Two Cardinals players featured in PFN Top 100 for 2021, so far

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Kyler Murray
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Kyler Murray /

Arizona Cardinals pass rusher J.J. Watt and quarterback Kyler Murray are both included in some of the initial Top 100 rankings from Pro Football Network. 

Pro Football Network is counting down the top 100 players going into the 2021 season. They recently released the guys who made the 100 to 71 portion of the list and two members of the Arizona Cardinals were among those who made the cut.

Coming in at No. 85 in their rankings is newly acquired Cardinals defensive lineman J.J. Watt. On Watt, PFN writes “he’s still a considerably dominant force on the defensive line no matter where he lines up. Having Chandler Jones opposite of Watt could do wonders for the five-time All-Pro.”

The last two seasons saw Watt struggle to either stay on the field or stay consistent. In 2019, injuries limited him to just eight games, which led to him finishing with only four sacks and 24. In 2020, despite playing all 16 contests for the Houston Texans, Watt finished with five sacks, 52 tackles (14 for a loss), and 29 pressures in a contract year.

Enter the Arizona Cardinals. In March 2021, Watt agreed to a two-year deal with Arizona after he requested his release from the Texans. He hopes to bounce back during his time in the desert and he has a good supporting cast to help his resurgence with Chandler Jones expected to line up on the same side as him.

“I’m excited to get started,” Watt said after signing with the Cardinals, “very excited to get started, get to work, and get to know the people of Arizona.”

Kyler Murray one of the two Arizona Cardinals to make PFN’s Top 100 of 2021

Despite being an MVP candidate in the first half of the 2020 season, the performance of Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray started to decline after suffering a shoulder injury in Week 8 against the Miami Dolphins. Prior to the injury, Murray was on pace to become the first player in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards.

Even though he came in at No. 81 on PFN’s Top-100 list, Murray is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL based on just athleticism alone.

Last season, he finished with a career-high 3,971 passing yards and 26 touchdowns in addition to also rushing for 819 yards and another 11 scores. He is also the first player in the Super Bowl era to rush and throw for a touchdown in five straight games.

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The sky is the limit for Murray entering his third season with Arizona, as he now has a new target to throw to in A.J. Green, who signed a one-year deal earlier this year.