistency at the wide receiver position over the last three years. He’s averaged 101 catches, 1,263 yards, and exactly six touchdowns during that span while not missing a single game. Without having the speed to naturally separate from defensive backs, Allen has developed his route-running and put together a release package that’s allowed him to consistently put distance between him and those trying to cover him. It’s a thing of beauty and that type of game is one that will last far into his career.
#74 Melvin Ingram
“He was limited to 13 games in 2019 because of injuries and he had just seven sacks. He’s a better edge rusher than those numbers, which is why he’s on this list. He’s also stout in the run game.” - Prisco
Ingram’s a little higher than I would have predicted, to be honest. After back-to-back years of 7.5 sacks each, Ingram needs to vault back into the double-digit sack group. This is especially the case if he is looking for a third contract from the Chargers. He did miss the three games last year, and it’s likely he could have added another sack or two, but that’s how things work out sometimes.
LA Chargers drop DE Melvin Ingram as the Deep Free in their Cover 1 Pressure— Coach Dan Casey (@CoachDanCasey) June 1, 2019
▪️ 5-0-5 Front
️ Show Double A
↘️ Edge Blitz from both Overhangs
⤵️ 5 Techs Crash B-Gap
A-Gap Players Drop as Free & RAT in Cover 1
Man in the Secondary pic.twitter.com/VDBIigQwSf
The addition of Linval Joseph should allow the edge-rushers to have a bit more fun in 2020 and the expected positive progression of Jerry Tillery will only spell more free-run towards opposing quarterbacks.
#83 Casey Hayward Jr.
“He continues to be one of the most underrated players in the league. He’s an outstanding cover player who gives them a nice No. 1 corner.” - Prisco
A little low for my taste, but Hayward’s play isn’t as flashy as the other top corners, so it’s understandable that he continues to be underrated. He isn’t winning with speed or elite athleticism. He isn’t going to jump sky-high for an interception nor dive across a ravine to break up a pass. He’s simply going to be where he needs to be in order to make a play.
Here’s to hoping an improved pass-rush and an increase in blitzes correlates to more takeaways from the savvy veteran.
While I’m sure there are some of you around here that would argue Ekeler deserves a spot at the table, he unfortunately needs one good year of rushing production to be seen as a complete back worthy of being among the best at the position. His career-high on the ground is 557 yards and that just won’t do. The only running back included in Prisco’s top-100 without a 1,000-yard rushing performance is Alvin Kamara, but his career-low is 728 from his rookie season. While Ekeler’s 2019 receiving numbers are better than anything Kamara has put together, he is a “running” back, and must prove he can run the ball just as well as he can catch it.
looking forward to austin ekeler's holdout pic.twitter.com/fYXtVS2XLz— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) October 20, 2019
Chris Harris Jr.
After Harris just made the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 2010s, it’s a bit of a surprise to see Harris Jr. get left off the top-100. He may have had a down year in 2019, but one bad year since his rookie season all the back in 2011 does not mean you immediately write-off a former All-Pro. With the Chargers, Harris will get back to splitting his time almost evenly between the slot and outside and hopefully that does the trick in getting him back to form that made him a critical part of Denver’s No Fly Zone.