Pro Football Focus has released its annual list of the top 101 players in the NFL. The list is comprised solely based on player performances during the 2021 season and postseason. They also don’t take into account positional value in their rankings. Let’s go through each of the players, and their rankings.
27. Creed Humphrey
The Chiefs overhauled their entire offensive line after last season’s Super Bowl defeat, and drafting Humphrey was a major part of the success of that endeavor. The second-round center played like the best in the game from Day 1, allowing 12 pressures in 20 games across almost 1,400 snaps of action, including the playoffs. Humphrey’s run blocking was elite and looked like something we would hope to see from an established veteran.
32. TE Travis Kelce
Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs had their lull during the 2021 season, but when all was said and done, he still racked up 1,424 yards and 12 touchdowns including the playoffs. He averaged 1.92 yards per route run, and passes thrown in his direction resulted in a 112.4 passer rating for his quarterback. Kelce scored in each of his last six games and was a go-to receiver during some of the team’s biggest “gotta-have-it” situations of the season.
A year ago, Kelce was ranked No. 3 in PFF’s top 101 players list. This seems like a pretty big dip for a player who remains one of the most dominant at his position in the NFL.
33. WR Tyreek Hill
Hill is one of the most terrifying playmakers in the game, and the fact that he was still able to amass over 1,200 yards and score nine touchdowns with the league on an almost religious mission to take away the explosive plays from Kansas City’s offense tells you a lot about how good he is. Hill caught 71.6% of passes thrown his way and still had a 75-yard score to his name in the regular season and one of 64 yards in the playoffs.
Hill set a career-high in receptions (111) with his third-most receiving yards (1,239) and touchdowns (9) this season.
38. DT Chris Jones
“The Chiefs started the year playing Jones as a full-time edge rusher, which seems absurd given the fact he typically weighs in at 310 pounds and is 6-foot-6. The fact that he was moved back inside tells you how well the plan worked overall, but Jones wasn’t bad on the edge, registering 21 pressures in six games before he became a full-time interior player again. Once he moved back inside, he was back to being a dominant force as a pass-rusher, finishing the year with 75 pressures, including 10 in the playoffs.
63. LG Joe Thuney
Kansas City invested huge money into Thuney last offseason as part of a concerted effort to overhaul the offensive line, and he repaid them with a fine season. Thuney earned a 90.5 pass-blocking grade — the best of his career — while blocking for quarterback Patrick Mahomes for the first time. He allowed 17 pressures all season, the same number as a season ago but on 445 more pass-blocking snaps.
69. QB Patrick Mahomes
Mahomes and the Kansas City offense had a very strange season, each struggling at various points and not quite looking the same as in previous years. Mahomes more than doubled his interception total from 2020 but actually had a lower turnover-worthy play rate (2.8% versus 3.2%). The big difference came on big-time throws, where his rate more than halved from last season as teams concentrated on eliminating explosive plays from the Chiefs’ offense. Even in a relative down year, Mahomes tossed 37 touchdowns and needed only 13 seconds to execute a game-saving scoring drive in the playoffs.