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PFF: 3 former Wolverines make NFL’s best 101 players list

The 2020 NFL season ended on Sunday with a familiar sight: former Michigan quarterback Tom Brady hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, now for the seventh time. But in a game that had four Wolverines involved across just two teams, certainly, there was more talent coming out of Ann Arbor in the league this year?

                                                <img src="https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2021/01/USATSI_15416412.jpg?w=100&h=66" alt="" width="1000" height="667" /><img src="https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2021/01/USATSI_15416412.jpg 2216w, https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2021/01/USATSI_15416412.jpg?resize=300,200 300w, https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2021/01/USATSI_15416412.jpg?resize=768,512 768w, https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2021/01/USATSI_15416412.jpg?resize=1024,683 1024w, https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2021/01/USATSI_15416412.jpg?resize=1536,1024 1536w, https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2021/01/USATSI_15416412.jpg?resize=2048,1366 2048w, https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2021/01/USATSI_15416412.jpg?resize=480,320 480w" alt="" width="1000" height="667" /><p>Jan 9, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates in the final two minutes against the Washington Football Team in the fourth quarter at FedExField. Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports</p> <p>It’s no surprise that Brady was in the upper echelon of PFF’s list, but he wasn’t No. 1 like he used to be in any top NFL player ranking. Of course, there are others who have lit the field up — Aaron Donald, Aaron Rodgers and Travis Kelce were ahead of Brady in PFF’s list — but the fact that Brady came in at No. 4 is remarkable, when you consider that PFF didn’t have him among their top 101 players last year at all.</p> <blockquote><p>When Tom Brady slipped off the <a href="https://www.pff.com/news/nfl-top-101-players-from-the-2019-nfl-season" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Top 101 last season</a>, it seemed like he might be declining enough that we had seen the beginning of the end. We knew that the <a href="https://www.pff.com/nfl/teams/new-england-patriots/19/roster">Patriots</a> receiving corps was a big part of the problem, but the idea that he could bounce back to the very top of this list still seemed far-fetched at best. Here we are, one Super Bowl win later, with Brady leading the league in big-time throws and looking like a player 20 years younger than he is. Brady is simply leaving Father Time in the dust.</p></blockquote>                            <p></p>                                                 <img src="https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2020/11/b4278085db00498390ebe93ea516ef0a.jpg?w=100&h=66" alt="" width="1000" height="666" /><img src="https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2020/11/b4278085db00498390ebe93ea516ef0a.jpg 3972w, https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2020/11/b4278085db00498390ebe93ea516ef0a.jpg?resize=300,200 300w, https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2020/11/b4278085db00498390ebe93ea516ef0a.jpg?resize=768,512 768w, https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2020/11/b4278085db00498390ebe93ea516ef0a.jpg?resize=1024,682 1024w, https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2020/11/b4278085db00498390ebe93ea516ef0a.jpg?resize=1536,1024 1536w, https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2020/11/b4278085db00498390ebe93ea516ef0a.jpg?resize=2048,1365 2048w, https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2020/11/b4278085db00498390ebe93ea516ef0a.jpg?resize=480,320 480w" alt="" width="1000" height="666" /><p>New England Patriots offensive guard Mike Onwenu (71) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)</p> <p>This one is the big surprise reveal. However, if you’ve followed along with PFF at all this year, then Onwenu being named one of their best players in the NFL should come as no surprise.</p> <p>PFF consistently had Onwenu as one of the best rookies and offensive linemen in the league. The surprise is that it comes after being a sixth-round draft pick thrust into three different starting roles along the line this year.</p> <p>Here’s why PFF has Onwenu at No. 60 overall:</p> <blockquote><p>Rookie offensive lineman Michael Onwenu was one of the surprise stars of the season. A sixth-round pick out of Michigan, Onwenu started every game of the season for the Patriots, manning three different positions at one time or another and performing well regardless. He was especially good as a run blocker, earning an 84.9 PFF grade in that facet, but also held up well as a pass protector. Onwenu allowed just 14 total pressures all season despite moving around the line.</p></blockquote>                                        <p>                 </p>                                                                        <img src="https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2020/11/USATSI_15144629.jpg?w=100&h=66" alt="" width="1000" height="667" /><img src="https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2020/11/USATSI_15144629.jpg 4365w, https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2020/11/USATSI_15144629.jpg?resize=300,200 300w, https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2020/11/USATSI_15144629.jpg?resize=768,512 768w, https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2020/11/USATSI_15144629.jpg?resize=1024,683 1024w, https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2020/11/USATSI_15144629.jpg?resize=1536,1024 1536w, https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2020/11/USATSI_15144629.jpg?resize=2048,1366 2048w, https://wolverineswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/26/2020/11/USATSI_15144629.jpg?resize=480,320 480w" alt="" width="1000" height="667" /><p>Nov 1, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham (55) reacts after a fumble recovery against the Dallas Cowboys during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports</p> <p>Brandon Graham isn’t quite the force he once was, but PFF still has him as one of the top players in the country.</p> <p>This year, he had plenty of games where his impact didn’t show up on the stat sheet. Here’s why Graham makes PFF’s top 101 list:</p> <blockquote><p>Perhaps in the middle of a late-career decline, <a href="https://www.pff.com/nfl/players/brandon-graham/5538">Brandon Graham</a> was nevertheless coming from such a peak that even a declining version is an outstanding player. Graham had a PFF pass-rushing grade of 80.8, notching 56 total pressures and hurrying the quarterback in every game of the season. Graham still impacts games every single week.</p></blockquote>                                      <p>                 </p>

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