By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The NFL Network has begun counting down its annual list of the league's Top 100 players. It's always a source of lively debates among fans who wanted their favorite player ranked higher than some a-hole on another team.
What's not so debatable is that Patriots receiver and Super Bowl LIII Julian Edelman deserves a spot somewhere in the Top 100. So it's no surprise that Edelman has made another appearance on the 2019 edition of the list, checking in at No. 90.
Devin McCourty, however, is a bit of a surprise, because the Patriots safety had never appeared in the Top 100 before. The NFL Network announced him at No. 89, right after Edelman.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) July 24, 2019
While the 31-year-old McCourty hasn't dropped off much from the level he played at from 2012-16, it's a wonder what he did to suddenly make the jump from off the list entirely to 89th. But you could make a case that he's deserved a spot in the Top 100 for years.
McCourty has earned several All-Pro honors, including the Associated Press second team in 2010 in his rookie year as a cornerback. Since transitioning to safety, he's made the AP All-Pro second team twice (2013, 2016) and three Pro Football Focus All-Pro squads (2012-13, 2016). McCourty has also made two Pro Bowls, in 2010 and 2016.
So all in all, it's a long overdue distinction for McCourty and an expected honor for Edelman. Here's the list so far:
100. S Eric Weddle, Rams
99. RB Derrick Henry, Titans
98. WR Tyler Lockett, Seahawks
97. DB Byron Jones, Cowboys
96. QB Carson Wentz, Eagles
95. CB Kyle Fuller, Bears
94. OT Mitchell Schwartz, Chiefs
93. LB T.J. Watt, Steelers
92. DL Jurrell Casey, Titans
91. OT Andrew Whitworth, Rams
90. WR Julian Edelman, Patriots
89. S Devin McCourty, Patriots
88. DL Cameron Heyward, Steelers
87. QB Cam Newton, Panthers
86. CB Darius Slay, Lions
85. DE Frank Clark, Chiefs
84. WR Jarvis Landry, Browns
83. S Harrison Smith, Vikings
82. DL Bradley Chubb, Broncos
81. OT Trent Williams, Redskins
Tom Brady and Stephon Gilmore are locks to appear somewhere in the top-80. Brady's spot will inevitably leading to some good-old-fashioned Twitter-debatin'. Shaq Mason might have an outside shot, but there has yet to be a guard at all on the list. Michael Bennett had to have at least garnered strong consideration.
The NFL Top 100 is annually determined by the players themselves. So McCourty's leap onto the list shows how much admiration and respect he continues to gain around the league. We'll see how the players feel about Brady and Gilmore.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].