I saw a topic on ESPN’s First Take this week that I thought was pretty cool. The topic was: is Tyreek Hill the best non-quarterback in the National Football League? Watching Stephen A. Smith, Shannon Sharpe, and David Orlovsky debate this question got me thinking about whether Hill was or not. I thought about it even more and decided to expand my thoughts to a blog. Here are my top five non-quarterbacks in the NFL, with an honorable mention included.
Honorable Mention: Justin Tucker (kicker, Baltimore Ravens)
I know what you’re saying. A kicker? Really? Well, while I couldn’t put him any higher on the list, Justin Tucker is that guy. Highly regarded as the best kicker of all time, Tucker has constantly come through for the Ravens throughout his career. In 2021, he nailed the longest field goal in NFL history from sixty-six yards out to win the game for Baltimore. To put that in context, Tucker’s field goal range can extend all the way out to midfield!
Number Five: Micah Parsons (defensive end, Dallas Cowboys)
Parsons established himself as one of the league’s best defenders very quickly in his career. In his third season, he’s already a two-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler, along with winning the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2021. Parsons’ strength and toughness have made Dallas one of the best defenses in the entire NFL. You can count on him leading this unit as a game-changer for years to come.
Number Four: Justin Jefferson (wide receiver, Minnesota Vikings)
Jefferson, like Parsons, is another young and exciting player in the NFL. He made his debut in 2020, making an instant impact and establishing himself as the next great Vikings’ receiver. Since entering the league, Jefferson has been named an All-Pro once, a Pro Bowler three times, and won the 2022 NFL Offensive Player of the Year award. It’s uncertain whether he’ll play his entire career in Minnesota, but he’ll still be one of the league’s best wherever he goes.
Number Three: Christian McCaffrey (running back, San Francisco 49ers)
McCaffrey has been in the league for quite some time but has become the best running back in football when healthy. McCaffrey has been named an All-Pro once, along with two Pro Bowl selections. In the 2019 season, he put up over one thousand yards both rushing and receiving for the Carolina Panthers, making him a top threat on both ends of the offense. He’s continued that dominance with a touchdown in each of his last fifteen games.
Number Two: Tyreek Hill (wide receiver, Miami Dolphins)
Hill, in my opinion, is the best receiver in all of football. His speed on the field, which earned him the nickname “cheetah”, makes him incredibly hard to stop. Through six games this season, he has forty-two receptions for eight hundred fourteen yards and six touchdowns. Throughout his career, he’s earned seven Pro Bowl selections, has been an All-Pro four times, and is even a Super Bowl champion. I know it’s still early on, but I think it’s a real possibility Hill will win his first Offensive Player of the Year award in 2023.
Number One: T.J. Watt (outside linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers)
Watt, in my opinion, is the best non-quarterback in the NFL. Since entering the league in 2017, he’s been the league’s best defender and one of the league’s best players overall. Watt is the true anchor of the Steeler’s defense. Without him, the team doesn’t win. In 2021, he tied Michael Strahan’s sack record with twenty-two and a half sacks over the full season, earning him his first NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. Along with that, he’s been an All-Pro three times and has been selected to five Pro Bowls. Many people, myself included, argue that he should’ve won Defensive Player of the Year in 2020.
Those are my top five (plus an honorable mention) non-quarterbacks in the NFL! Who do you think is the best non-quarterback in the NFL? Keep an eye on my profile this semester as I continue to make blogs about sports topics!
First Take video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWzHpkE4rAI
Player accolades: Pro Football Reference
Christian McCaffrey source: https://www.49ers.com/news/christian-mccaffrey-extends-td-streak-to-15-straight-games#:~:text=San%20Francisco%2049ers%20running%20back,to%20the%20league's%20history%20books.