"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. 11-20:
» No. 11:Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
» No. 12:Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams
» No. 13:Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders
» No. 14:Landon Collins, S, New York Giants
» No. 15:Tyron Smith, OT, Dallas Cowboys
» No. 16:Jadeveon Clowney, DE, Houston Texans
» No. 17:Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
» No. 18:Marcus Peters, CB, Kansas City Chiefs
» No. 19:Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
» No. 20:Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina Panthers
The one thing all of these guys have in common? Opponents must know where they're at AT ALL TIMES.
Luke Kuechly is the quarterback for the Panthers' defense, boasting one of the best football IQs in the league. Ben Roethlisberger and Derek Carr were two of the top dogs a year ago. Roethlisberger is among the best signal callers from year to year, while Carr has come into his own. If Carr didn't suffer that season-ending injury, the Raiders could've given hell to Pittsburgh and New England in the playoffs. They would've been a legit title contender.
Marcus Peters is one of my favorite cornerbacks. Mr. Pick City understands combination routes and is a ballhawk. Another defensive back, safety Landon Collins was a top-three defensive player in 2016. He did it all for the Giants, forcing fumbles, covering in the secondary, making picks, etc. Texans DE Jadeveon Clowney clowned us all just when we almost counted him out. We finally saw a healthy Clowney and he was absolute hell to deal with. But Clowney was edged out on my list by a man among boys, Aaron Donald. The Rams defensive tackle isn't just the leader of the defense, but the entire team.
It's fitting that two players who were instrumental to the Cowboys' run game land here. Ezekiel Elliott is agile, physical and a more athletic version of Cowboys great Emmitt Smith. But he wouldn't have been as productive without a dominant O-line. All-Pro tackle Tyron Smith is what my colleague Bucky Brooks would call a dancing bear (or a big guy with smooth feet). These two could make cases for being in the top 10, as could Gronk. The tight end is a defensive coordinator's nightmare and wreaks havoc on anyone who attempts to defend him.