CBS ranks 3 Raiders in top 100 players

Pete Prisco released his list of the NFL’s top 100 players, and multiple Raiders made the cut. 
Las Vegas Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

CBS Sports senior writer Pete Prisco produces an NFL Top 100 Players list every year based on not only his evaluations but conversations with various members of NFL coaching staffs and front offices. Patrick Mahomes was once again the top-ranked player in the league, but at least there were three Raiders on the list as well. 

Which players made the list?

Maxx Crosby (11), Davante Adams (26) and Christian Wilkins (78) all represented the Silver and Black in the annual rankings.

Crosby was one of the biggest risers on the list, soaring all the way to 11 from last year’s ranking of 38. Among edge rushers, Crosby ranks fifth in the NFL, trailing only Myles Garrett, T.J. Watt, Micah Parsons, and Nick Bosa, but notably, he is ranked ahead of Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones. When I first saw that Crosby was the 11th-ranked player in the league, that sounded about right to me.

However, it does not make sense that after last season’s performance, Crosby is still ranked behind Nick Bosa and is not considered a top-three edge rusher in the league. Yes, he trailed T.J. Watt by a wide margin in sacks, but he had more than Micah Parsons and Defensive Player of the Year Myles Garrett and far more than Bosa. Crosby’s value is also in his ability to stop the run, as he recorded 90 total tackles while the next closest in the group was Watt with 68. When it comes to overall production, Crosby has a legitimate argument to be the top edge rusher in the league, as well as a top-five overall player. As he would say, more is required.

Davante Adams dropped nine spots in this year’s rankings, and frankly, I am surprised he did not fall more. Not that I doubt Adams’ ability, but statistically, he was outperformed by a plethora of players. Tyreek Hill, Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, and CeeDee Lamb still rank ahead of him, and all for good reason, but I was surprised to see A.J. Brown still ranked behind Adams after the year he put together. I am glad that people in NFL circles still see how dominant Adams can be, and with consistent quarterback play, I would not be surprised to see Adams ascend toward the very top of this list once again.

My main criticism of this ranking is that Adams is ranked right behind Broncos CB Patrick Surtain II. Not only are the Broncos 0-4 when facing the Raiders in the last two seasons, but Surtain has recorded zero interceptions and only 15 solo tackles in four matchups. In addition to this, Adams has caught 27 balls for 354 yards and 3 touchdowns in these games (one was a game-winner). This averages out to 6.8 catches for 88.5 yards and 0.8 touchdowns per game. These numbers are actually better in comparison to the other 30 games Davante Adams has played in a Raiders uniform. By no stretch of the imagination is Surtain better than Adams, because as Adams would say, “he’s not there yet!”

Christian Wilkins only dropped four spots, which means that he essentially stayed put. Commonly, when a player is acquired by the Raiders, they mysteriously fall down in the rankings and become viewed as less valuable, or their statistics are not seen as impressive any longer. Thankfully, that is not the case, and if Wilkins can be basically the same player he was in 2023, opposing quarterbacks should look out.

Wilkins ranked seventh among defensive tackles, ahead of players like Jalen Carter and Jeffery Simmons, but still behind the likes of Chris Jones, Quinnen Williams and Dexter Lawrence. This feels about right for his position in the pecking order of elite defensive tackles, and he is surely an upgrade over what the Raiders had last year. I am excited to watch him attack the quarterback with the rest of the defensive line, which could be the best in football. 

How did the Raiders compare?

The Raiders’ three selections are slightly above average compared to the rest of the league. 10 teams have more players on the list, while six have the same amount. 15 teams have fewer players than the Raiders represented, including two teams (Colts and Commanders) who do not have a single player on the top 100 list. 

The teams who led the league in selections were the 49ers (10), Chiefs (7), Ravens (7), Lions (7), Texans (6), Cowboys (6), Eagles (6), Dolphins (5), Jets (4) and Buccaneers (4). All of these teams but the Jets made the playoffs last season, and a majority of them won a game or more. The Raiders finished with the same amount of players ranked as the Steelers, Vikings, Bengals, Falcons, Bears, and Chargers.

This means that in the AFC West, the Raiders and Chargers tied for second place behind the Chiefs, leaving the Broncos, with only one selection, in a distant last place. The Chargers, however, had two players listed under “honorable mention” and the Broncos had one, whereas the Chiefs and Raiders had zero. Although the Raiders may not possess as many big-name stars right now as the Chargers have, the roster, as a whole, is much stronger and deeper than theirs is.