I make it my goal in life to not get heated over lists. Rankings are subjective, and the rankers who rank -- like myself, Mr. Schein Nine! -- are just expressing their own personal opinions. No reason to completely blow a gasket over someone else's takes.
Having said that, there are exceptions to every rule. And in the wake of NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2020 -- the annual exercise where the league's players rank themselves -- my blood pressure is rising.
Carson Wentz's total omission from the list is inexcusable. Guy's a bona fide star -- it's insane to not rank him among the NFL's top 100 players. And Quenton Nelson is way too low at No. 29. But the biggest insult of all came on Wednesday night, when the top 10 was revealed.
The NFL players ranked three guys ahead of Patrick Mahomes. THREE!
There's steam coming out of my ears!
Fortunately, I have an annual outlet for catharsis on this front. Every year, my editors ask me to take the players' top 10 ... and re-rank 'em!
So, just to review, here is what the players came up with:
10) Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
9) Stephon Gilmore, CB, New England Patriots
8) DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arizona Cardinals
7) George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers
6) Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
5) Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
4) Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
3) Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams
2) Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
1) Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
Woof. Not to fret, though -- I'm here to correct the record! Allow me to take those 10 names and place them in the correct order. You're welcome.
Full disclosure: When it came to casting my AP ballot last awards season, I voted for Chandler Jones as Defensive Player of the Year. Now, I understand why Gilmore ultimately took home the hardware: He's a fantastic cornerback -- and was the best player on a defense that ranked No. 1 in points and yards allowed.
All that said, I don't think there's that much separating Gilmore from Buffalo's Tre'Davious White in the CB pecking order. (Imagine if the Bills still had Gilmore. Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier with a CB duo of White and Gilmore? Good luck.)
King Henry is special. And I love that the Titans paid him this offseason. He's the straw that stirs the drink for Mike Vrabel. Henry makes this entire team go.
Henry's a workhorse, having led the NFL with 303 carries during the 2019 regular season and then adding 83 more totes in three playoff games. He's a true star, having just posted league highs in rushing yards (1,540) and touchdowns (16). Henry is an absolute bruiser who can take it the distance. And talking to him earlier this year on my SiriusXM Radio show, "Schein on Sports," it's clear that he's very loyal to the Titans and truly wants to bring Nashville its first Lombardi Trophy.
I'm thrilled Kittle made the top 10. He's one of my favorite players to watch and appreciate. He's a ballplayer's ballplayer -- and the best tight end in football, as a gamebreaking receiver and backbreaking blocker. Kyle Shanahan uses Kittle in perfect fashion.
The ratings mavens over at Pro Football Focus just gave Kittle the highest single-season grade they've ever handed out to a tight end, ranking him as the No. 1 overall player from the 2019 season.
Hopkins has been the second-best receiver in the league -- behind only Michael Thomas -- for the last two years. He has fly-paper hands and a knack for coming up big in the biggest moments.
I will miss the connection with Deshaun Watson -- another ultra-clutch performer -- but cannot wait to see what's next with Kyler Murray. Thinking about Hopkins in Kliff Kingsbury's offense is dreamy (for fans of the Cardinals) and scary (for fans of the other 31 teams).
I love Run-CMC. He's the face of the Panthers, especially now that Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly aren't suiting up for Carolina anymore. And the fact that he became the third member of the 1,000/1,000 club last season is staggering when you consider the supporting cast he had around him. When Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig accomplished the feat, their offenses ranked first and second, respectively, in total yards. The 2019 Panthers ranked 19th. Christian McCaffrey was a one-man show.
This year, with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback and Joe Brady calling the plays, McCaffrey will be even more dominant. Can you imagine the running back lined up in the slot on certain plays? I won't be surprised if he eclipses 1,500 rushing yards, 1,000 receiving yards and 20 total touchdowns. McCaffrey is a real-life superhero. He can do anything.
He's the best receiver in the NFL during a golden age at the position. In 2019, he became just the second wideout ever to win the Offensive Player of the Year award, joining Jerry Rice. He conquered Marvin Harrison's single-season record for receptions with 149, posting 10 100-yard games along the way. He's the most productive, game-changing wideout in football today.
And in 2020, I'm excited to see what Thomas can do with a viable threat across from him in Emmanuel Sanders. NFL secondaries failed to stop him when he was all they had to concentrate on. Now what?
Russ is a magician. And a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He has an unreal knack for making big plays when it matters most -- and carrying the Seahawks beyond what their total talent should be able to accomplish. Seattle doesn't have a great line or a Pro Bowl running back. With Wilson, it doesn't matter. He makes the 'Hawks Super Bowl contenders every year.
Oh, and did I mention that Wilson has started all 16 games in each of his eight NFL seasons? Including the playoffs, Mr. Reliable's 95-47-1 as a pro quarterback. Not bad for a third-round pick.
Lamar was rightly the unanimous NFL MVP last season. I was honored to cast my AP vote for him. The guy paced the league with 36 touchdown passes and shattered Michael Vick's single-season QB record with 1,206 rushing yards, leading the Ravens to an NFL-best 14-2 record.
Jackson's an electric runner, smooth thrower and brilliant decision-maker. He's just a winner. And spoiler alert: He's only getting started. Jackson's going to be even better as a deep-ball thrower in 2020. Frightening.
Donald is the best non-quarterback in the NFL bar none. Sure, he wasn't Defensive Player of the Year in 2019, as he had been in the previous two seasons. But he still enjoyed a monster season with 12.5 sacks, 20 tackles for loss and 24 QB hits. Donald has been a Pro Bowler in all six of his NFL campaigns, earning first-team All-Pro honors in five of them.
This guy's a monster getting to the quarterback and stopping the run, all while commanding the attention of numerous offensive linemen. He's brilliant and breathtaking. And it isn't often you describe a defensive tackle that way.
Of course. Did you expect anyone else? How could you expect anyone else. He's the best player in the NFL. He's the best show in sports. And now he has a half-a-billion-dollar contract to his name.
I can remind you of the 50/5,000 MVP campaign of 2018, his first year as an NFL starter. I can remind you that he just led the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl title in 50 years, erasing double-digit deficits in all three playoff games and taking home Super Bowl LIV honors. But seriously, just watch this cat play and you'll see it: He's as special as can be. Related question: Do NFL players watch NFL games? That No. 4 ranking is a travesty.