As the NFL season heads towards the final stretch, MVP conversations heat up while teams continue to battle for those final playoff positions. In a year where television ratings have collectively dropped across the board, there have still been plenty of highlight reel plays. With that being said, here are your 10 best active NFL players:
10. Luke Kuechly
Despite the Panthers tremendous struggles this year, Kuechly has been a stalemate of one of the best NFL defenses over the past couple seasons. What sets him apart from other linebackers is his incredible athleticism, not only in coverage but also as a pure runner.
9. Aaron McDonald
Although interior pass rushers may not be the sexiest position in the NFL, McDonald has surely proved to be a worthy investment in his first two years with the Rams. McDonald has compiled 20 sacks in his career and is considered to be the most disruptive defense player in the league.
The pure athleticism of Julio Jones is what truly sets him apart from the rest of the receivers in the game today. Whether it’s embarrassing a corner on a vertical route or going up and wrestling the ball down in double coverage, Jones is representative of an all-around freak athlete at the wide receiver position.
Another edge rusher that made the list, Khalil Mack has played a central role in the surprising Raiders defense that currently has them atop the AFC West Division. Despite only being in his third season, Mack is already vying for the top of league sack totals as well as pass deflections as the Raiders look to end their playoff drought.
Fresh off of their Super Bowl upset of the Carolina Panthers, the Broncos defense has not skipped a beat with Von Miller leading the pack. Relying on pure quickness to blow by his opponents, Miller has accumulated 60 sacks over 72 games and is still considered to be developing into a prominent defensive player.
Although the Packers have struggled, Rodgers is still considered the be a top-3 quarterback, and he has the numbers to back it up. The Cal alumni has come to been known for his late-game heroics, including a number of Hail Mary passes and incredible accuracy.
The pure size of Rob Gronkowski is increasingly becoming an issue for defensive coordinators across the NFL, as many have actually resorted to double coverage when Gronkowski lines up in the slot. Tom Brady’s right-hand man, Gronkowski has amassed over 10 touchdowns in each of the past three seasons as well as over 3,000 receiving yards total.
3. Antonio Brown
A model of consistency, Antonio Brown has established himself as the top wide receiver in the NFL after racking up 265 receptions across the past two seasons. Benefitting from a high-octane Steelers offense, Brown hasn’t led his smaller stature prevent him from becoming the league’s top wide out in the eyes of many.
2. J.J. Watt
Despite injury problems plaguing his career, Watt is considered by many to be the single most dominant defensive player in the NFL when healthy. While battling through injury problems all of last year, Watt was able to pressure the quarterback a whopping 90 times, and has even developed into an edge rusher as well.
1. Tom Brady
What is left to be said about Tom Brady? In my opinion the greatest quarterback of all-time, Brady has returned from suspension to absolutely torch opposing defenses and have the Patriots right back in the hunt for another Super Bowl championship.