The NFL’s annual player popularity contest that masquerades as a ranking of the best players in the league got underway on Monday night. The bottom two sets of ten players each were announced Monday, and four players who are on the current Green Bay Packers roster were listed in that group.
Here’s a quick look at each player and his ranking.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: #100
Packers fans who watched a lot of Clinton-Dix will likely be incredulous when seeing that he appeared on the top 100 this year. He dropped 23 spots from last year’s ranking at #77, but his play certainly appeared to warrant a fall off the list entirely.
2016 Clinton-Dix was every bit deserving of his appearance at the Pro Bowl. He intercepted five passes that year, forced a fumble, and generally was a force all over the defense. His 2017 self looked like a shell of the player he was the year before, however, and despite picking off three passes he rarely looked confident and aggressive.
For his part, Clinton-Dix noted that he had a “down year” on Twitter last night:
Down year for me but I’ll take it and be back stronger and I’m betting on myself. I hold myself to a higher standard, but blessed to be recognized in the top 100 of this competitive league . #God100 #GopackGo https://t.co/HvbikcpVn0— Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (@haha_cd6) May 1, 2018
Mike Daniels: #93
Falling nine spots from last year’s ranking was Daniels, who missed two games in 2017 — the first games he had sat out since his rookie year in 2012. However, Daniels increased his sack total from four to five in 2018 and generally played more frequently on passing downs. He also made his first Pro Bowl appearance (finally).
David Bakhtiari: #91
Despite being one of the most consistent pass-blocking left tackles in football for a few years now, this is Bakhtiari’s first appearance on the Top 100. He missed it last year despite being a Pro Bowler and a second-team All-Pro, and he made yet another appearance on the All-Pro second team this season. So why is he just now cracking the list — and why is he still so low?
Who knows. The one thing we know for certain is that he has his eye on a specific number for next year.
Jimmy Graham: #89
Graham, the new Packers tight end, appears on this list for the first time since 2015, when he was ranked 31st. The year before that, in 2014, he was in tenth place — one spot above Aaron Rodgers, who was coming off his first broken collarbone.
Interestingly, 2017 was by and large Graham’s least productive season in three years with the Seattle Seahawks. He increased his touchdown count from six to ten, but his catch rate plummeted almost ten points (down from 68% to 59%) and his yardage and yards per catch average dropped like a stone as well. Still, he made a second straight Pro Bowl due in part to his red zone success.
Graham has been coy about it, but there is a wide suspicion that the Seahawks’ coaching staff utilized him poorly, particularly last year. In addition, he has played in every game each of the past two years after struggling with injuries in 2015.
If Graham proves to be worthy of a spot in the Top 100 with his play in 2018, he would justify the Packers’ faith and investment in him.
The NFL Top 100 Players of 2018 series will continue with one group of ten players being announced each week. Players 80 through 71 will be revealed next Monday at 8 PM Eastern.