To preview the 2020 NFL season, we asked more than 50 league executives, coaches, scouts and players to help us stack the top 10 players at 11 positions (sorry, special-teamers). The results might surprise you. They surprised me.
Here's how it worked: Voters gave their best 10 to 15 players at a position, then we compiled the results and ranked candidates based on number of top-10 votes, composite average, interviews and research. We had several ties, so we broke them by isolating the two-man matchup with additional voting and follow-up calls. Each section is packed with quotes and nuggets from the voters on every guy -- even the honorable mentions.
The objective is to identify the best players right now for 2020. This is not a five-year projection or an achievement award. Who's the best today? Pretty simple.
We'll roll out a position per day over the next 11 days. Here's the schedule:
Quick passing games, run-pass options and mobile quarterbacks have forced teams to improve their man coverage. Perhaps more than ever, general managers and coaches prioritize players with man-coverage traits, with the ability to shadow when needed.
In the voting for the top 10 cornerbacks, tiebreakers usually went to the players with that ability, which complicates matters because the league has so many good corners in a variety of different systems and roles.
Most of the players below can stand alone as true outside guys who bring balance to the back end of a defense.