Skip to main content

Top 100 Players of 2023, Nos. 40-31: Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey return to ranking

"The Top 100 Players of 2023" -- voted on by the players themselves -- is underway on NFL+! The series concludes with a two-hour live show -- "The Top 100 Players of 2023: The Top 10" -- on Monday, Aug. 7, on NFL+.

Quinnen Williams
New York Jets · DT

The 2019 No. 3 overall pick finally put it all together last season, placing third among all interior linemen with 12 sacks. His output accounted for over a quarter of New York’s 45 sacks, which placed the Jets in a tie for fifth-most in the NFL. A disruptive, 300-plus pound wrecking ball, Williams recently became the highest-paid DT in terms of total value thanks to the $96 million contract he signed in July.

Ja'Marr Chase
Cincinnati Bengals · WR

Chase played in five fewer games last season and still eclipsed his catch total from his Rookie of the Year campaign, raising his career high from 81 to 87 receptions. A target monster with 11.1 looks per game in 2022, the two-time Pro Bowler should be Joe Burrow’s go-to guy for the foreseeable future. He ranks fifth all time with 2,501 receiving yards through his first two NFL seasons.

Khalil Mack
Los Angeles Chargers · OLB

You’d think at some point teams would learn to stop trading Mack. After the Raiders shipped him to the Bears in 2018, he led Chicago in sacks (12.5) and more than tripled the total of Oakland’s leader (four). Fast forward to 2022. The Bears traded him to the Chargers, and Mack proceeded to pace L.A. with eight sacks while doubling Chicago’s sack leader. That’s what NFL All-Decade Team members do.

Jason Kelce
Philadelphia Eagles · C

Kelce helped handpick his eventual replacement, Cam Jurgens, in the 2022 draft. Then, he went out and had his fifth All-Pro season in the last six years. Kelce’s shown no signs of regression entering his age-36 season. He was PFF’s second-best center by a wide margin, and he’s the primary blocker on Philly’s “tush-push” QB sneak, a play that’s become so lethal, teams wanted to ban it.

Jalen Ramsey
Miami Dolphins · CB

Ramsey collected four picks for a second straight year in 2022. He also forced two fumbles, made a career-high 88 tackles and tallied his first two sacks in seven seasons of work. And yet the six-time Pro Bowler found himself traded to Miami in the offseason. The boisterous cornerback is carving out an accolade-filled odyssey of a career à la Hall of Famers Darrelle Revis and Deion Sanders.

Christian McCaffrey
San Francisco 49ers · RB

While everyone else looks to the bargain bin for running backs, the 49ers spent four draft picks on CMC last October. He rewarded them by transforming their offense overnight, amassing 1,210 total yards and 10 touchdowns in 11 games. Quarterback Brock Purdy may be the feel-good story, but McCaffrey arrived during Week 7, and the Niners didn’t lose from Week 8 until the NFC Championship Game.

CeeDee Lamb
Dallas Cowboys · WR

Lamb received his first chance in Year 3 to play as Dallas’ undisputed WR1. He did not disappoint. Dak Prescott’s favorite target was far and away the Cowboys’ best pass catcher. Both his 107 receptions and 1,359 yards were more than the sum of the team’s second- and third-leading players in those categories. Opponents knew where the ball was going, but it rarely mattered.

Matt Judon
New England Patriots · OLB

The Patriots signed Judon to a four-year deal with a $13.6 million annual average back in 2021. That appears to be an underpay of the criminal variety two seasons later. Judon, the 18th-highest-paid edge rusher on a per-year basis, trailed only Nick Bosa, Myles Garrett and Haason Reddick in sacks last season with 15.5. He’s on a roll, having made every Pro Bowl since 2019.

Justin Herbert
Los Angeles Chargers · QB

A name always mentioned right behind the other greats of the NFL’s new generation, Herbert has torched defenses as well as any of his more-heralded contemporaries. He now has the most passing yards (14,089) and second-most passing TDs (94) of any QB in his first three seasons. He has the gaudy numbers, incredible toughness, a record-setting contract and a rocket arm. The next step is playoff success.

Saquon Barkley
New York Giants · RB

The reports of Barkley’s demise were greatly exaggerated. After a 2020 season lost almost entirely to injury and a 2021 campaign spent getting right, Saquon made an emphatic return to form in 2022. He showed his signature burst again with three games of 146-plus yards on the ground on his way to 1,312 rushing yards total. Barkley also helped engineer New York’s 31-24 wild-card upset over Minnesota with two crucial touchdowns.

Related Content