With the latest release of the NFL Top 100 players for 2020 list, the players voted on the best of the best names in the sport. New York sports did not exactly shine, with Saquon Barkley being the only New York football player to be deemed worthy by his peers to make the list at all, ranking him at 31.
The Giants and Jets both had top 10 draft positions back in April’s draft, which both teams used to bolster the offense and defense with young talent. With the future of football in 2020 being questionable at this particular moment in time, we can only look forward to the future. Here are five players that have the potential to break into the Top 100 list for 2021:
QB Daniel Jones
Throughout the twilight of Eli Manning’s career, the selection of a franchise quarterback became inevitable. Drafted at sixth overall in 2019, Daniel Jones has given hope and optimism to the team and its fanbase. Jones silenced all of the naysayers that called him overdrafted, not a franchise quarterback or not an “elite prospect” in 2019. If you need more confirmation that Jones has the potential to be a star in the NFL, just go back to his debut week three against the Buccaneers. Bucs up 28-10 at halftime, Jones finishes the game with 336 yards going 23-36 including four total TD’s including the go-ahead rushing score on fourth and goal with 1:16 remaining in the game.
The former Duke QB is a mobile, gunslinging signal caller who absolutely has top 100 potential. With the selection of Georgia OT Andrew Thomas fourth overall in the 2020 Draft, Jones will see extra protection, allowing him two produce more efficiently. If Jones can manage to clean up the fumbling issue, we should see him take a huge step forward in 2020.
WR Darius Slayton
Slayton was looking like the steal of the draft, at least offensively. A fifth round pick, Slayton and Jones developed a connection that looks like the beginning a very mutually beneficial relationship. In 14 games he racked up 48 receptions for 740 yards including eight touchdowns. He averaged 8.8 yards per target and a 57.1% catch rate.
Competing with a new offensive scheme, coordinator and head coach, the Giants are poised for a major shift on offense. Jason Garrett at OC opens up a whole new field of opportunities for the offense. With a full year behind him and Jones going into year two, keep an eye out for Slayton when could sneak into the Top 100 in his sophomore campaign.
S Xavier McKinney
The first rookie on this list, the Giants managed to snag the Alabama ball hawk safety in the second round. Draft Analyst Charlie Casserly praised the safety in a tweet in May: “Xavier McKinney DS @Giants 2nd rd pick. A complete Safety. Can play FS, SS & LB on 3rd down. Good instincts. Plays the run and can cover m/m. I had him rated in the 1st rd.”
The emergence of elite safety talent in this league has become widespread. The latest deal for Jamal Adams could have very well reset the market for the position. Many analysts likened McKinney’s potential to that of fellow Crimson Tide safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who has established himself as a top five player at the position. McKinney and Jabrill Peppers creates one of the most potentially dynamic safety duos in the league. McKinney is poised to be the new leader of that defense in an offensively loaded division.
TE Evan Engram
It seems like every year Engram is poised to have his “breakout year.” A career so far that has been plagued by injuries, Engram’s progress has been hindered by his struggles to stay on the field. A waning Eli Manning and a putrid offensive line as well as subpar coaching, Engram has been through more than what most players endure in his three year tenure with the Giants.
Nevertheless, a healthy Evan Engram is one of the most electrifying and athletic tight ends in the league. Quick speed and elite hands make Engram an absolute force in the receiving game. In just 34 games, he’s racked up 153 receptions, 1,766 yards and 12 touchdowns. If he manages to stay healthy and remain on the field, Engram is a huge piece of the offense, and someone who can explode at a moments notice.
RB Saquon Barkley (Will move up on the list)
Making the list at 31 this year, there is zero chance he will fall out of the top 100 for 2021, barring injury (knock on wood). Barkley’s success depends on factors similar to Daniel Jones. A revamped offensive line, new offensive scheme and completely new coaching staff are all things that are going to make or break the success of the team.
We can go on and on listing the reasons why Barkley will move up on the list and cement himself as the best running back in football. Andrew Thomas will open up holes and clear lanes for Barkley, as well as give Jones more time to throw him the ball, as we all know his effectiveness as a pass catcher. A full 16 game season for Saquon will easily open up the opportunity for a 2,000+ scrimmage yards season.
Saying it right now: Saquon Barkley will crack the top 15 players list for 2021. You heard it here first. Hopefully some of his teammates will join him on the list as well.
Check out fellow ESM writer Geoff Magliocchetti’s article on Jets who can crack the Top 100 for 2021!: https://empiresportsmedia.com/new-york-giants/five-new-york-jets-who-could-make-the-leap-into-the-top-100-players-of-2021/