BRONCOS

Three Broncos make ESPN’s top-100, including Wilson ranked very high

Aug 29, 2022, 1:32 PM
Russell Wilson...
(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

When the NFL Network’s top-100 players of 2022 came out, Broncos fans weren’t pleased.

Only two guys made the list, with QB Russell Wilson checking in at a ridiculously low No. 61 and safety Justin Simmons coming in at No. 81.

Well, fans will like ESPN’s top-100 list a little better. Or maybe a lot better. Wilson is very high, earning the honors as the 13th best player in the NFL. Simmons is No. 57 and promising young cornerback Pat Surtain II is No. 65. Surtain wasn’t ranked as a rookie last year, Simmons was 59 and Wilson was No. 4.

It’s cool to see Wilson get the respect he deserves, and also a bit surprising to see him ahead of Tom Brady (No. 20) and Joe Burrow (No. 26). Brady was ranked first on the NFL Network list. Here’s part of what ESPN had to say about Wilson:

Both Wilson and the Broncos see the offseason blockbuster move as a setup for a long-term affair, and Wilson’s arrival puts the Broncos back into the playoff conversation. Denver has built a playbook that should fit Wilson, and he has playmakers at wide receiver and running back, so expectations are plenty high for his first year in Denver.

Do these lists mean a ton? Not really, as the play on the field will be the ultimate barometer. But at the same time, it’s nice to see Wilson get his due from arguably the most popular sports outlet in the country. However, ESPN’s Matt Bowen says Wilson’s spot is too high on the list. He picked him as the most overrated player.

“I get the upside of Wilson playing in the Broncos’ new offensive scheme. There will be motion and misdirection, and it’ll be more pass-heavy. And there is real talent at the receiving spots in Denver. However, ranking Wilson ahead of Tom Brady and Joe Burrow gave me some pause here based on the tape I watched from last season,” Bowen wrote.

He also points at the two players I mentioned above, saying Wilson shouldn’t be ahead of Brady and Burrow. Brady is obviously the GOAT and Burrow led the Bengals to a surprise Super Bowl appearance a season ago. But Wilson has made nine Pro Bowls in 10 years, and is the owner of a championship — and probably should have two.

We’ll see how it shakes out, but ESPN is much higher on the Broncos than the NFL Network list.

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Three Broncos make ESPN’s top-100, including Wilson ranked very high