There’s only 10 days left until the start of the 2019 NFL season. Last year saw the breakout of Patrick Mahomes into an elite quarterback. Meanwhile, Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack re-established themselves as the best defenders in the game.
Ahead of the new season, ESPN has released its ranking of the best players in the NFL for 2019. Though their list is 100 players deep, we’re taking a look at the top five.
5. DeAndre Hopkins, WR – Houston Texans
Coming off back-to-back All-Pro seasons, Hopkins has established himself as the most dangerous offensive player in the NFL. With 211 catches, 2,950 yards and 24 touchdowns in that span, few if any receivers are as dangerous.
4. Tom Brady, QB – New England Patriots
Since 2006, only Peyton Manning, Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez have been able to beat Brady in the AFC playoffs. He has led the Patriots to five Super Bowl appearances in the 2010s, and created a new dynasty by winning three of them.
Eventually Brady will retire, but for now, he’s just as good now as he was at half his age.
3. Khalil Mack, OLB – Chicago Bears
After being traded from Oakland to Chicago before the start of the 2018 season, Mack reminded everyone that he is the best outside pass rusher in football. His dominance helped the Bears defense become the best in the league, and end a seven-year playoff drought.
2. Patrick Mahomes, QB – Kansas City Chiefs
In his first full year as a starter, Mahomes shattered every Chiefs passing record en route to MVP honors.
His incredible arm and athleticism led to 50 touchdown passes and the best record in the AFC. While the Chiefs were ultimately beaten by the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, it seems like only a matter of time before he’s playing in a Super Bowl.
1. Aaron Donald, DT – Los Angeles Rams
The two-time defending Defensive Player of the Year, Donald led the league in sacks and tackles for loss. He also had four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries as the Rams went 13-3 and made their first Super Bowl since 2001.
Donald is head and shoulders above all NFL defenders in a way not seen since Lawrence Taylor.
Are these the five best players in the NFL? Or is there another rising star poised to supplant them all?