49. Harrison Smith, FS, Minnesota Vikings (Last year: 10th)
Harrison Smith is still one of the best safeties in the league. He can lay the wood when needed but his ball skills have always been welcomed. The Vikings have a true leader in Smith as he’s started 98 of the 99 games he’s played in. Smith has 20 career interceptions that have gone for four touchdowns, 12 sacks, four forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries and 566 tackles. It’s been a very impressive career thus far and Smith has plenty of football snaps left in the tank.
48. William Jackson III, CB, Cincinnati Bengals (Last year: 78th)
The former first-round pick out of Houston missed his valuable rookie season due to a season-ending injury. However, William Jackson III came right back the following year and evolved into one the best corners in the NFL. At 26 years old Jackson has become one of the toughest corners to get by. Jackson has racked up 27 pass breakups over just the last two seasons alone. In his true year three, Jackson will look to take the next step.
47. DeForest Buckner, DT, San Francisco 49ers (Last year: 54th)
DeForest Buckner is one of the best defensive tackles in football and this year, he broke out and reached another level. For some reason, the way the DTR 100 list worked out Buckner didn’t move up as much as I wanted to put him. However, he’s worthy of flying up the list next year if he continues the pace he’s on. What was so important for Buckner’s play was his advancement as a pass rusher this year. Buckner racked up 12 sacks which were a career-high and more than the nine he had combined the previous two years of his career. We always knew the athlete Buckner was but he’s finally putting it all together and that’s a sight for 49ers fans to see and the rest of the NFL to worry about.
46. Calais Campbell, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars (Last year: 25th)
Calais Campbell always had the talent and was still a consistent player with the Arizona Cardinals. However, in the last two years since signing a contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Campbell has ascended into one of the league’s fiercest pass rushers. In nine years with the Cardinals, Campbell had 56.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles. In just two years with Jacksonville, Campbell has amassed 25 sacks and four forced fumbles. He’s turning 33-years-old soon, but nothing is stopping Campbell who has seemingly gotten better with age.
45. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (Last year: NR)
Tyreek Hill is one of the game’s most potent weapons, and his quarterback might be the most dynamic offensive player the league has seen in quite some time. Hill has already amassed 3,000-plus yards, 25 touchdowns, and 223 receptions. Hill’s impact on the Chiefs offense makes him one of the most valuable players in the entire league. With the speed Hill possesses, there just aren’t many that would be able to try and cover him.
44. Deion Jones, ILB, Atlanta Falcons (Last year: 53rd)
The new age ultra-athletic linebacker and LSU product Deion Jones is ready to go in year four. The 24-year-old unfortunately only played six games last season due to injury, and it held back another fantastic season from Jones. Jones has racked up eight interceptions and has taken three of them back to the house for touchdowns. Jones has also accumulated 27 pass breakups and 297 tackles.
43. Darius Slay, CB, Detroit Lions (Last year: 61st)
Darius Slay has had another outstanding career. The 28-year-old has brought in 17 interceptions, 91 pass breakups and 301 tackles during his 89 games played and 80 games started. Slay has been a terror to throw on and it shows with the number of pass breakups he has accumulated in a short while.
42. Terron Armstead, LT, New Orleans Saints (Last year: NR)
The 28-year-old Arkansas Pine-Bluff product has never played an entire season due to health but when he plays he’s as stone wall as it gets. In 56 starts Terron Armstead has been dominant as Drew Brees’ blindside protector .
41. Damon “Snacks” Harrison, NT, New York Giants (Last year: 34th)
The run-stuffing king Damon “Snacks” Harrison was not done joining the DTR 100 list. Harrison is 30 years old and has put together a resume of 436 career tackles, nine sacks and 34 tackles for a loss between three teams, the New York Jets, New York Giants and Detroit Lions,
40. Jadeveon Clowney, OLB, Houston Texans (Last year: 58th)
Jadeveon Clowney is a stout pass disruptor. He’s brought home 205 tackles, 29 sacks, two touchdowns, four forced fumbles, six fumbles and 11 pass breakups to his credit. In his career, Clowney has never once had double-digit sacks, but that doesn’t matter with the way he is able to play the run and rush the passer. Clowney may not be in Houston much longer and even so Clowney is a very talented player that would be focused on getting better.