Adams, Bakhtiari, Smith Bros. Make NFL Network ‘Top 100 Players’

Four players were unveiled as NFL Network revealed No. 41 through No. 70 on Monday night. Here are their broadcast segments.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers, with a 13-3 record and a trip to the NFC Championship Game, had six players selected for NFL Network’s “The Top 100 Players of 2020.”

On Monday night’s episode, outside linebacker Preston Smith was No. 63, left tackle David Bakhtiari was No. 62, receiver Davante Adams was No. 57 and outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith was No. 48.

Preston Smith had 24.5 sacks in four seasons as Ryan Kerrigan’s sidekick in Washington. However, with just four sacks in 2019, it was fair to ask if he was worth the four-year, $52 million investment. The answer was a resounding yes as he recorded a career-high 12 sacks.

“He’s a guy that can set the edge, rush the passer. His thing is his length, his ability to keep guys away from him,” former Packers linebacker Blake Martinez said.

At No. 62, the four-time All-Pro Bakhtiari fell 19 spots from last year and still seems underrated. After allowing 19.5 sacks from 2013 through 2015, he allowed 12 sacks the past four seasons combined, according to STATS. In the last seven games of last season, including playoffs, PFF charged him with just seven pressures. 

“I think what makes Dave great is athletically he’s more gifted than probably any tackle in the league,” former teammate Bryan Bulaga said.

Adams, who missed four games with turf toe but still had 997 receiving yards, fell 22 spots after ranking 35th last year. “Thanks, I guess,” Adams tweeted, clearly unhappy with his ranking.

“My favorite receiver is Davante Adams or,” said Chargers star Keenan Allen, trying to conjure up another name, “Davante Adams.”

Za’Darius Smith had 18.5 sacks in four seasons with Baltimore. Given a four-year, $64 million contract based on potential, he rewarded the Packers with 13.5 sacks. He led the league in quarterback hits, according to Pro Football Focus.

“I didn’t really know much about him because he wasn’t an every-down player in Baltimore but I found out really quick that he’s really good,” Bulaga said.

No players were introduced on Sunday, when spots No. 100 through No. 71 were revealed, meaning there are two players in the top 40 – presumably one spot will go to quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the other perhaps to running back Aaron Jones. Spots 11 through 40 will be shown on Tuesday and the top 10 on Wednesday.