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theScore's Top 100 NFL Players of 2014: 70-51

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

theScore's Top 100 NFL Players of 2014


Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers
84 receptions, 1,008 yards, 6 TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
60 70 98 52

In his eighth pro season, Olsen recorded career highs in receptions and receiving yards in 2014, earning his first Pro Bowl nod. Rob Gronkowski was the only other tight end to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark. - Gino Bottero

Jamie Collins, LB, Patriots
115 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 INTs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
67 67 - 43

Collins is the kind of player Bill Belichick dreams about at night: an athletic freak who can be employed as a weapon in all facets of the game. Collins led his team in tackles, was its most efficient pass rusher, forced six turnovers and blocked a kick, all while providing reliable pass coverage. He’s an ascending superstar. - David P. Woods

Michael Bennett, DE, Seahawks
38 tackles, 7 sacks

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
73 75 62 65

NFL teams had an opportunity to pry Bennett away from the Seahawks in free agency last year, and, in hindsight, they've got to be regretting not taking advantage. The 29-year-old followed up the best season of his career with one just as impressive, dominating against the run and pressuring the pocket far more consistently than even his sack total indicates. - Dan Wilkins

Dont'a Hightower, LB, Patriots
89 tackles, 6 sacks

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
64 79 88 40

Hightower was the jack-of-all-trades for the Patriots’ defense, being used at left and right inside linebacker interchangeably. He was always a good run-stopper but developed into a star in coverage during the 2014 campaign. Recording six sacks in 12 games, the Patriots have quietly cultivated one of the most versatile linebackers in the league. - Arun Srinivasan

Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers
68 receptions, 1,051 yards, 12 TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
69 63 70 64

The rookie out of Texas A&M needed only one season to overtake Vincent Jackson as the go-to guy in the Buccaneers' passing offense. Evans finished second among rookies in receiving yards and tied for the rookie lead in touchdown receptions. - Gino Bottero

Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Jets
56 tackles, 6 sacks

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
50 - 68 45

If not for the exceptional play of Wilkerson and teammate Sheldon Richardson, how bad might the Jets have been this season? As usual, Wilkerson was a monster in run defense. Only Calais Campbell registered more of what Pro Football Focus defines as “stops” per running play. Wilkerson’s seven sacks and 18 hurries weren't too shabby, either. - David P. Woods

Tashaun Gipson, S, Browns
52 tackles, 6 INTs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
68 43 69 80

While a knee injury cost him the final five games of the season, Gipson's six interceptions stood as the second-best mark in the league. Gipson allowed a 41.9 passer rating when targeted, and became the Browns' first undrafted defensive player since 1991 to earn a Pro Bowl selection. - Gino Bottero

LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles
1,319 rushing yards, 5 TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
63 48 49 -

Despite the Eagles struggling through some offensive line issues for the first few weeks of the season, McCoy still managed to finish with the second-highest yardage total of his career. He continues to be one of the game's most dangerous threats at the running back position and is the kind of player defenses have to center their game plan around. - Dan Wilkins

Justin Forsett, RB, Ravens
1,266 yards, 8 TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
66 32 87 75

Forsett was one of the breakout players of the season, rushing for career highs in yards and touchdowns. Forsett made the most of his opportunity as Baltimore's feature back, using an effective change-of-pace style to gash defenses. The 29-year-old is in line for a hefty pay increase after his career year. - Arun Srinivasan

Travis Frederick, C, Cowboys
Rated 2nd among centers by PFF

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
56 74 81 58

The NFL’s best run-blocking center spent his fall months grading the road for running back DeMarco Murray to cruise along. Remember saying “who?” when the Cowboys made Frederick a surprise first-round pick in 2013? They knew what they were doing. - David P. Woods

Harrison Smith, S, Vikings
93 tackles, 3 sacks, 5 INTs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
46 95 60 57

Smith's ability to make plays all over the field is what makes him special. He stepped up his game in a big way in pass defense, while continuing to grade out as elite when it comes to stopping the run. He was the only player in the NFL this season to have at least three interceptions and three sacks. - Gino Bottero

Nick Mangold, C, Jets
Rated 1st among centers by PFF

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
59 - 46 51

Mangold was once again the NFL's best center in 2014, giving the Jets a consistent force in the middle of the offensive line. New York's running game was a bright spot, finishing third in average rushing yards, and a lot of the credit for that can go to the captain of that offensive front. - Dan Wilkins

Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
4,694 passing yards, 28 TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
92 35 65 56

Because of Atlanta's 6-10 record, Ryan will unfairly be pointed to as a scapegoat. Ryan had a 2:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, and kept the Falcons in most games despite a horrific defense. The 29-year-old throws one of the best deep balls in the game, and is poised to lead the Falcons back to playoff contention. - Arun Srinivasan

Randall Cobb, WR, Packers
91 receptions, 1,287 yards, 12 TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
76 47 48 66

Cobb's ability to post gaudy stats in an offense that spreads the ball around with the best of them is all anyone needs to know. Playing a full season after missing all but six games in 2013, Cobb's ability to attack the middle of the field was a key factor in the Packers' passing attack performing at the level it did. Green Bay has to find a way to re-sign him before he hits the open market. - Dan Wilkins

Elvis Dumervil, LB, Ravens
38 tackles, 17 sacks, 2 FFs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
70 64 51 46

The Ravens continued to reap the rewards of the Broncos' much-publicized fax snafu, as Dumervil terrorized opposing offensive tackles, posting a franchise record in sacks. With base salaries of $4 million in 2015-16, he is due for a big raise. - David P. Woods

Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles
85 receptions, 1,318 yards, 10 TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
53 37 57 81

In his first year back from an ACL injury which cost him the entire 2013 season, Maclin was thrust into the lead role in the Eagles' passing attack following DeSean Jackson's departure. He responded by posting career highs in receptions and receiving yards, and was eventually selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career. - Gino Bottero

Eric Weddle, S, Chargers
114 tackles, INT, 2 FFs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
55 85 39 39

When watching the Chargers' defense, the first thing one notices is Weddle flying all over the field. Whether it's making plays in coverage or providing run support, he's absolutely everywhere. After leading the team with an incredible 114 tackles, Weddle was appropriately voted a first-team All-Pro for the second time in his career. - Dan Wilkins

Mario Williams, DE, Bills
42 tackles, 14.5 sacks, 2 FFs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
62 45 47 63

Alongside Marcell Dareus, Williams was one of the focal points of a Bills defense that led the league with 54 sacks. Aside from J.J. Watt, there isn’t a more complete pass rusher in the NFL, with Williams using a wide array of moves to baffle offensive tackles. Capping off a terrific series of games, Williams was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month for November. - Arun Srinivasan

Tyron Smith, LT, Cowboys
Rated 6th among offensive tackles by PFF

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
44 78 53 41

The NFL’s highest paid left tackle played up to the standards set by his lofty salary. In Smith’s 16 starts, he allowed only two sacks and eight quarterback hits - impressive numbers considering Tony Romo’s penchant for holding onto the ball too long. Smith was also a major part of the Cowboys’ dominating run game. Money well spent. - David P. Woods

Arian Foster, RB, Texans
1,573 scrimmage yards, 13 total TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
51 26 37 100

Dealing with a myriad of injuries, Foster continues to be the model of consistency at running back. In 13 games, he ran for 1,246 yards and eight touchdowns. His resurgent campaign helped Houston improve from a two-win team in 2013 to a nine-win squad in 2014, with his power running game aiding Houston's eighth-best time of possession. - Arun Srinivasan

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