Over the past several days, the NFL Network has rolled out its list of the top 100 players in the league, and two Michigan players were included in that select group with Tom Brady at No. 14 and Frank Clark at No. 95 overall.
Over the past several years, Brady has elevated himself from discussions of the best active players in the game to debates of the greatest players of all time due to his resilience and ability to stay effective in an ever-changing league. When other veteran quarterbacks fall off a cliff, Brady reinvents the wheel and continues to produce at a high level.
Now, Brady will face his largest challenge in over a decade as he adjusts to a Tampa Bay team that will not feature head coach Bill Belichick on the sidelines. However, that is the type of change that appears to have motivated Brady to prove that his success is the product of his hard work and not the result of a brilliant overall scheme. Brady will also have the luxury in throwing to two dominant wide receivers in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans while also welcoming the return of his longtime tight end, Rob Gronkowski.
Here is what the NFL Network had to say about the new Buccaneers' signal caller:
Tom Brady – Quarterback – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Thrice the No. 1 name on this list, Brady’s final season in New England saw No. 12 take No. 14. It’s a stumble of eight spots from last year’s ranking and his lowest rating since The Top 100’s genesis in 2011. Nonetheless, it’s still telling how highly regarded the GOAT remains even in the shadows of a “down” season. Eclipsing 4,000 yards passing for the third straight campaign and an astounding 11th time in his career, Brady’s play captained the Patriots to an 11th consecutive AFC East crown. Likewise, it was 11 straight seasons in which Brady posted double-digit wins as a starting QB. And that’s what Brady’s done better than any player in history: Win. Tampa Bay’s banking on that continuing.
Moving to the only other Wolverine on the list, Clark is one of the most productive defensive lineman to come out of Michigan in recent memory. Through five seasons in the NFL, Clark has logged 43 sacks, which includes two double-digit sack campaigns already. After establishing himself as a force along the D-Line in Seattle, Clark continued to shine during the postseason after transitioning to the Kansas City Chiefs. He was an integral piece to the Chiefs' playoff success, and he now has a Super Bowl ring to show for his efforts.
Frank Clark – Defensive End – Kansas City Chiefs
Clark dropped 11 spots from last year, but his presence is monumental for the defending Super Bowl champions. The Chiefs acquired Clark from Seattle last offseason, and the veteran delivered in the playoffs, totaling 5.0 sacks, five tackles-for-loss, and seven QB hits in three games.
Players that missed the cut
After Brady and Clark, Tennessee Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan has the best case of any Michigan product to make the list. Lewan was named to the Pro Bowl after each season from 2016-2018 but was ineligible for the 2019 Pro Bowl after incurring a four-game suspension. However, Lewan has developed a reputation as one of the upper echelon blindside blockers in the game, and he has a case to make the tail end of the top 100 list.
Here is a list of Michigan players currently in the NFL according to OurLads.com: Mason Cole, Ben Bredeson, Michael Schofield, Ryan Glasgow, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Jourdan Lewis, Sean McKeon, Jake Butt, Graham Glasgow, Devin Funchess, Rashan Gary, Jon Runyan, Karan Higdon, Jordan Glasgow, Brandon Watson, Jarrod Wilson, Taco Charlton, Frank Clark, Mike Danna, Chad Henne, Lavert Hill, David Long, Maurice Hurst, Erik Magnuson, Ben Gedeon, Josh Metellus, Michael Onwenu, Josh Uche, Chase Winovich, Patrick Omameh, Cesar Ruiz, Jabrill Peppers, Ben Braden, Jehu Chesson, Brandon Graham, Devin Bush Jr., Amara Darboh, Zach Gentry, Tyree Kinnel, Chris Wormley, Delano Hill, Bryan Mone, Tom Brady, Taylor Lewan and Khaleke Hudson.
Do you think Lewan was wrongfully snubbed by not making the list? Who else would you consider as a top 100 player from Michigan? Let us know!