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My top 100, 61-70: Cam Newton slides, Jordan Howard surprises

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"The Top 100 Players of 2017" reaches its finale on Monday, June 26, with the final 10 names revealed in a two-hour special beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The conversation will continue on the "Top 100 Players Reactions" show, airing immediately after at 10 p.m. ET.

For the second straight year, NFL Media's Ike Taylor is sharing his own spin on "The Top 100," listing who he thinks is among the league's best heading into next season. Let's continue by revealing his next set of rankings, Nos. 61-70:

» No. 61: Josh Norman, CB, Washington Redskins
» No. 62: Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears
» No. 63: Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
» No. 64: Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys
» No. 65: Casey Hayward, CB, Los Angeles Chargers
» No. 66: Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots
» No. 67: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
» No. 68: Kam Chancellor, S, Seattle Seahawks
» No. 69: Geno Atkins, DT, Cincinnati Bengals
» No. 70: Whitney Mercilus, LB, Houston Texans

I was laughed at when I said Jordan Howard should be a first-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft. He finished second in the league in rushing yards. Who's laughing now? At 6-foot, 222 pounds, Howard is built to play in Chicago. He brings toughness to that offense, and not many people want to hit him in December and January. Another underrated player -- in my opinion -- is Julian Edelman. Look at his regular-season stats and that Super Bowl LI catch. How did he do that?! ... Jason Witten returns to the top 100 because he's produced while figuring out how to not age. He was Tony Romo's safety net and can be the same for Dak Prescott in the foreseeable future.

Cam Newton quickly fell from the mountaintop a year after winning the league MVP award. He looked more like Clark Kent than Superman. He's still an X-factor for the Panthers, and we'll watch him return to greatness in the fall. Seattle's Russell Wilson was another who struggled a bit in 2016, but a down year won't keep him out of this list. Working behind a shaky O-line, Wilson doesn't get the credit he deserves. He constantly does more with less.

I'm a big fan of the two cornerbacks in this list. In his first year with Washington, Josh Norman wasn't the same player he was in Carolina but he still has swag. He knows teams that don't trust his top-end speed are going to throw deep against him. Knowing that, I think Norman will play much better against the deep ball in his second season with the Redskins. Casey Hayward waited in line for his opportunity, then jumped the entire line to lead the league in INTs. When Jason Verrett's health returns, this tandem will look similar to the Chris Harris-Aqib Talib duo in Denver. Another player in the secondary, safety Kam Chancellor has never stopped being a force for the Legion of Boom. It's almost scary how hard he can hit, but I love it.

When I think of the Cincinnati Bengals' defense, I think of Geno Atkins. He's an underrated defensive tackle who is an enforcer. Meanwhile, Whitney Mercilus stepped up -- along with Jadeveon Clowney -- for the Texans with J.J. Watt sidelined. What will offenses do if this triple threat is healthy in 2017? I don't have an answer.

Follow Ike Taylor on Twitter @Ike_SwagginU.

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