Dante Fowler, Danny Shelton could be rookies in 2016's 'Top 100'

"The Top 100 Players of 2015" debuts Wednesday night on NFL Network and airs each Wednesday through July 8, when the top 10 players on the list will be revealed in a special two-hour edition.



Who could be the best candidates out of the rookie class from the 2015 NFL Draft for next year's version though?

NFL Media analysts debated just that on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft" and didn't utter the names of Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota or Leonard Williams, but instead went with a pair of defensive linemen perfectly suited to the teams that drafted them.

"Dante Fowler Jr. going to the Jacksonville Jaguars is going to have a lot of opportunities to make plays like Khalil Mack did last year," NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. "Mack didn't put up big sack numbers but he dominated because he was a complete linebacker. I think we see the same thing from Dante Fowler Jr."

Fowler headlined a strong group of edge rushers in this year's draft class, and lands in a great spot to get after the quarterback in Jacksonville by playing for coach Gus Bradley and company. The former Florida star will likely get plenty of chances to make a play early on given that guys such as Sen'Derrick Marks and Jared Odrick will help take pressure off the blockers up front and allow Fowler to come in to go after the football.

That's not the only first-round pick who might wind up playing their way onto the "Top 100" list at year's end.

"Anybody who dominated the commissioner on draft night has a chance to be in the 'Top 100,'" joked fellow NFL Media analyst Charles Davis of Browns first-rounder Danny Shelton. "This guy can flat-out play and will hold down the middle in Cleveland and get a lot of notice for doing it."

It's interesting that neither analyst went with an offensive player given how many quality prospects were drafted on that side of the ball. Either way, it will take quite a first-year campaign in order to crack the 2016 edition of the "Top 100" given just how stacked of a list it is each season.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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