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Pete Prisco names five Saints to 2018’s top 100 players

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The Saints have a high-end roster, with five stars in the top 45.

Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41)  during organized team activities at the Ochsner Sports Performance  Center.
Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) during organized team activities at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Top 100 lists (listings? How is a listing different from a ranking?) are all the rage in the too-long NFL offseason, and the latest one to drop comes from CBS Sports senior writer Pete Prisco. Prisco makes his list with one eye reflecting back on the 2017 results, and the other gazing forward to predict future success. Or something like that.

Either way, he likes the team the Saints have built. Five of their players make the top 100 list, with none placing lower than 45th overall. It’s noteworthy that three of the five Saints were added since 2016, and two of those are just entering their second seasons. Let’s get into it:

10. Cameron Jordan, DE

For some reason, he doesn’t seem to get the due he deserves as one of the league’s best down players. He had his best season in 2017 with 13 sacks.

It feels like it shouldn’t surprise that Jordan has leapt past Brees, but here we are. Jordan is a still-young All-Pro (turning 29-years old next month) who should’ve gotten more Defensive Player of the Year votes for his efforts. The Saints are so fortunate to have him spearheading a resurgent defense and mentoring Marcus Davenport.

20. Drew Brees, QB

Closing in on the age of 40, he remains one of the league’s best quarterbacks. The help from the running game last season cut his numbers some, but not the production.

The gap between Aaron Rodgers (#1), Tom Brady (#2), and Brees (#20) isn’t as broad as Prisco exaggerates. That’ll become more clear if the Chicago Bears and New York Jets of the world begin to grow backbones. Brady’s Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was a nightmare, seeing him stuck on the sideline watching his defense allow two-thirds of third and fourth downs to be converted and ceding 500-plus yards. Try living that life for three years, Tom.

33. Marshon Lattimore, CB

As a rookie, he was outstanding as a cover corner, helping to fix a position that has been a major problem for the Saints for years. He had five interceptions and showed the ability to play the ball in the air.

Lattimore really might be the best cornerback in the NFL this season. He’s at least in the conversation with Marcus Peters and Jalen Ramsey. It’ll be incredibly fun to watch him continue to grow and compete.

34. Michael Thomas, WR

In his second season, he became the go-to player for Drew Brees with 104 catches. Scary thought: He might just be scratching the surface of what he can do.

Don’t look now but the Saints have an elite, top-five type of wide receiver for the first time in decades. I’ve got all the love and appreciation in the world for Marques Colston, but Thomas is already making real headway into setting new franchise receiving records.

45. Alvin Kamara, RB

As a rookie he was special, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. This season he will get more carries, which is a good thing.

Remember when people questioned this pick because the Saints already had Adrian Peterson and Travaris Cadet on the roster?

Last year, Prisco had just two Saints (Drew Brees and Cameron Jordan) in his top 100 list, though left tackle Terron Armstead warranted an honorable mention. Maybe next year the Saints will rival the Jacksonville Jaguars (eight) and Los Angeles Rams (seven) for the most players on Prisco’s list.