News & Analysis

The top 101 players from the 2018 NFL season

The 2018 season is now entirely consigned to the history books, and while we reflect on the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in league history, we can also begin to reflect on the performances of all the players that didn’t make it that far.

It’s time to release the Pro Football Focus Top 101 – the 101 best single-season performances regardless of position – and credit the best players from this year.

At its heart, PFF is a site for player evaluation, and the 101 is our chance to acknowledge and praise the best players and performances from the 2018 season (including the playoffs).

Here is a quick reminder of our basic criteria:

  • This list is based solely on 2018 play. Nothing that happened in previous years or may happen in the future is accounted for. This isn’t about class or talent; it’s about performance throughout the 2018 NFL season.
  • This list is created with an “all positions are created equal” mantra. So, you won’t see 32 quarterbacks heading the list — even though that is the game’s most valuable position. Instead, we take a look at how guys played relative to what is expected from their position.
  • Unlike PFF’s awards, the 101 factors in the postseason, so some players who won PFF awards may find themselves jumped in the 101 by rivals who had a playoff run worthy of a change in ranking.
  • Disagree with the players we’ve included here? Let us know on Twitter (@PFF).

[Editor's note: The Top 101 will be unveiled in blocks, starting Monday with 76-101 and concluding Friday, February 8 with Nos. 1-25.]

1. Aaron DonaldLos Angeles Rams

Top 101 appearances: 5

In the 2018 NFL season there really is no question who the best player in the game was, and what is remarkable is that he took his game to another level from an already ridiculous starting point. Aaron Donald was the single most destructive force in the game from his interior alignment on the Rams defensive line, earning an overall PFF grade of 95.2 and recording a staggering 113 quarterback pressures, both the best marks of any player in the league.

2. DeAndre HopkinsHouston Texans

Top 101 appearances: 3

It clearly didn’t matter where he lined up, where he was targeted or whether he had to fight for the ball or not, Hopkins was in a class of his own this season, and it all led to the NFL’s highest overall (92.0) and receiving grade (92.2) at the position. His 115 catchable targets without a drop not only set the PFF record, but it also crushed the previous record of 60 held by Randall Cobb that he set back in 2016.

3. Patrick MahomesKansas City Chiefs

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Our MVP award was a two-man race for the vast majority of the season, but the big separator though between Mahomes and Drew Brees was consistency. Mahomes produced game in and game out in a high-volume passing offense. He didn’t have a single-game grade below 60.0 all season long, and he only had three below 70.0. His 49 big-time throws were six more than anyone else in the NFL, and he also broke PFF’s single-season deep passing yardage record with 1,514 yards on passes of 20 or more yards downfield- and that’s with three dropped deep balls on the year.

4. Drew BreesNew Orleans Saints

Top 101 appearances: 9

After his 18th year in the NFL and his 13th year with the Saints, it’s hard not to include Brees in the conversation for one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play the game. He earned an overall grade of 94.0 this year, the third-best single-season mark of the PFF era (2006-present) and to top off a campaign that had him mentioned as a sure-fire MVP candidate for most of the year; he broke the PFF record for single-season adjusted completion percentage.

5. Fletcher CoxPhiladelphia Eagles

Top 101 appearances: 5

There's an argument to be made for Fletcher Cox having the very best second-best season of all time, and more people would be talking about his 2018 campaign if it weren't for the sheer domination of Aaron Donald. Cox ended the year ranked second among interior defenders with an overall grade of 92.5, and his 101 quarterback pressures were the most we’ve ever seen from a defensive tackle not named Donald.

6. Michael ThomasNew Orleans Saints

Top 101 appearances: 3

Thomas continued his emergence as one of the best wideouts in the league with his best season to date. His overall grade of 91.6 was second to only DeAndre Hopkins this year, and his WR rating of 124.0 was ninth-best.

7. Tom BradyNew England Patriots

Top 101 appearances: 9

Brady finished the 2018 season with his sixth Super Bowl title and his fourth consecutive elite grade, making him the only quarterback in the NFL to record grades of 90.0 or more in each season since 2015. Tom Brady was as clinical as usual from a clean pocket throughout the 2018 campaign, and he ended the year with his fifth straight clean-pocket passer rating north of 100.0.

8. Bobby WagnerSeattle Seahawks

Top 101 appearances: 5

Bobby Wagner, who finished the season as our highest-graded off-ball linebacker, took efficient tackling to the next level in 2018. The Seattle Seahawks’ prized veteran missed just one tackle across his 892 defensive snaps and 139 tackle attempts in 2018.

9. Stephon GilmoreNew England Patriots

Top 101 appearances: 2

It was a career year for Gilmore, whom Bill Belichick has taken to employing as a weapon in the secondary. New England shadowed receivers more than any other team in the NFL this season, and it was often Gilmore’s job to take away the other team’s top receiving threat. He tracked receivers in 13 games this year yet still only allowed 42 catches on 90 targets for 466 yards all year.

10. Khalil MackChicago Bears

Top 101 appearances: 5

New team, same Mack. The star pass rusher ended the year ranked second among edge defenders with an elite overall grade of 90.7, and despite missing games through injury and despite being game-planned for more than any other edge defender in the league, he still racked up 73 total pressures and six forced fumbles.

11. Akiem HicksChicago Bears

Top 101 appearances: 2

Hicks finished the regular season as the fourth-highest graded interior defensive linemen and held top 10 marks in both pressures and stops. His effect on the game didn’t stop there, however, as he also batted five passes and chipped in by forcing three fumbles, all from the interior of the defensive line.

12. Andrew LuckIndianapolis Colts 

Top 101 appearances: 3

There once was legitimate questions about whether Andrew Luck would ever play football again, but Luck answered those questions firmly with a tumultuous comeback season. He finished the season ranked third among all quarterbacks in PFF grade at 91.2, while his 34 touchdown passes from a clean pocket were second to only Patrick Mahomes.

13. George KittleSan Francisco 49ers

Top 101 appearances: New entry

No player in the PFF era has ever racked up more yards after the catch in a single season than Kittle did in 2018. Not just tight ends – everyone. His 873 yards after the catch were also 200 more than we’ve ever seen from a tight end before. Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider that his targets came from backup quarterbacks all season.

14. Eddie JacksonChicago Bears

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Simply put, Jackson’s body of work across his 589 coverage snaps this year has been some of the best that we’ve ever seen from a safety. In his 14 regular-season games, Jackson’s performance in coverage earned a coverage grade of 94.7 which not only led all defensive players in the NFL this year, but it’s tied for the best mark ever recorded by a safety in the PFF era (2006-present).

15. Chris JonesKansas City Chiefs 

Top 101 appearances: 2

Jones' ascent to the upper echelon of interior defenders has been incredible and judging by his most recent performance; he's only getting better. Jones ranked fifth among his peers with an elite overall grade of 91.0 this year, and his 79 quarterback pressures were behind only Aaron Donald (106) and Fletcher Cox (101).

16. Cameron JordanNew Orleans Saints

Top 101 appearances: 5

Jordan was his usual, disruptive self this year, tallying 66 pressures from his 580 pass-rushing snaps on the year. Jordan ended the year with a fifth-ranked 89.9 overall grade, his third straight grade of 89.0 or higher.

17. Grady JarrettAtlanta Falcons

Top 101 appearances: 2

Grady Jarrett took his career to the next level this season, bringing his overall grade from 83.6 to 91.0, tying him for the fifth-highest grade at his position. His pass-rush grade of 86.7 was good for the fifth-highest leaguewide, and his 9.6 pass-rush productivity was seventh-best. On the season, he produced 36 hurries, 11 hits, and six sacks.

18. Luke KuechlyCarolina Panthers

Top 101 appearances: 6

One of the league's best talents at the linebacker position, Kuechly finished the season with an NFL-high 12.0% run-stop percentage. Logging 39 defensive stops in 325 run-defense snaps, Kuechly also led all qualifying off-ball linebackers in run-defense grade (92.3) in 2018.

19. J.J. WattHouston Texans

Top 101 appearances: 6

Watt was back to his utterly dominant self this year. He was once again named a PFF All-Pro, and his 78 pressures were the second-most among edge defenders. Watt ended the 2018 regular season with at least three quarterback pressures in 14 straight games, which is the longest active streak by four games.

20. Jamal AdamsNew York Jets

Top 101 appearances: New entry

In his second season, Adams has emerged as the ideal safety for today’s NFL due to his scheme versatility and premier playmaking ability. There were certainly flashes of dominant play as a rookie, but the consistency wasn’t quite there yet. This season, however, his overall grade jumped to 89.7, second among safeties with 250 or more defensive snaps. As a PFF first-team All-Pro safety, Adams’ 44 total defensive stops and 22 quarterback pressures were both the most of any safety in the league.

21. Trey FlowersNew England Patriots

Top 101 appearances: 2

Flowers was unblockable for most of the year. He’s improved each season in terms of PFF grade with an 89.7 overall mark in 2018, sixth-best among edge defenders, and including the postseason, his 78 total pressures were second-most. However, what sets Flowers apart is his versatility along the defensive line. On 718 total plays in the regular season, he lined up inside, over the center or either guard position, on 24.5 percent of his snaps.

22. Von MillerDenver Broncos

Top 101 appearances: 7

Miller continued his perfection this season and has now logged grades of 90-plus every year since being drafted in 2011. His 90.3 overall grade ranked inside the top-five among edge defenders this season with his 90.0 pass rush grade coming in at third overall. Miller’s quarterback pressure production dipped a bit, but he still finished with 64 on 506 pass-rush snaps.

23. Travis KelceKansas City Chiefs

Top 101 appearances: 3

Kelce’s dominance at the tight end position helped round out one of the best receiving corps in the NFL this season. En route to an overall grade of 88.6 and receiving grade of 90.4 – both ranking second at the position – Kelce hauled in 113 receptions for 1,467 yards, the most among tight ends. Including the playoffs, he generated 2.28 yards per route run and a 118.6 passer rating when targeted, again, both ranking second at the position.

24. Calais CampbellJacksonville Jaguars

Top 101 appearances: 7

Despite a down year for the Jaguars, Campbell’s production stayed consistent in his 11th season. His overall grade of 91.1 ranked first at his position with his 93.8 run-defense grade ranking tied-for-first among all defenders. As a player, Campbell is as well-rounded as they come, and he demonstrated this by generating 53 total pressures and 43 stops against the run in 2018.

25. Tyreek HillKansas City Chiefs 

Top 101 appearances: 3

To the surprise of nobody, the Cheetah was a big play waiting to happen in the 2018 season. Hill generated 1,593 yards on 96 receptions during the regular season with 754 of those yards coming on passes that traveled 20 or more yards downfield, first among receivers. Hill also demonstrated his versatility by averaging 8.1 yards per attempt on 23 rushing attempts.

26. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

Top 101 appearances: 6

Jones ended the 2018 campaign with yet another elite overall grade (90.9), making him the only wideout in the league who has earned this distinction for four consecutive years. Jones ended the year with 113 catches for 1677 receiving yards from 573 snaps in route. His average of 2.93 yards per route run ranked first among receivers with at least 200 routes run, and it’s also fifth-highest mark since 2014, with the only player/seasons ahead of him being Julio Jones in 2016, Julio Jones in 2017, Julio Jones in 2015 and A.J. Green in 2014.

27. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Top 101 appearances: New entry

The AP offensive rookie of the year led the league with 71 missed tackles forced this year, while his 31 missed tackles after the catch alone would have ranked 20th among all running backs in terms of total missed tackles forced. He also led all 47 NFL running backs with 100-plus carries in breakaway percentage at 54.0%, as 706 of his 1,307 rushing yards came from runs of 15 or more yards.

28. Desmond King II, Los Angeles Chargers

Top 101 appearances: New entry

The league’s preeminent slot cornerback at the moment, King simply doesn’t allow many first downs. On his 78 targets this past season, only 22 went for first downs. Eighty-one cornerbacks allowed more first downs in their coverage this season.

29. Andrew Whitworth, Los Angeles Rams

Top 101 appearances: 7

Simply put, there hasn’t been a more consistent performer at the left tackle position than Whitworth, and at age 37, Whitworth continued his premier play this season. His overall grade of 82.7 was good for fifth among all offensive tackles in the NFL through the regular season, and as always, the All-Pro was as solid as they come in pass protection where he allowed 33 total pressures from 601 pass-blocking snaps.

30. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings

Top 101 appearances: 2

Adam Thielen cemented himself as a hands-down number one wide receiver in 2018. He earned a receiving grade of 89.5, ranking seventh at the position and gained an average of 2.10 yards per route run, tied for 18th out of 108 qualifying wide receivers.

31. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

Top 101 appearances: 2

Alvin Kamara proved his rookie season was no fluke by finishing his sophomore year with an overall grade of 84.1, seventh among running backs. His receiving grade of 87.6 ranked second among backs with at least 60 targets, and his average of 2.12 yards per route run ranked third.

32. Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Derwin James made a huge impact as a rookie, finishing his first professional season with an overall grade of 88.3, ranking seventh among safeties. James’ 18 total pressures (12 hurries, two hits, four sacks) tied for first at the position, and his average of 0.59 yards allowed per slot coverage snap ranked 14th.

33. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers

Top 101 appearances: 3

Keenan Allen finished the year with an overall grade of 90.3, ranking fourth among wide receivers, and that makes it two years in a row that Allen has earned a top-five overall grade at the position. When lined up in the slot, Allen gained an average of 1.98 yards per route run, ranking 13th out of 72 qualifying wide receivers.

34. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers

Top 101 appearances: 4

Philip Rivers had an elite 2018 campaign, as he finished with his first 90-plus overall grade since 2010. Rivers finished the year with a play-action passer rating of 129.2, second in the NFL. He also handled pressure really well, ranking seventh in passer rating when pressured (83.8).

35. Mitchell Schwartz, Kansas City Chiefs

Top 101 appearances: 2

Mitchell Schwartz had the highest-graded year of his career in 2018. His overall grade of 82.9 ranked fifth out of 85 qualifying offensive tackles, and his pass-blocking efficiency rating of 98.1 ranks sixth.

36. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants

Top 101 appearances: 4

After missing most of 2017, Odell Beckham Jr. bounced back in 2018 with an elite grade of 90.0, ranking fifth among wide receivers. He gained an average of 2.26 yards per route run, ranking 12th at the position. 

37. Dee Ford, Kansas City Chiefs

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Dee Ford had a breakout year in his fifth season as a pro, the first season in which he earned an overall grade higher than 65.0. His overall grade of 88.6 ranked 11th among edge defenders in 2018, and his pass-rush grade of 91.0 ranked first. Ford led all edge defenders with 77 total pressures (45 hurries, 17 hits, 15 sacks).

38. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Christian McCaffrey finished 2018 as the best pass-catching running back in a league where catching the ball out of the backfield is as important as ever. Among running backs with at least 60 targets, McCaffrey’s receiving grade of 89.3 ranked first in the NFL. He gained an average of 1.79 yards per route run, sixth at the position.

39. David Bakhtiari, Green Bay Packers

Top 101 appearances: 3

David Bakhtiari just completed his third-straight season with the best pass-blocking grade (93.6) among offensive tackles. He allowed only 25 total pressures (18 hurries, three hits, four sacks) on 691 pass-blocking snaps.

40. Damon HarrisonDetroit Lions

Top 101 appearances: 5

Damon Harrison has long been one of the elite interior defenders in the NFL and 2018 was no different, and his run defense grade of 93.8 ranked first out of 128 qualifying interior defenders. With 46 run stops on 288 run defense snaps, Harrison ranked first in run-stop percentage (16.0%) at the position.

41. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Top 101 appearances: 6

Aaron Rodgers is quietly coming off yet another great season in the NFL, finishing with the sixth-best overall grade (89.7) out of 39 qualifying quarterbacks. When throwing 20+ yards downfield, Rodgers had a passer rating of 124.0, ranking third in the league. On throws occurring 2.5 seconds or longer after the snap, Rodgers threw 16 touchdowns and only one interception.

42. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Top 101 appearances: 6

Russell Wilson dealt serious damage through the air in 2018. His passer rating of 86.2 when pressured ranked fifth in the NFL, and his passer rating of 122.1 from a clean pocket ranked third. On top of that, his passer rating of 125.6 on play action also ranked third, and of course, we can’t forget about his deep ball, as he finished with a passer rating of 128.1 on throws 20+ yards downfield – second among all quarterbacks.

43. Kenny Clark, Green Bay Packers 

Top 101 appearances: 2

Kenny Clark has been an absolute force in his short three-year career in the NFL. He finished 2018 with an overall grade of 90.5, ranking ninth among interior defenders. Clark tallied 28 run stops on 282 run defense snaps, good for the 16th-best run-stop percentage (9.9%) at the position.

44. Jerry Hughes, Buffalo Bills

Top 101 appearances: 1

Jerry Hughes has got better with age, as he’s coming off by far the best year of his career after nine seasons in the NFL. Hughes recorded 74 total pressures (54 hurries, 12 hits, eight sacks) on 375 pass-rush snaps, giving him the best pass-rush productivity rating (10.9) among all qualifying edge defenders in the NFL.

45. Kevin Byard, Tennessee Titans

Top 101 appearances: 2

Kevin Byard was a run-stopping force in his third year as a pro, as he finished with the second-best run defense grade (89.0) among safeties. He also played well when covering the slot, where he allowed an average of 0.65 yards per cover snap which ranked 16th at the position.

46. Jadeveon Clowney, Houston Texans

Top 101 appearances: 3

Jadeveon Clowney had by far the best season of his career in 2018. The former first overall pick tied for the seventh-best overall grade (89.5) among edge defenders. He recorded 28 run stops on 283 run-defense snaps, tying for the tenth-best run-stop percentage (9.9%) at the position.

47. Terron Armstead, New Orleans Saints

Top 101 appearances: 2

Terron Armstead is coming off the second-best pass-blocking season of his career and finished with a pass-blocking grade of 89.3, ranking second among offensive tackles. With only 11 pressures allowed on 329 pass-blocking snaps, Armstead tied for the fourth-best pass-blocking efficiency rating (98.2) at the position.

48. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Davante Adams had a breakout year in 2018, finishing with the ninth-best overall grade (87.8) among wide receivers. When lined up in the slot, Adams gained an average of 2.42 yards per route run, tying for fifth out of 72 qualifying pass-catchers.

49. Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Robert Woods had a career-year in 2018 as the Rams’ best pass-catcher. He finished with an overall grade of 88.0, ranking eighth among wide receivers. Woods dropped only two balls on 88 catchable targets, tying for the 14th-best drop rate (2.3%) out of 108 players at the position.

50. Brandon Graham, Philadelphia Eagles

Top 101 appearances: 5

Brandon Graham had yet another great year as the Eagles’ premier pass-rusher. He earned an overall grade of 88.1 last season, tying for ninth out of 113 edge defenders, while his 70 total pressures (56 hurries, nine hits, five sacks) were the fourth-most for an edge defender in 2018.

51. Demarcus LawrenceDallas Cowboys

Top 101 appearances: 2

The Cowboys asked him to prove it, and Lawrence did just that. His 89.5 overall grade this season ranked seventh among all edge defenders in the NFL, and his 66 total pressures were good for 13th.

52. Shaq Mason, New England Patriots

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Mason ended a dominant year with an overall grade of 85.0. The next closest guard? Zack Martin at 78.6. If that doesn't tell you all you need to know about how well he performed compared to his peers, I don't know what will. He led all guards in run-blocking grade on the year (80.6) all while he allowed a career-low 16 pressures in the regular season.

53. Jaylon Smith, Dallas Cowboys

Top 101 appearances: New entry

A torn ACL and MCL in his junior year at Notre Dame pushed him from being a sure-fire first-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft to a question mark, but Smith overcame those questions emphatically this year. Among off-ball linebackers with 50 or more pass-rush snaps, his 27.8 win percentage as a pass rusher ranked first, while he was one of six off-ball linebackers with 500 or more coverage snaps to allow one or fewer touchdowns in coverage.

54. Rob HavensteinLos Angeles Rams

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Havenstein couldn't drag his team over the finish line this year, but that shouldn't take away from a great 2018 campaign. He’s as consistent and technically sound as any tackle in the league, and the former second-rounder only allowed four combined sacks and hits all season.

55. Myles GarrettCleveland Browns

Top 101 appearances: 2

The second-year edge defender ranked 13th among edge defenders with an 87.0 grade, and he was one of only two defensive linemen to register over 1,000 snaps. His 15 sacks tied for third at the position.

56. Mike EvansTampa Bay Buccaneers

Top 101 appearances: 3

Evans had to endure shaky quarterback play this year, but that didn't stop him from producing. He ended the regular season ranked eighth among receivers with an average of 2.38 yards per route run, while his contested-catch rate of 61.5% ranked fifth among those with 10 or more contested targets.

57. Cameron Heyward, Pittsburgh Steelers

Top 101 appearances: 2

Heyward recorded an overall grade of 84.9 this year, the 16th-best mark among interior defenders and his second consecutive grade of 80.0 or higher. As usual, he was a force as a pass rusher and generated 59 total pressures on the year, the fifth-most among players at the position.

58. Leighton Vander Esch, Dallas Cowboys

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Vander Esch finished the season ranked fourth among qualifying linebackers in overall grade (85.7), and he was one of four linebackers to finish the year with a grade of at least 80.0 in both run defense and coverage. The defining mark of his rookie year was his propensity to find and flow to the ball carrier, as he was the first to make contact with the opposing ball carrier on 15.1% of his defensive snaps. No other off-ball linebacker with at least 400 defensive snaps played finished above 12.6%.

59. T.Y. HiltonIndianapolis Colts

Top 101 appearances: 4

Hilton dealt with injuries all season long, but even that couldn't stop him from keeping up with the best of them. Hilton racked up 1270 receiving yards (10th- most) from 76 catches on the year, with 535 of those yards coming from deep passes (passes of 20 or more yards downfield).

60. Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals 

Top 101 appearances: 4

Peterson was at his usual, stingy self in coverage, ending the year with a fifth-ranked 83.7 coverage grade and an 82.5 passer rating allowed. Peterson has been a model of consistency since day one; he's one of five cornerbacks who have allowed a sub-100.0 passer rating for eight straight seasons, and he joins Chris Harris Jr. and Desmond Trufant as the only three corners who have allowed less than a yard per coverage snap for four consecutive seasons.

61. Jurrell Casey, Tennessee Titans

Top 101 appearances: 7

Casey was once again a force in the middle of the Titans' defensive line, and he really made his mark as a run defender. He ended the year with 27 run stops – fifth-most among defensive tackles – and a run-defense grade of 91.1 that ranked seventh among all interior defenders.

62. Melvin Gordon IIILos Angeles Chargers

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Gordon was at his elusive best this season, forcing 41 missed tackles at an average of 0.23 missed tackles forced per touch, which was tied for the second-best mark among running backs. In addition to his work in the ground game, he was also a weapon in the Chargers' passing attack; Gordon averaged 2.04 yards per route run through 17 weeks, which was the fifth-best mark at the position.

63. Tyler BoydCincinnati Bengals

Top 101 appearances: New entry

All it took was a healthy 2018 season (for the most part) for Boyd to finally break through the barrier that so many young receivers face. Boyd ended the year ranked 11th among receivers in receiving grade (85.8), and he generated a passer rating of 127.8 when he was targeted (sixth-best).

64. Jason KelcePhiladelphia Eagles

Top 101 appearances: 3

Kelce may very well be the best all-around center in the NFL, and his 2018 season further proved that point. The Cincinnati grad turned Philadelphia legend led all centers in run-blocking grade (80.6) while ranking second behind Oakland's Rodney Hudson in pass-blocking grade (88.0).

65. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Smith-Schuster has become one of the premier personalities and brands in the league just two years into his career. He finished the 2018 season with an overall grade of 81.8 which ranked 14th among all qualifying wide receivers, and his 2.02 yards per route run was good for 15th.

66. Kyle FullerChicago Bears

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Fuller wrapped up his fourth season in the Chicago Bears’ secondary following the loss to the Eagles in the wild-card round of the playoffs, and it was arguably the best of his young NFL career. He logged a whopping 20 combined pass breakups and interceptions on the year and allowed a paltry 66.6 passer rating on throws into his coverage.

67. Zach Brown, Washington Redskins

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Brown's 2018 season has flown under the radar somewhat, but that doesn't make it any less impressive. Brown ended the year ranked third among linebackers in overall grade (89.2), and he was one of four linebackers to finish the year with a grade of at least 80.0 in both run defense and coverage.

68. Lorenzo AlexanderBuffalo Bills

Top 101 appearances: New entry

The 14th-year edge defender produced the highest-graded season of his career in 2018 and was a force as a pass-rusher, where he produced 38 total pressures from his 238 pass-rushing snaps for a pressure percentage of 16.9% – the fifth-highest rate among edge defenders with at least 100 pass-rushing snaps.

69. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams

Top 101 appearances: New entry

He ultimately came up short in the biggest game of his career, but his season-long (for the most part) performance should be more than enough to give Rams fans hope for the future. Goff finished the 2018 regular season ranked fourth among quarterbacks with a passer rating of 117.1 from a clean pocket, while his 23 big-time throws (our-highest graded throws) from a clean pocket were the sixth-most among players at the position.

70. Olivier Vernon, New York Giants

Top 101 appearances: 3

After an ankle injury forced Vernon from the field early in the 2018 season, he rebounded nicely with an 86.3 overall grade and 86.0 pass rush grade, ranking 13th and tied-for-seventh respectively, among edge defenders. Vernon made an impact with 46 total pressures on 414 pass-rush snaps for a pressure rate of 11.1 percent.

71. John Johnson III, Los Angeles Rams

Top 101 appearances: New entry

In his second season, Johnson III has evolved into a dynamic cover safety for the Rams. His 86.4 coverage grade for the season ranked fifth among safeties who faced 20-plus targets. Overall, Johnson III allowed only 37 receptions for 328 yards and logged 12 combined pass breakups and interceptions while in coverage.

72. Ryan Ramczyk, New Orleans Saints

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Ramczyk followed up his breakout rookie campaign with yet another premier season at right tackle in 2018. Including the postseason, he ranked in the top-10 among offensive tackles in overall grade at 81.3 with his run-blocking grade of 77.1 listing at fourth overall. Ramczyk led all offensive linemen by receiving a negative grade on just 6.9 percent of his run-block attempts, and for his dominance in the running game, he earned PFF’s 2018 Run Blocker of the Year honors.

73. Chris Harris Jr., Denver Broncos

Top 101 appearances: 6

Despite being limited to 12 games this season due to injury, Harris continued to show why he’s one of the league's best cornerbacks, especially covering the slot. He finished the regular season with the fifth-highest coverage grade (86.0) and fourth-highest overall grade (85.1) among players at the position. All told, Harris allowed a passer rating of only 63.6 on throws into his coverage, ranking sixth.

74. Byron Jones, Dallas Cowboys

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Jones was a solid safety in the Cowboys’ secondary, but his transition to corner has propelled him to one of the best secondary players in the NFL. Even though he ended the year without an interception, he generated 11 pass breakups, and his coverage grade of 80.4 ranked 13th among cornerbacks who logged 300 or more snaps this season.

75. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Top 101 appearances: New entry

After failing to win any games in the 2017 season, Mayfield helped orchestrate Cleveland to seven wins in 2018. Mayfield finished with the eighth-best overall grade among quarterbacks this season at 84.5, but it was his accuracy and his ability to push the ball downfield that made his debut season special. Among all quarterbacks, the number-one overall draft pick’s big-time throw rate of 7.3 percent ranked third-best for the year.

76. Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Leonard may have had impressive tackle totals, but he was also equally impressive as a blitzer, as a run stopper and as a coverage defender. Whichever way you slice it, Leonard ended a mightily productive regular season with 56 total defensive stops next to his name – the third-most among players at the position.

77. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Deshaun Watson came into this season surrounded by uncertainty due to his season-ending ACL injury last year, but he played a full 16 games this season and finished with the 12th-best grade (82.6) out of 39 qualifying quarterbacks. Watson made the best of one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines en route to a playoff berth, and that can’t be overstated. He led the NFL in total pressured dropbacks (281) and passer rating under pressure (88.2).

78. Duane Brown, Seattle Seahawks

Top 101 appearances: 3

The addition of Brown at left tackle has made the world of difference for a Seattle offensive line that finished the season ranked 17th in pass-blocking efficiency after finishing 29th in 2017. Brown allowed just 21 quarterback pressures from his 501 pass-blocking snaps on the year and surrendered just six combined sacks and hits.

79. Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals

Top 101 appearances: 6

Along with the rest of the Bengals' defense, Atkins didn't quite manage to produce the kind of play that he's demonstrated in years past. His 24th-ranked overall grade of 83.5 was his lowest mark since 2014, and his eight missed tackles – five more than he missed in 2017 – had a lot to do with it. Despite a down year overall, Atkins was his usual, disruptive self as a pass rusher, producing 64 total pressures on the year.

80. Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs

Top 101 appearances: 5

As part of one of the best pass-rushing trios in the NFL, Houston once again did damage to opposing passing attacks. He ended the year with a pressure rate of 13.3% and a win rate of 19.3%, which respectively ranked 24th and fifth among the league's edge rushers.

81. Bryce Callahan, Chicago Bears

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Once an afterthought, the importance of the slot cornerback has begun to come to light in recent seasons, and Callahan was one of the best in 2018. All told, Callahan allowed a passer rating of just 78.9 on throws into his slot coverage, good for seventh among players at the position.

82. Joel Bitonio, Cleveland Browns

Top 101 appearances: 3

After a preseason shakeup almost saw him slotted to start at left tackle, Bitonio kicked back into to his normal spot and had a career year. He didn’t allow a sack or a hit until Week 15, and he allowed pressure on just 2.0% of his pass-blocking snaps on the year.

83. Lawrence Guy, New England Patriots

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Guy topped off a career year in New England with the first Super Bowl Championship of his career. A run-stopping force on the interior of the Patriots' defensive line, the seventh-year veteran racked up 30 defensive stops against the run en route to an elite run-defense grade of 91.1.

84. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Lockett had a special season efficiency wise in 2018, ending the regular season as the only wide receiver in the PFF era (2006-Present) with 50-plus targets to field a perfect single-season WR Rating. His work down the field is a big reason why. Including playoffs, Lockett hauled in 17 of his 22 targets from deep passes for 638 receiving yards – the second-most among receivers.

85. Kareem Jackson, Houston Texans

Top 101 appearances: 2

Alternating between safety and corner, Jackson had a career revival this past season. Jackson recorded an overall grade of 79.5 behind 10 pass breakups and no receiving touchdowns allowed, and he will be one of the more sought-after veterans if he hits the free agent market.

86. Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis Colts

Top 101 appearances: New entry

One of the more impressive turnarounds in recent memory, the Colts offensive line went from complete liability to more than an adequate unit, and the play of Quenton Nelson had a lot to do with that. Nelson was a stud in pass protection, leading the team in pass-blocking grade while allowing just 23 pressures on a whopping 730 pass-blocking snaps.

87. Nickell Robey-Coleman, Los Angeles Rams

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Robey-Coleman's 2018 season was once again good enough to put him among the very best slot cornerbacks in the league. His 80.7 coverage grade on the year was good for sixth among qualifying players at the position, and the 81.1 passer rating allowed in slot coverage was good for eighth.

88. Eddie Goldman, Chicago Bears

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Goldman capped off a career year in Chicago with an overall grade of 89.2 – almost 15 points higher than his previous career best. In a tremendous season, Goldman was at his best against the run, where he racked up 27 run stops from 211 run-defense snaps.

89. Denzel Ward, Cleveland Browns

Top 101 appearances: New entry

The second-highest-graded rookie cornerback this year, Ward lived up to his top-five billing. He allowed a catch rate of 53.7 and passer rating of 70.7 to transform the Browns' secondary. We’ll be seeing his name on this list for years to come.

90. Micah Hyde, Buffalo Bills

Top 101 appearances: 2

As one of the league’s premier playmakers in coverage, Hyde didn’t disappoint in 2018. He finished with the third-highest coverage grade among safeties at 88.6 and finished with five combined pass breakups and interceptions.

91. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Ertz finished his record-setting 2018 season with the most ever receptions by a tight end, with 116 on 154 total targets. In his sixth season, he finished as the sixth-highest graded player at the position with an overall grade of 76.0 and a 79.5 receiving grade.

92. Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys

Top 101 appearances: 4

Martin saw a slight regression from his overall dominance this season as he battled through nagging injuries to his left knee. Despite being somewhat limited for much of the year, the fifth-year guard still lined up on over 1,000 snaps and posted the second-highest overall grade at the position at 78.6. In pass protection, Martin allowed 21 pressures in 597 pass-block snaps.

93. Devin McCourty, New England Patriots

Top 101 appearances: 7

Fresh off of his Super Bowl LIII victory with the Patriots, McCourty makes the list after his ninth straight season logging 1,000 or more snaps at his safety position. His 79.5 overall grade ranked 16th-best, and his tackling grade of 83.4 ranked in the top 10 among safeties as he only missed five tackles on 77 attempts in 2018.

94. Bernardrick McKinney, Houston Texans

Top 101 appearances: New entry

The fourth-year linebacker made an impact in all areas of the Texans’ defense this season. McKinney’s 81.3 overall grade ranked ninth at the position, while his 89.2 run defense grade listed at third-best, behind only All-Pro’s Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner. He recorded 32 total run stops this season with only four missed tackles.

95. Ndamukong Suh, Los Angeles Rams

Top 101 appearances: 8

After yet another dominant season and Super Bowl run with the Rams, Suh finished the year with an 83.0 overall grade, third-highest of his career. The free-agent-to-be excelled in run defense with an 88.7 grade against the run, 12th-best among interior defenders, and proved to still be a capable pass rusher with 55 total pressures.

96. Joe Staley, San Francisco 49ers

Top 101 appearances: 6

Staley’s consistency remained intact in 2018 by finishing in the top-10 in overall grade among offensive tackles at 82.2. The twelfth-year veteran allowed just 25 total pressures in 609 pass-block snaps this season with only four resulting in a sack.

97. Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore Ravens

Top 101 appearances: New entry

The second-year cornerback out of Alabama improved on his stellar rookie season with an overall grade of 80.0 in 2018. His 52.5% catch rate allowed was the seventh-best in the league this season, and his 22.5% forced incompletion rate was third-best.

98. Danielle Hunter, Minnesota Vikings

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Hunter has been remarkably consistent in each of his four seasons with the Vikings in terms of PFF grade. In 2018, he finished with a 78.4 overall grade and generated 67 total pressures

99. Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens

Top 101 appearances: 7

Yanda battled back from his 2017 ankle injury to log the most snaps among guards in the 2018 regular season at 1,162. Including the postseason, he earned the fourth-highest overall grade among guards at 75.2, allowing just 15 total pressures and zero sacks.

100. Prince Amukamara, Chicago Bears

Top 101 appearances: New entry

Plagued by injuries throughout most of his career, Amukamara makes the list with a career-best 81.0 overall grade this season, including playoffs. He allowed an 81.9 passer rating when targeted in coverage with 10 combined pass breakups and interceptions. He was also great in run support with a 90.5 run defense grade, third-best at the cornerback position.

101. Harrison Smith, Minnesota Vikings

Top 101 appearances: 4

Although his overall grade dropped to 79.7 this season from 91.8 in 2017, Smith remained elite against the run with a 91.3 run defense grade, best among safeties. He was also one of the most reliable tacklers in the NFL with a 21.5 tackle efficiency rating, again, best among safeties who logged 400 or more snaps.

Cris Collinsworth

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