Despite improving over their 2018 record by one win and despite the emergence of several young, burgeoning stars, the Denver Broncos were not well-represented on NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2020 list. Only two Broncos made the list. To wit:
Von Miller | LB: 26
Jurrell Casey | DL: 71
Miller slipped 16 spots from his No. 10 overall ranking the year prior. Honestly, after failing to reach double-digit sack totals for just the second time in his career, I'm surprised he didn't fall farther in the 2020 rankings.
Chalk it up to the natural effects of going four years without being a factor as a team. The Broncos haven't done anything of note since hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl 50 and perhaps have faded into obscurity in the minds of their NFL peers.
That might go part of the way toward explaining why only two Broncos made a list that is purportedly voted on by the NFL players. But there's really no way to rationalize the omission of a couple of Broncos who actually earned individual accolades in 2019.
Which Broncos have a genuine argument for being snubbed from this year's Top 100?
Justin Simmons | S: Simmons checked in on the 'best of the rest' list at No. 108. This, after earning second-team All-Pro odds for his dominant 2019 campaign and first full season in Vic Fangio's defense.
Courtland Sutton | WR: Sutton played in the Pro Bowl but couldn't garner Top 100 traction among his peers. Maybe it has something to do with the trail of vanquished cornerbacks he posterized in 2019. The omission of Sutton on this list, when he's one of the most dominant young wideouts in the game, is glaring.
Phillip Lindsay | RB: Lindsay checked in at No. 68 on the Top 100 of 2019. Why didn't he make it this year after becoming the first undrafted running back to start his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing campaigns? Your guess is as good as mine. Lindsay's second year didn't feature as many explosive, highlight-reel plays but the consistent production was there. It's still a snub.
For Argument's Sake
Let me be frank, outside of Simmons, Sutton, and Lindsay, no other Broncos deserved to be on the Top 100 list. But there were a small handful of guys one could make an argument for.
Kareem Jackson | S: In his first year as a Bronco, Jackson played at a Pro Bowl level. Perhaps missing three starts (one to injury, two to DUI suspension) diminished his profile in the minds of his peers.
Noah Fant | TE: Set franchise rookie records as a tight end and went over 500 yards receiving.
Graham Glasgow | IOL: Distinguished himself as one of the NFL's premier interior linemen last year in Detroit. Glasgow's paycheck says he's a Top 100 player.
Alexander Johnson | LB: Dominated the NFL in his 12 weeks as a starter. But was a backup to open the first quarter of the season.
Drew Lock | QB: His five-game sample size keeps him off the Top 100 but if I were a betting man, I'd feel safe in wagering that one year from now, Lock will be on this list.
Bradley Chubb | LB: The No. 82 player on the Top 100 of 2019 after posting 12 sacks as a rookie, Chubb's momentum and rising profile within the league took a massive hit when he tore his ACL in Week 4. If he stays healthy, he'll be back on this list a year from now.