Lions' Matthew Stafford No. 31 on NFL top players list

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Matthew Stafford

For the second consecutive year, Matthew Stafford has been ranked as one of the NFL’s top 40 players by his peers. The Detroit Lions quarterback checked in at No. 31 on Monday night’s broadcast of the “NFL Top 100 Players of 2018” on the NFL Network.

“He knows what we’re about to do all the time,” Packers defensive lineman Mike Daniels said on the program. “It’s like as soon as he gets the ball in his hands, he just throws to a spot and boom, somebody’s right there. I’m like, ‘Come on, what just happened?’ He might be a psychic. I’m not sure.”

Stafford is coming off one of his best seasons, completing 65.7 percent of his passes for 4,446 yards, 29 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His 99.3 passer rating was a career-high, besting the 97.2 mark he posted in 2011.

“Whew, he’s very good,” Packers cornerback Demarious Randall said on the program. “He actually threw one against me, to Marvin Jones, that was pretty impressive. I was man-to-man with Marvin and I started looking back and I was thinking the play was over, thinking like he’d throw it out of bounds, and the ball is exactly where I couldn’t get it. I couldn’t even be mad at myself on that one.”

Long-known as one of the strongest-armed quarterbacks in the league, former Vikings quarterback Case Keenum vouched for Stafford’s arm strength.

“(He) makes throws that nobody else in this league can make,” Keenum said. “He’s a guy that you can never count out. He’s always battling. He’s a special player.”

This is Stafford’s fifth appearance on the NFL Top 100 list. He also finished No. 31 last year, No. 100 in 2014, No. 76 in 2013 and No. 41 in 2012.

Stafford is the second, and likely final Lions player to appear on this year’s list. All-Pro cornerback Darius Slay made his debut appearance on the annual ranking last week, landing at No. 49.

Slay made a cameo Monday night, sharing a story on how Stafford injured him in practice.

“He throws that thing hard, broke one of my fingers,” Slay said. “He threw that thing so hard, tried to (get a pass breakup). Nuh-uh, I’m trying to body catch everything now.”