89. Grady Jarrett, DT, Atlanta Falcons (Last year: NR)
The former Clemson product just signed a four-year $68 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons to stay with the team that drafted him. Grady Jarrett was definitely worth every penny. The 26-year-old talent has racked up 179 tackles and 10 sacks just over the last two years combined. One can’t forget what Jarrett did in the Super Bowl either. The talented defensive tackle continues to get better in the NFL each year.
88. Michael Pierce, NT, Baltimore Ravens (Last year: NR)
Michael Pierce has been a breath of fresh air for the Baltimore Ravens. He’s one of the best run-stopping defensive linemen in the game and was huge for the defense last year. However, recently in June, Pierce showed up entirely out of shape and was held out of practice because of it. Pierce just recently weighed in and ended up trimming down 30 pounds lighter. Pierce was a restricted free agent this past year and is expected to be a key piece for the Ravens for a long time. One would think Pierce could be on his way up the DTR 100 list again next season.
87. Earl Thomas, FS, Baltimore Ravens (Last year: 70th)
Earl Thomas has officially hit that ugly number 30 years of age. Once an athlete hits that number, teams and fans just seem to look at whoever it is differently. Thomas is one of the best safeties in the game, but he is coming off a broken leg that ended his 2018 campaign last year. The former Seattle Seahawk signed a big-money deal with the Ravens to replace former starter, Eric Weddle. It might be confusing to some as to why Thomas wasn’t an omission with the injury. My answer, he’s probably a guaranteed top-40 NFL player without the injury. He simply didn’t need an omission from the DTR 100.
86. Stephon Gilmore, CB, New England Patriots (Last year: NR)
I’ve been very hard on Stephon Gilmore over the years. He just never was that highly-touted cornerback many expected him to be in Buffalo. That, however, has gone by the wayside. Since signing with the New England Patriots, Gilmore has turned into one of the best corners in the league. The Patriot miracle? Perhaps. However, Gilmore was always capable of this level of play, and it looks like he fits the New England defense perfectly.
85. Desmond King, CB, Los Angeles Chargers (Last year: NR)
The former Iowa Hawkeye defensive back can really do it all. He can return, he can shut you down in man coverage, he can play zone, he can take an interception to the house, he covers the boundary, the slot or even plays safety. He really can do it all. Desmond King even has four career sacks. In my opinion, King is already one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and he will continue to fly up this list as the years go on if he continues to display this consistency.
84. Xavien Howard, CB, Miami Dolphins (Last year: NR)
The 26-year-old Baylor product has become the face of the Miami Dolphins. The former 2016 NFL second-round pick ascended into one of the best in 2018. Howard received a contract extension this offseason and has brought plenty of excitement to Miami. Over the last two years alone, Howard has amassed 11 interceptions, proving he’s to be one of the most feared cornerbacks in football.
83. A.J. Bouye, CB, Houston Texans (Last year: 18th)
Why the fall from grace for Bouye? His 2018 season along with the Jacksonville Jaguars was monumentally disappointing. After one year removed from losing a heartbreaker in the AFC title game, the Jaguars were a complete 180 and ended up being the worst team in the division. Bouye’s fall here though is more so admitting I had ranked him too high last year. He’s a top 100 NFL player, he’s arguably a top ten cornerback but being placed in the top 20 simply is too much for him. Bouye went from hauling in six interceptions for the Jags last year to only reeling in one. The game-breaking and lockdown nature of Bouye was practically missing this year. However, Bouye is still an excellent corner and he will have a bounce-back season.
82. Kenny Clark, NT, Green Bay Packers (Last year: NR)
The 23-year-old out of UCLA has made his way up the totem pole and would arguably be the best nose tackle in the NFL right now. He’s so talented the Packers just let go of Pro Bowl talent Mike Daniels to save up enough cap space to be able to extend Clark long-term. Clark, even as a nose tackle has racked up 131 tackles and 10.5 sacks over the last two years. The sky is truly the limit for the man that was once considered a “reach” by many in the 2015 NFL Draft.
81. Mitchell Schwartz, RT, Kansas City Chiefs (Last year: NR)
Mitchell Schwartz went from being known as Geoff Schwartz‘s young brother, to arguably one of the best offensive linemen in all of football. Schwartz through seven seasons, has never missed a game in his NFL career. While in Cleveland he never missed a snap. Now, he’s starting to make people remember his name as he’s done a magnificent job of protecting arguably the most explosive player in the league today.
80. James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (Last year: NR)
James Conner battled Hodgkins Lymphoma and a broken leg to become the ACC’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns. Conner wasn’t a huge part of the offense his rookie year but last year he found his stride. That was of course after Le’Veon Bell basically held out of the entire NFL season. Conner blew up his 2018 NFL campaign with over 1,400 yards from scrimmage and 13 total touchdowns. Conner is most certainly deserving of being on the DTR 100.