The yearly tradition that is the NFL Top 100 has gradually been announced over the past week as the league’s players have voted on who they believe is currently the best in the league
Last year’s Super Bowl champion New England Patriots have seen four players crack the list of the NFL’s elite.
Quarterback Tom Brady, voted number-one each of the last two seasons, dropped a few spots while veteran safety Devin McCourty saw his much-deserved debut on the list. Even Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman made his return to the list for the first time since 2017.
The biggest splash came from Stephon Gilmore, who made his debut in the annual poll inside the top-25.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski might have made the list as well, but his retirement made him ineligible for this year’s countdown.
Here’s who made the countdown for 2019.
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QB Tom Brady – 6 (Last Year: 1)
For the first time in the history of the countdown, Brady was voted outside the top-five. His number-six ranking matches the amount of Super Bowl rings the GOAT has won.
Brady continued to prove that he is the greatest quarterback to ever play the game, capturing yet another Super Bowl title. The GOAT completed passes at a 65.8 percent clip, throwing for over 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns.
But his biggest attribute is his clutch gene. Brady engineered fourth-quarter game-winning drives against the Kansas City Chiefs twice, including in overtime of the AFC Championship, and the LA Rams in Super Bowl LIII.
CB Stephon Gilmore – 22 (Last Year: NR)
The NFL All-Pro made the list for the first time in his career and was voted the league’s best cornerback by his peers. Gilmore proved to be a premier lock-down corner with a career-high 20 passes defended along with two interceptions and a pair of forced fumbles in the regular season. His interception in the Super Bowl ended the would-be tying drive by the LA Rams.
In the NFL Network’s short piece on Gilmore in the 22-spot, fellow Patriots corner Jason McCourty said: “I haven’t seen a corner that’s played any better than he has this season.”
S Devin McCourty – 89 (Last Year: NR)
It took almost a decade for D-Mac to make an appearance on the list, but his contribution on defense was finally recognized. A natural leader and consistent captain, McCourty led a Pats defense that limited a pair of premier offenses in Kansas City and the Rams during the postseason.
McCourty had only four passes defended, but got his first pick-6 against Buffalo, returning an interception 84 yards.
“I think what separates him from everyone else is his ability to get people into position to be successful,” Carolina linebacker Luke Keuchly said of McCourty in the NFL Network special.
WR Julian Edelman – 90 (Last Year: NR)
Edelman rebounded after missing the entire 2018 season to injury and the opening four games of the 2019 season to suspension. The 11-year slot receiver amassed 850 yards on 74 catches over 12 games –well on pace to surpass his career-year in 2016.
He was a major cog in the New England offense and provided an immediate spark after returning from suspension as the Pats went 12-3 over its last 15 games.