NFL Top 100: Players vote Rams' Aaron Donald best in the league

Shalise Manza YoungYahoo Sports Contributor

The 2019 installment of NFL Network’s Top 100 concluded on Wednesday night, with the top 10 players.

It’s not much of a surprise who fellow players chose as the best man pound-for-pound in the league right now.

No. 1: Aaron Donald

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The Los Angeles Rams placed two players in the top 10 of NFL Network's Top 100 list: Aaron Donald, right, and Todd Gurley. (AP)
The Los Angeles Rams placed two players in the top 10 of NFL Network's Top 100 list: Aaron Donald, right, and Todd Gurley. (AP)

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald was revealed as the No. 1 player, the second time in the nine years of the series that a defensive player has come out on top (Houston Texan J.J. Watt was No. 1 in 2015).

Donald has been fantastic since he entered the league in 2014, but he was a force in 2018: a league-high 20.5 sacks, the highest single-season total ever for a defensive tackle, plus 25 tackles for loss, 41 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

A Pro Bowler in each of his first five seasons and an AP first-team All-Pro in each of the last four, Donald is also aiming to become the first player to win three straight defensive player of the year awards.

Nos. 2-5: Brees, Mack, Mahomes, Gurley

The rest of the top 5 included a lot of familiar names, and one ranking that likely drew some social media argument.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who finished a distant second to the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes in Most Valuable Player voting, was No. 2, and Chicago Bears pass rusher Khalil Mack came in at No. 3 despite missing two games.

MVP Mahomes was No. 4, and while Mahomes isn’t the first MVP winner to not come out on top of the now-annual list, a quick perusal of the replies under NFL Network’s tweet announcing Mahomes as fourth-best shows that it’s not just Kansas City fans who believe an injustice was done.

Donald’s teammate, running back Todd Gurley, came in at No. 5.

The rest of the top 10

Perhaps fittingly, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was ranked No. 6 after winning his sixth Super Bowl ring; Brady was chosen as the top player last year and on two previous occasions.

New Oakland Raider Antonio Brown was No. 7, though he of course spent last year with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers was No. 8, and Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones and Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller rounded out the top 10.

You can scroll through the rest of this year’s Top 100 here.

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