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Top 100 Players of 2021, Nos. 50-41: 49ers' George Kittle falls to 50, Trent Williams returns at 42

It's that time of year again, when NFL players cast their votes to identify the best in the league heading into the 2021 NFL season. Check out the results of this year's voting to see where your favorite players rank.

George Kittle
San Francisco 49ers · TE

Blame nagging lower body injuries for Kittle’s descension out of the Top 10. Still, the fiery 49ers tight end found his way into the Top 50 despite playing in only eight games. Kittle again proved he's the NFL's best blocker at his position while recording a respectable 48 receptions (63 targets) for 634 yards and two TDs before landing on season-ending IR. His journey back to the top of “TE Mountain” should be fun to watch. 

J.C. Jackson
New England Patriots · DB

Making his Top 100 debut, Jackson capitalized on a breakout sophomore season with a career year. The 25-year-old again played in all 16 games (11 starts) and logged career highs in tackles (40), interceptions (nine) and pass defensed (14). Adding to the former undrafted free agent’s impressive run is the fact that his allowed passer rating (46.8) and total INT (14) rank first since 2019, per PFF.  

Mike Evans
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · WR

Evans’ fifth Top 100 nod has to be his sweetest after such a memorable season. Yes, the Bucs receiver slid out of the Top 30, but 2020 was his year. Let’s recap it, shall we? Super Bowl champion in his first-ever postseason trip? Check. First player in NFL history to record at least 1,000 yards in each of his first seven seasons? Check. Hauling in a career-best 13 TDs while playing with the G.O.A.T.? Check. If 2020 was a dream, it would be one the soon-to-be 28-year-old would never want to wake up from.

Stephon Gilmore
New England Patriots · CB

As the world awaits news of Gilmore’s fate in New England, his 2020 performance tells only half the story of the player we all know him to be. From testing positive for COVID-19 to suffering a still-lingering quad injury late in the season, the Patriots corner had a trying albeit still Pro Bowl-worthy campaign. While he by no means fell off his perch as one of the NFL’s best in coverage, it’s going to be an uphill battle for the former DPOY to make up the 38 spots he dropped from last year.

Cameron Jordan
New Orleans Saints · DE

Jordan’s sixth Top 100 selection comes on the heels of another season in which he played in all 16 games. Consistency remains the name of the Saints defensive end’s game as Jordan added another 7.5 sacks while serving as anchor along the frontline. Sliding 23 spots might raise some eyebrows but Jordan’s 51 tackles, 37 pressures and 10 run stuffs (NGS) show the all-around defender is showing no signs of slowing down entering Year 11.

Justin Simmons
Denver Broncos · FS

It’s fitting for Simmons to make his anticipated Top 100 debut a few months after becoming the NFL’s highest-paid safety. The do-it-all Broncos DB tallied 96 tackles, nine passes defensed and a career-best five interceptions in 2020. The budding star also earned his first Pro Bowl nod, all while extending his incredible consecutive snap count streak to 3,067 – the longest in the NFL since 2018. Simmons’ durability and versatility more than merit a spot on this year’s list.

Christian McCaffrey
Carolina Panthers · RB

McCaffrey was another star whose 2020 was essentially lost due to injury. But the Panthers running back lands in the Top 100 if for no other reason than the blazing pace he appeared to be on. The 374 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns CMC recorded in just three games makes you wonder where his numbers would’ve ended up had he not gotten hurt. Let’s all just tag his 38-spot slide with an asterisk and gear up for his comeback tour.

Lavonte David
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · OLB

David played like a man on a mission and it resulted in his fifth appearance on this list. Considered one of the NFL’s best all-around linebackers for several years now, this past season afforded David -- last year’s No. 100 selection -- the chance to display his talents under a white-hot spotlight. And he delivered. David’s regular season effort earned him another second-team All-Pro selection and, in his first postseason, he took it up a notch, most notably against Travis Kelce in Super Bowl LV. What a fantastic year it was for the longest-tenured member on the Bucs’ roster.

Trent Williams
San Francisco 49ers · OT

Returning from a year-long hiatus, Williams looked rejuvenated in 2020, and the 49ers handily rewarded the imposing left tackle by making him the highest-paid OL in NFL history. The performance that preceded the payday was flat-out dominant: per PFF, Williams played 957 snaps and allowed 19 pressures while grading out as the league’s best run-blocking tackle. Needless to say, the eight-time Pro Bowler is on another level, and the Niners offense stands to keep benefitting immensely from his presence.

Jaire Alexander
Green Bay Packers · CB

There aren’t too many corners who had a better 2020 than Alexander, who’s making his Top 100 debut. And yet what he accomplished is only a sliver of what he’s capable of if he stays on this trajectory. The analytics darling was a matchup nightmare, finishing the year as PFF’s highest-graded CB. Alexander logged six games of 10 or fewer yards allowed (second-most in the NFL) and forced the highest rate of tight windows among CBs (42.3%, min. 50 targets). The second-team All-Pro nod may still feel like a snub, but the Pro Bowler possesses the necessary skills to upgrade that title in due time.

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