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theScore's Top 100 NFL Players of 2014: 100-71

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The Top 100 NFL Players of 2014 were selected by a panel of theScore's NFL Editors including Gino BotteroArun Srinivasan, Dan Wilkins and David P. Woods based on the individual players' performance this past regular season.

theScore's Top 100 NFL Players of 2014


Mychal Kendricks, LB, Eagles
83 tackles, 4 sacks, 3 FFs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
94 - 95 95

Kendricks's contributions may have been overshadowed by the play of some of those around him, but the Cal product continued to improve in his third pro season. While his final numbers don't jump off the page as the result of four missed games, Kendricks continued to show an innate ability to make timely plays. - Gino Bottero

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans
76 receptions, 1,210 yards, 6 TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
93 99 - 91

Hopkins managed 76 catches for over 1,200 yards, including a dominant 238-yard performance in Week 13 that showcased his immense upside, despite quarterback play that was frequently terrible. Overtaking Andre Johnson - the best player in Texans history - as the team’s best pass-catcher wasn't an easy task, but Hopkins accomplished it. - David P. Woods

Lavonte David, LB, Buccaneers
146 tackles, 4 FFs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
89 93 97 -

David wasn't able to replicate the big-play numbers he put up a year ago, but he continued to establish himself as one of the league's premier 4-3 linebackers. He excelled in his role as a tackling machine in the Buccaneers' scheme, finishing third in the league in tackles despite missing two games. - Gino Bottero

Clay Matthews, LB, Packers
61 tackles, 11 sacks, 2 FFs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
95 94 82 -

Making a mid-season transition to inside linebacker to help the Packers' ailing run defense sums up Matthews' value quite well. On the line of scrimmage or off, he's a game changer for a defense that relies on his presence in a big way. - Dan Wilkins

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears
85 receptions, 1,133 yards, 10 TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
- 72 85 -

Jeffery was one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise abysmal Bears season. The 24-year-old recorded 85 catches for 1,133 yards and 10 touchdowns. Jeffery is one of the best receivers at boxing defenders out and stands to improve as his career progresses. - Arun Srinivasan

Chris Borland, LB, 49ers
107 tackles, sack, 2 INTs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
80 - - 87

That the third-round rookie, and not NaVorro Bowman or Patrick Willis, is on this list says a lot about how the 49ers’ season went - and also about the embarrassment of riches they’ll have when all three are healthy. Borland plays like a miniature Luke Kuechly. He’s a tackling machine with impeccable instincts and a nose for the ball. - David P. Woods

Ryan Kerrigan, LB, Redskins
64 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 5 FFs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
- 91 73 -

Kerrigan has always been a consistent pass-rush presence, but he was dominant getting after the quarterback in his fourth year as a pro. The Redskins' defense struggled as a whole throughout the 2014 season and there's no telling where the unit would have been without Kerrigan's contributions up front. - Dan Wilkins

Kam Chancellor, S, Seahawks
78 tackles, INT

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
90 98 75 -

Playing through a few injuries limited Chancellor's effectiveness early in the year, but after getting healthy around the mid-way point of the season, he quickly showed us all why he's considered one of the NFL's best safeties. It's no coincidence that the Seahawks' defense played at a much higher level in the second half. - Dan Wilkins

Jared Veldheer, LT, Cardinals
Rated 9th among offensive tackles by PFF

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
82 - - 76

A team doesn't get to 11-5 and look like a Super Bowl contender with the statuesque Carson Palmer behind center without exemplary offensive line play. Veldheer’s play went largely unnoticed, but the way he transformed the Cardinals’ biggest weakness into a strength deserves acclaim. - David P. Woods

Martellus Bennett, TE, Bears
90 receptions, 916 yards, 6 TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
78 88 96 99

A rare bright spot in an otherwise down season for the Bears, Bennett posted career highs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. He quietly finished first at his position in receptions and third in yards. - Gino Bottero

Thomas Davis, LB, Panthers
100 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 FFs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
86 89 86 96

With a number of players missing time up front, the Panthers' defense could have taken a significant step in the wrong direction if it weren't for Davis. Overcoming the odds after undergoing surgery for a torn ACL three different times, the 10-year veteran continues to play at an incredibly high level in all phases of his game. - Dan Wilkins

Sean Smith, CB, Chiefs
50 tackles, INT, 18 PD

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
81 - - 72

The Chiefs needed someone to emerge from their secondary rotation as a shutdown corner, and Smith was that guy. The sixth-year pro finished the season ranked No. 5 at his position, according to Pro Football Focus. - Gino Bottero

Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
77 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 3 FFs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
- 76 76 -

Posting an impressive 12.5 sacks and playing even better against the run, Pierre-Paul bounced back from two consecutive difficult seasons in a big way. Likely to be a free agent in March, he'll be one of the most highly sought-after players on the open market. - Dan Wilkins

Golden Tate, WR, Lions
99 receptions, 1,331 yards, 4 TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
96 55 - -

Tate emerged as the focal point of the Lions’ offense when Calvin Johnson missed three games due to an ankle injury. The fifth-year pro had the best season of his career, tallying career highs in receptions and yards and drastically improving his route-running. - Arun Srinivasan

Kelvin Beachum, LT, Steelers
Rated 5th among offensive tackles by PFF

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
72 - - 70

An under-reported trend in 2014 was how little Ben Roethlisberger ran inside and out of the pocket. He was able to stay home in part because of the excellent protection afforded to him by his unheralded left tackle. Once a weakness, the Steelers' offensive line is now a strength. - David P. Woods

Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints
85 receptions, 889 yards, 10 TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
77 - 64 -

Despite working through a shoulder injury for the better part of the season, Graham still managed to put up 889 yards and 10 touchdowns from the tight end position. While it may be a bit of a down year by his standards, that's just a testament to how good he really is. - Dan Wilkins

Josh Sitton, LG, Packers
Rated 4th among guards by PFF

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
85 62 94 98

Sitton was the best pass-blocking guard in the NFL, affording Aaron Rodgers plenty of time to operate in the pocket. Sitton fought through a lingering toe injury and did not surrender a sack all year. The two-time Pro Bowler remains the most valuable member of the Packers’ offensive line. - Arun Srinivasan

Joe Staley, LT, 49ers
Rated 4th among offensive tackles by PFF

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
75 - 89 73

Staley finished the year rated inside the top five at his position by Pro Football Focus for the third consecutive season. The eight-year veteran - who hasn't missed a game since 2010 - helped the 49ers rank sixth in the NFL in rushing yards per game. - Gino Bottero

Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens
3,986 passing yards, 27 passing TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
- 57 78 -

Elite or not, there is no longer any doubt that Flacco is one of the NFL's best quarterbacks. His 3,986 yards and 27 touchdowns are both career highs, and he continues to take care of the ball for the offense. All of a sudden, the massive contract he signed in 2013 is looking like quite the bargain. - Dan Wilkins

Connor Barwin, LB, Eagles
64 tackles, 14.5 sacks, 2 FFs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
91 66 79 -

Barwin may have been under the radar, until his preposterous October catapulted him into the spotlight. Barwin quietly developed into one of the NFL’s best pass rushers, recording 14.5 sacks. It wouldn't be a stretch to suggest that Barwin was the anchor of the Eagles’ defense. - Arun Srinivasan

Orlando Scandrick, CB, Cowboys
55 tackles, 2 INTs, 2 FFs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
71 - 93 71

Scandrick returned from suspension to help stabilize a suspect Cowboys secondary, which in turn stabilized a highly suspect Dallas defense. He played both outside and in the slot and made life difficult for the Cowboys’ opponents’ best wide receivers week after week. - David P. Woods

Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals
1,124 rushing yards, 9 rushing TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
65 68 - -

No one ran for more yards (720) over the final seven weeks of the season than the 22-year-old rookie out of LSU. Hill used his rare combination of size and speed to average 5.1 yards per carry - third-best among qualifying rushers. - Gino Bottero

Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
64 receptions, 703 yards, 5 TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
87 - 74 69

Witten’s days as an elite receiving tight end are over (though he can still be counted on for a clutch catch when needed). He makes this list because of his prowess as a blocker. DeMarco Murray owes Witten a huge thanks for helping to open some of the biggest holes any running back saw this season. - David P. Woods

Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions
4,257 passing yards, 22 passing TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
98 34 92 -

Stafford cut his turnover rate significantly in 2014, leading the Lions to their first playoff appearance in three seasons. Stafford played well even while Calvin Johnson missed time to injury, and his distribution patterns became more complex and effective. Once known for merely having a strong arm, Stafford finally realized how best to utilize his immense talent. - Arun Srinivasan

Glover Quin, S, Lions
73 tackles, 7 INTs, 10 PD

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
84 49 - 89

Quin’s second season with the Lions was easily the most productive campaign of his career, as he recorded a league-high seven interceptions. Quin was the anchor of the Lions’ secondary, emerging as a bona fide star in coverage. - Arun Srinivasan

Julius Thomas, TE, Broncos
43 receptions, 489 yards, 12 TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
57 77 - 86

Thomas is the Broncos' Mr. Red Zone. Dating back to last season, he played out a stretch in which he caught 24 touchdown passes in 23 games. Despite not recording a single touchdown reception after Nov. 9, Thomas tied for the league lead at his position in that category. - Gino Bottero

A.J. Green, WR, Bengals
69 receptions, 1,041 yards, 6 TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
97 39 80 -

Green fought valiantly against a foot injury that caused him to post the lowest totals of his career. Green at his worst is still a nightmare for cornerbacks, amassing 69 receptions for 1,041 yards and six touchdowns in 13 games. At 6-foot-4 and 207 pounds, Green boxes out defenders with ease and was one of the league's best downfield threats with 15.1 yards per catch. - Arun Srinivasan

Kelechi Osemele, LG, Ravens
Rated 6th among guards by PFF

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
61 - - 49

The second of the Ravens’ two top-end guards, Osemele allowed a mere six quarterback hurries all season despite Joe Flacco’s near complete immobility. He also graded out as a beastly run blocker and deserves a big chunk of credit for Justin Forsett’s breakout season. - David P. Woods

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
3,127 passing yards, 539 rushing yards, 23 total TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
88 60 91 67

Newton is the primary reason why the Panthers won the NFC South, digging the team out of a six-game losing streak to cap the season off on a four-game winning streak. It wasn’t Newton’s best year statistically, but the 25-year-old played his best football in December to lead the Panthers into the playoffs. - Arun Srinivasan

Terrell Suggs, LB, Ravens
61 tackles, 12 sacks

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
79 81 30 92

A strong defensive front was the key to the Ravens' success this season, and Suggs led the way with his dominance both getting after the quarterback and shutting down the running game. The 32-year-old showed no signs of slowing down and should remain a force on Baltimore's defense for years to come. - Dan Wilkins

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