NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The 2020 NFL season is right around the corner, and you don't have to be a whiz to project big things from Super Bowl favorites like the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens. But it does take some work to identify the best players at every single jersey number around the league. Fortunately, we did it for you!

That's right; we've declared the top players around the NFL according to their digits, from 1 all the way to 99. But quickly, before you dive in, just a couple of ground rules regarding the rankings:

  • These aren't all-time rankings; they're centered on players in 2020. So, for example, while Jason Witten makes a lot of sense as the best player to wear No. 82 on this list, he's not exactly a Pro Bowl-caliber playmaker these days.
  • When it's a truly close call, positional value matters. So, for example, if it's down to a really good quarterback and a really good kicker at jersey No. 8, well, the obvious choice is to ride with the QB.

Not that these rankings mean much for your favorite team's chances this year, but here's how the list stacks up in terms of players represented (keeping in mind that certain positions face steeper competition for bragging rights at their jersey numbers):

  • Baltimore Ravens: 9
  • New Orleans Saints: 8
  • Seattle Seahawks: 7
  • Cleveland Browns: 7
  • Kansas City Chiefs: 5
  • Buffalo Bills: 5
  • Atlanta Falcons: 5
  • Dallas Cowboys: 5
  • Philadelphia Eagles: 4
  • Pittsburgh Steelers: 4
  • Green Bay Packers: 4
  • San Francisco 49ers: 4
  • Indianapolis Colts: 4
  • Cincinnati Bengals: 4
  • Denver Broncos: 3
  • Arizona Cardinals: 3
  • Los Angeles Rams: 2
  • Houston Texans: 2
  • Carolina Panthers: 2
  • Chicago Bears: 2
  • Los Angeles Chargers: 2
  • Detroit Lions: 2
  • Las Vegas Raiders: 1
  • New York Giants: 1
  • Minnesota Vikings: 1
  • New England Patriots: 1
  • New York Jets: 1
  • Miami Dolphins: 1

Without further ado, we present ... the top 99 players for the NFL's 2020 season, ranked by jersey number:

1 | Kyler Murray

This might still be "owned" by Cam Newton, but let's not kid ourselves. In 2020, Murray is the better and more exciting QB.

2 | Matt Ryan

3 | Russell Wilson

4 | Deshaun Watson

There's a real argument to be made for Dak Prescott here, but Watson has still done more with less.

5 | Teddy Bridgewater

This number went to Joe Flacco in 2019. Fan of Teddy or not, good for him to even be on this list in 2020.

6 | Baker Mayfield

No lie: Thomas Morstead got a long, hard look here. Johnny Hekker, too. Still, Mayfield's got plenty of upside.

7 | Ben Roethlisberger

8 | Lamar Jackson

9 | Drew Brees

Would it be nuts to contend for Matthew Stafford here? Justin Tucker is also gold. Keep an eye on Joe Burrow in 2021-2022.

10 | Tyreek Hill

DeAndre Hopkins might be more complete, but who's taking him over Hill at his most explosive? Cooper Kupp is 1C here.

Tyreek Hill
MIA • WR • #10
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11 | Julio Jones

Carson Wentz needed that playoff win to steal this. Larry Fitzgerald would be the shoo-in for the active/all-time honor.

12 | Aaron Rodgers

This comes down to which aging QB you prefer on his own merits: Rodgers or Tom Brady. While the latter is easily better positioned for big numbers in 2020, Rodgers seems to have the physical edge. Chris Godwin (who ceded his digits to Tom Brady) and Allen Robinson are solid, too.

13 | Michael Thomas

The consistency is just incredible, even if Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, T.Y. Hilton and Keenan Allen offer lots of juice.

14 | Stefon Diggs

15 | Patrick Mahomes

Only Bart Starr stands in his way as a true all-time threat at this number.

16 | Tyler Lockett

17 | Davante Adams

18 | A.J. Green

He's missed 29 games in the last four years, but he's apparently healthy now, and the skill set remains intact. Calvin Ridley could easily overtake him in 2020. Look out for Jalen Reagor and/or Justin Jefferson down the road.

19 | Amari Cooper

Maybe the best WR number out there, considering the alternatives: Adam Thielen, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Deebo Samuel.

Amari Cooper
CLE • WR • #2
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20 | Jalen Ramsey

21 | Ezekiel Elliott

22 | Christian McCaffrey

23 | Jaire Alexander

The No. 1 corner number: Joe Haden and Marshon Lattimore were the other top candidates.

24 | Nick Chubb

It's hard to keep lock-down corners like Stephon Gilmore, Darius Slay and Marcus Peters sidelined, and any one of them would rep No. 24 well, but take a look at Chubb's numbers again. This guy might be a top-three RB in the NFL.

25 | Richard Sherman

26 | Saquon Barkley

27 | Tre'Davious White

28 | Joe Mixon

The Bengals standout is underrated league-wide, though Josh Jacobs' rookie year suggests he's also in the mix.

29 | Earl Thomas

30 | Austin Ekeler

Todd Gurley and James Conner are more complete when healthy, but Ekeler flat-out produces.

Austin Ekeler
LAC • RB • #30
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31 | Justin Simmons

32 | Tyrann Mathieu

33 | Jamal Adams

Seattle probably overpaid to land him, but he's still a wrecking ball. Derwin James and Dalvin Cook aren't too shabby, either.

34 | Brian Poole

35 | Gus Edwards

36 | Chuck Clark

Another Raven! Here comes that Super Bowl run!

37 | Quandre Diggs

38 | Jeff Heath

39 | Minkah Fitzpatrick

This one's for you, Pete Prisco.

40 | Jarrad Davis

41 | Alvin Kamara

42 | Anthony Sherman

43 | Marcus Williams

44 | Marlon Humphrey

Kyle Juszczyk makes some sense here, but Humphrey is a top-level corner on a contender at his best.

45 | Deion Jones

46 | Morgan Cox

The long snapper behind all those beautiful Justin Tucker field goals.

47 | Vince Biegel

48 | Isaiah Simmons

Bud Dupree broke out as a sack artist in 2019, but Simmons' athleticism is off the charts. Whereas Dupree is generally a good, if unspectacular, edge rusher, Simmons should be the Swiss Army knife that centers Arizona's "D."

49 | Tremaine Edmunds

50 | K.J. Wright

Age is going to creep up on him soon, but he's still a rock-solid piece of Seattle's defensive foundation.

51 | Alex Mack

52 | Khalil Mack

53 | Darius Leonard

It's scary how productive he's been to open his career. No one comes close to repping No. 53 like Leonard.

54 | Bobby Wagner

55 | Chandler Jones

This one's absolutely loaded: Bradley Chubb, Brandon Graham, Dee Ford, Frank Clark and Za'Darius Smith are all part of the conversation.

56 | Quenton Nelson

57 | Dre Greenlaw

This probably would've been C.J. Mosley, had the Jets LB not oped out.

58 | Von Miller

Shaquil Barrett may have a similar ceiling right now, but you're still choosing Miller if you want an elite rusher.

59 | Whitney Mercilus

60 | David Andrews

61 | Graham Glasgow

62 | Jason Kelce

Kelce remains mobile as ever, but you could also make a case for Joe Thuney here.

63 | Chris Lindstrom

64 | J.C. Tretter

Bonus points for NFLPA leadership!

65 | Lane Johnson

66 | David DeCastro

67 | Quinton Spain

68 | Taylor Decker

69 | David Bakhtiari

70 | Zack Martin

Talk about a rock-solid guard group: Trai Turner and Kevin Zeitler also man this spot.

71 | Ryan Ramczyk

Take your pick of big-time linemen: La'el Collins, Mitchell Schwartz, Jason Peters, Trent Williams.

72 | Terron Armstead

73 | Dion Dawkins

74 | Anthony Castonzo

75 | Joel Bitonio

76 | Duane Brown

77 | Tyron Smith

Taylor Lewan and Frank Ragnow make just as much sense here as franchise LT and C material, respectively.

78 | Jack Conklin

Another top-notch group of OL: Alejandro Villanueva, Laremy Tunsil and Ryan Kelly are all possibilities.

79 | Ronnie Stanley

80 | Jarvis Landry

81 | Mike Williams

Both Austin Hooper and Jonnu Smith could work, but Williams finally flashed star WR play-making abilities in 2019.

82 | Kyle Rudolph

83 | Tyler Boyd

If you're comfortable betting big on Darren Waller after his breakout, you might have a case here.

84 | Jack Doyle

This isn't about Doyle dominating this number as much as it is the league sorely lacking elite pass catchers in the 80s.

85 | George Kittle

86 | Zach Ertz

87 | Travis Kelce

Sorry, Gronk. Look, Rob Gronkowski may own the number in terms of popularity, but there's no debate here.

88 | CeeDee Lamb

A really solid crop of TEs makes sense here: Mike Gesicki, Evan Engram, Dallas Goedert, Greg Olsen. But Lamb is the kind of explosive wideout who figures to keep Dak Prescott in the MVP conversation.

89 | Mark Andrews

90 | T.J. Watt

91 | Fletcher Cox

Yannick Ngakoue and Arik Armstead give you something different in the trenches, but Cox is still a game-changer when he's on.

92 | Marcus Davenport

93 | Calais Campbell

94 | Cameron Jordan

95 | Myles Garrett

This was actually a really close call between Garrett and Chris Jones. Take either one, and your D-line becomes a force.

96 | Akiem Hicks

97 | Nick Bosa

Joey just got paid, and Joey's got more of a track record, but you know what? Nick wasted absolutely zero time showing the NFL he's just as dominant off the edge.

98 | D.J. Reader

99 | Aaron Donald

Danielle Hunter deserves way, way more credit here than he gets. It wouldn't be outlandish to put him over Donald. This one's got good prospects for the future, too, in Chase Young and Javon Kinlaw.