Cam Newton takes a dip in latest 'Top 100' reveal


Two NFL South quarterbacks make an appearance in the latest edition of The Top 100 Players 2015 countdown on NFL Network.

Players 80 through 71 were revealed on Wednesday night, with Cam Newton landing at No. 73, a steep 49-spot drop from his No. 24 ranking in 2014. There's logic behind the tumble: Newton declined in many key statistical categories and the Panthers went just 5-8-1 in his 14 starts. This after Carolina went 12-4 and knocked the Saints off the NFC South perch in 2013. Steve Smith's absence was definitely felt by Newton -- we'll see if second-round pick Devin Funchess can make an impact.

Matt Ryan shows up at No. 77 on the list, this after the Falcons star was left off the Top 100 entirely in 2014. Ryan was ranked 17th in 2013, when the Falcons were coming off a season in which they went 12-4 and won the NFC South. It's clear the voters -- who, as a reminder, are all players -- put a lot of stock in team success when determining where to rank quarterbacks. Ryan remained as steady as ever statistically, and the Falcons jumped from four to six wins. Ryan will have to get Atlanta back to playoffs to move any higher up this list.

Looking elsewhere in the division, Bucs rookie Jameis Winston will have to wait until next year to be in contention for the Top 100. Saints quarterback Drew Brees, meanwhile, should be considered a lock as one of the nine quarterbacks yet to be revealed.

Some other takeaways from the 80-71 reveal:

» Texans running back Arian Foster (No. 80) makes his return to the Top 100 after injuries knocked him off the list in 2013. Foster feels strangely underrated. In 2014, he compiled over 1,500 total yards with double-digit touchdowns for the fourth time in five years. There aren't many backs in this leg that have been that consistently great.

» Going to Green Bay did good for the career of Julius Peppers. The veteran pass rusher comes in at No. 71, this after he fell off the Top 100 list in his final season with the Bears. Peppers, 35, is the fourth-oldest non-quarterback on this list.

» Muhammad Wilkerson was the only Jets player to crack this list in 2014. He does it again this year, coming in at No. 74. Something tells us that Revis guy is going to give Wilkerson some Gang Green company in 2015.

» Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (No. 75) becomes the third player to make this list on the strength of his rookie season, joining C.J. Mosley (No. 94) and Aaron Donald (No. 92). Last year's Top 100 had three rookies total.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast welcomes Lindsay Rhodes to discuss the Patriots' response in the "Deflategate" saga and the latest names revealed on the "The Top 100 Players of 2015" countdown. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.