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theScore's Top 100 NFL Players of 2014: 50-31

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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


Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos
101 receptions, 1,404 yards, 9 TD

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
41 28 77 59

Sanders made the best decision of his career by signing with Denver in the offseason. He enjoyed a career year with the Broncos, recording 101 catches for 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns. The 27-year-old developed into a perfect intermediate option for Peyton Manning and excelled primarily against single coverage throughout the season. - Arun Srinivasan

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers
4,286 passing yards, 31 touchdowns

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
52 44 32 60

Rivers was having an MVP-caliber season before a back injury tempered his production. Even with a bulging disc in his back, Rivers weathered five starting centers and the team's 30th-ranked rushing offense to finish fourth in the league in completion percentage and eighth in passing yards and passing touchdowns. - Gino Bottero

Joe Thomas, LT, Browns
Rated 3rd among offensive tackles by PFF

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
42 86 38 20

Quietly one of the NFL’s best and most consistent players, Thomas turned in yet another monster season on yet another sub par Browns team. Thomas won’t toot his own horn, so we’ll let his numbers do the talking: two sacks and three quarterback hits surrendered in 1,149 snaps. Oh, and a fifth selection as a first-team All-Pro. - David P. Woods

Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions
71 receptions, 1,077 yards, 8 TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
49 61 25 50

Injuries saw Johnson struggle to produce at the level he's grown accustomed to throughout the second month of the season, but other than that, he was his usual dominant self. Other receivers around the league may have put up more impressive stat totals, but you can bet that Johnson still scares defenses as much as any player. - Dan Wilkins

Drew Brees, QB, Saints
4,952 passing yards, 33 passing TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
58 58 28 35

The Saints were a major disappointment, but Brees turned in another very strong season. The 35-year-old graded out as Pro Football Focus's most accurate quarterback en route to 33 touchdowns and an NFL-leading 4,952 yards passing. Brees' numbers are even more impressive considering Jimmy Graham was hobbled for most of the season and Brandin Cooks went on IR after Week 11. - David P. Woods

Fletcher Cox, DT, Eagles
61 tackles, 4 sacks, 3 FRs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
34 71 42 28

Cox graded out positively as a pass rusher, but where he made his biggest impact was in the run game. Only the Jets’ dominant ends were better against opposing rushers in 2014. Chip Kelly called Cox unblockable and the Eagles’ MVP when asked about his Pro Bowl snub. He won’t be snubbed next year. - David P. Woods

Sheldon Richardson, DT, Jets
66 tackles, 8 sacks

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
45 59 33 37

If there was one reason to watch the Jets play this year, it was to see Richardson in action. In just his second NFL season, he proved himself as one of the game's most well-rounded interior defensive linemen, making an impact on every down. Though he was inexplicably left off the Pro Bowl roster, Richardson will be a regular on that team for a long time to come. - Dan Wilkins

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts
82 receptions, 1,345 yards, 7 TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
37 33 59 44

Hilton has become one of the league’s most dangerous downfield weapons, averaging 16.4 yards per reception. He did everything the Colts’ offense asked of him, and possesses an underrated ability to fend off defenders in the red zone. The third-year pro accounted for 27 percent of the Colts’ passing offense. - Arun Srinivasan

Andrew Whitworth, LT, Bengals
Rated 2nd among offensive tackles by PFF

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
21 31 71 48

Whitworth allowed just nine quarterback disruptions and zero sacks this season. Comically low numbers given the man he was protecting is Andy Dalton. Some at his position allowed more than that in a single game. Whitworth graded out as the No. 2 offensive tackle according to Pro Football Focus. - Gino Bottero

Aaron Donald, DT, Rams
47 tackles, 9 sacks, 2 FFs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
20 51 72 27

It was clear that Donald, the No. 13 selection out of Pitt, would be a force at his position. It was just surprising how quickly he was able to excel. Donald finished the year as the top-rated player at his position according to Pro Football Focus - not among rookies, but all defensive tackles. - Gino Bottero

Matt Forte, RB, Bears
1,846 scrimmage yards, 102 receptions, 10 total TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
36 23 56 54

Forte’s 102 receptions are the most by a running back in league history. The Bears’ star caught four touchdown passes, while rushing for 1,038 yards and six touchdowns. Forte is one of the most versatile offensive weapons in the league and flew under the radar due to Chicago’s 5-11 record. - Arun Srinivasan

Marcell Dareus, DT, Bills
48 tackles, 10 sacks

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
47 29 35 55

Dareus shook off questions about his maturity to become the NFL’s best defensive tackle in 2014, with his 10 sacks leading all players at his position. Dareus was even better in the run game, rated as the best run-stopping defensive tackle by Pro Football Focus. The 25-year-old exceeded the high expectations placed on him when he was selected third overall in 2011. - Arun Srinivasan

Zack Martin, G, Cowboys
Rated 7th among guard by PFF

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
26 46 67 26

Martin was the final first-round piece needed by the Cowboys to move into the upper echelon of offensive lines. After making more starts at Notre Dame than any offensive lineman in school history, Martin hit the ground running in Dallas, becoming the first rookie lineman named to the Pro Bowl in franchise history. - Gino Bottero

Jason Peters, LT, Eagles
Rated 1st among offensive tackles by PFF

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
33 65 44 19

Peters is the rare tackle who can make a strong claim to being both the best pass blocker and best run blocker at his position. More to the point, Peters is a rare athlete. The converted tight end balances remarkable speed and agility with impressive raw power in his massive 6-foot-4, 328-pound frame. He's the most important player on what might be the league’s best offensive line. - David P. Woods

Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers
1,566 scrimmage yards, 13 total TDs

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
40 40 27 53

It's the high-powered passing attack that carries the Packers' offense, but the presence of Lacy has given the unit some much-needed balance. The powerful second-year back was once again impressive as a runner, and getting more involved as a receiver out of the backfield saw him find the end zone a total of 13 times over the course of the regular season. - Dan Wilkins

Khalil Mack, LB, Raiders
75 tackles, 4 sacks

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
54 38 45 22

It's not too often that a rookie can so quickly emerge as one of the top players at his position, but Mack was able to do just that in his first season. While his sheer dominance against the run is what stands out most, he was also a highly productive pass rusher coming off the edge. Looking back, the Raiders are extremely fortunate Mack was available to select at fifth-overall, as he easily could have been the first player off the board. - Dan Wilkins

Bobby Wagner, LB, Seahawks
104 tackles, 2 sacks

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
17 84 41 16

The NFL's most explosive linebacker has made a habit of teleporting through offensive lines and meeting the ball carrier in the backfield. At least, that's what it must feel like for opposing offenses. Wagner's read-and-react skills are plus and his closing speed is unfair. The 24-year-old missed five games with turf toe and the Seahawks really felt his loss. Upon his return, the Seahawks finished the season 5-0 and allowed only 33 total points. That’s the kind of impact he has. - David P. Woods

Vontae Davis, CB, Colts
42 tackles, 4 INTs, 19 PD

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
35 41 43 38

Spending the vast majority of his time lining up at the right cornerback spot, Davis kept that side locked down, limiting opposing passers to a 38.8 rating when they threw his way. Among cornerbacks that didn't allow a touchdown this season, Davis had the most interceptions. In a Week 4 matchup with the Tennessee Titans, he played 43-of-49 snaps and wasn't thrown at a single time. - Gino Bottero

Gerald McCoy, DT, Buccaneers
35 tackles, 8.5 sacks

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
43 53 26 34

For as much attention as edge rushers get, McCoy is example No. 1 of just how disruptive a strong interior rush can be. While his 8.5 sacks in 13 games are impressive enough, he was in the opponent's backfield far more often than such a stat could ever indicate. With the Bucs already having locked him up to a seven-year deal, they've got a franchise cornerstone in place on the defensive front long term. - Dan Wilkins

DeAndre Levy, LB, Lions
151 tackles, 2.5 sacks, INT

Bottero Srinivasan Wilkins Woods
38 24 58 33

Perennially underrated for so long, Levy was finally recognized as a legitimate star in 2014. He was the Lions’ best defensive player with due apologies to Ndamukong Suh, recording a whopping 151 tackles. The sixth-year-pro has the rare ability to track down running backs and tight ends in coverage and is an invaluable piece in Detroit. - Arun Srinivasan

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