Dec 1st, 2023 12:34, by Tim Hanswillemenke

Re-Ranking the Top 5 Players of Last Season

Should there be a different player at number one of the Top 100? I think so!

© Eric Mühle

Dec 1st, 2023 12:34, by Tim Hanswillemenke

Re-Ranking the Top 5 Players of Last Season

Should there be a different player at number one of the Top 100? I think so!

The European League of Football played its third-ever season in 2023. To give credit to players and their performances throughout the last season, the ELF announced the best 100 players of last season based on SportsMetrics. The grades of each player and therefore the ranking is calculated by SportsMetrics and reflects the individual performance of a player on the field over the past season.

As this ranking is only based on stats and the calculated performances by players, why not rank the Top 5 with a combination of stats, other surrounding factors, and a pinch of opinion? Let’s see who made it into my Top 5. 

Honorable Mention - Barcelona Dragons DB, Luke Glenna

The Barcelona Dragons secretly had one of the best defensive backs on their team for the 2023 season. American safety Luke Glenna played a hell of a season, in which he led the entire league in total tackles (137) and the fifth-most interceptions with four. When the Dragons needed a big play, Glenna was there. Just a very solid player that was underestimated during the 2023 season and was ranked #60 on the league’s Top 100 list.

Honorable Mention – Helvetic Guards DB, Maceo Beard

I know that Maceo Beard led the league with interceptions (8) and was rightfully so, ranked high in the league’s Top 100. But for me, he falls out of the Top 5 but is still worthy of an honorable mention. Beard was a bright spot in one of the league’s worst defensive backfields, and also won the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award. But for me, there was another defensive player more worthy of that trophy.

Tim’s #5: Munich Ravens QB, Chad Jeffries 

ELF #5: Wrocław Panthers RB, David Brzozowski

The Munich Ravens' quarterback Chad Jeffries ranks second in the league’s Top 100 list. There is no way around ranking him in the Top 5. With his 30 touchdown passes to only five interceptions, the American signal caller put together an impressive rookie campaign in the ELF. But for me, there are four players that individually had an even more impressive season in 2023.

Tim’s #4: Wrocław Panthers LB, A.J. Wentland 

ELF #4: Helvetic Guards CB, Maceo Beard

Are you kidding me? Ranking American linebacker A.J. Wentland at 27 in the league’s Top 100 list is bonkers to me. In only nine games, the 29-year-old linebacker produced 112 tackles (3rd in the league) in combination with two-and-a-half sacks, ten tackles for loss, one interception and one fumble recovery. On top of that, Wentland immediately took the role of the leader on defense and made the entire Panthers defense that much tougher to play against. For me, he is a no-brainer for the Top 5 players of 2023.

Tim’s #3: Munich Ravens WR, Markell Castle

ELF #3: Munich Ravens WR, Markell Castle 

The best wide receiver of the 2023 has to stay where he is on the league’s Top 100 list. Munich Ravens wideout Markell Castle was special in his own right and amassed the most receiving yards by far out of every player (1,580) in all twelve regular season games. It will be interesting to see where he will land in 2024!

Tim’s #2: Rhein Fire QB, Jadrian Clark

ELF #2: Munich Ravens QB, Chad Jeffries

I know, some of you may think I see some ghosts. But for me, Jadrian Clark is the perfect example of a great player who played under even better circumstances. Rhein Fire is a top-notch organization with an unbelievable coaching staff. On top of that, the Fire had the best offensive line in 2023, 2022 rushing leader Glen Toonga, and one of the best receiver groups with names like Anthony Mahoungou, Nathaniel Robitaille, and Harlan Kwofie. I don’t want to take away anything from Clark and his incredible season. But Clark played an MVP-caliber season under MVP-like circumstances.

Tim’s #1: Berlin Thunder DE, Kyle Kitchens

ELF #1: Rhein Fire QB, Jadrian Clark

If you are still mad at me for not putting Jadrian Clark at number one on my list, please hear me out. There is only one player in the entire league that I would even consider putting above Clark in a player ranking of the 2023 season: Berlin Thunder defensive end Kyle Kitchens. How he managed to escape the Top 5 on the league’s list still blows my mind. Kitchens is single-handily the most disruptive player the ELF has seen in all of its three years of existence. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year put together another incredible campaign by leading the league in sacks (15), tackles for loss (21), and even number of touchdowns after a fumble recovery (2). In my opinion, Kitchens should have won the Defensive Player of the Year Award for a third straight year with all the double- and triple-teams he defeated to still led the league in the before mentioned categories. If you need a game-changing play on defense or someone to close out the game with a sack in the fourth quarter, Kitchens is your man.

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