Revealed: The NFL’s Top-10 Pressure Players
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Football is a game built around extreme excitement, but which NFL players can handle the heat the most when the in-game intensity ramps up? We asked our football experts to pick their top-10 NFL stars based on gameplay pressure management – read on to discover which players make the cut!
1. Aaron Rodgers
With the top spot on the line, our football experts have ranked Green Bay Packers icon Aaron Rodgers as the league’s No. 1 pressure player and the coolest guy around when in-game intensity maxes out.
Voted NFL MVP in 2020, there’s no doubt that the veteran QB’s still got it, particularly after posting a passer rating of 89.3 in pressure situations during his league-leading campaign. And that’s not all: Over the last five seasons, during difficult third and fourth downs, the football great boasts an impressive 56% passing success rate and 65% completion rate, and he regularly comes up clutch when taking a downfield shot.
2. Russell Wilson
Coming in a close second, our experts rank the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson as one of the highest performing players under pressure, earning a spot for his elite composure in the fourth quarter or overtime of tight games.
Time and time again, when there’s no margin for error, QB Wilson steps up to the plate to guide his team to victory under nerve wracking circumstances. Impressively, no player has posted more passing yards (3,988) or touchdowns (35) in the last five seasons in clutch spots, with Wilson also boasting a strong 55% success rate across such situations.
3. Patrick Mahomes
As if being the second-youngest quarterback ever to win the Super Bowl wasn’t enough, Patrick Mahomes also managed the feat with the Kansas City Chiefs – a team that struggled to even make a championship game appearance in 50 years before he came along. Talk about pressure!
While he’s spent only four seasons in the NFL, Mahomes has quickly established himself as an icon of the game – and with a career passer rating of 112.6 in late, close games, he’s well on his way to cementing his status as one of the greats.
4. Tyreek Hill
Coming in at fourth, Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill makes the cut for his fearless and collected approach to the game, especially in situations of high intensity and enormous pressure.
His consistent performances across last season’s campaign earned him particular acclaim, playing effectively with QB Mahomes to get his team over the line on many occasions. By the numbers, Hill has averaged 14.3 yards per target and posted an 82% catch success rate during late-game third and fourth downs.
5. Calvin Ridley
Since making his NFL debut in 2018, Calvin Ridley has made the Atlanta Falcons’ wide receiver position his own, taking over from long-standing legend Julio Jones. And it’s his cool ability to handle pressure situations that earns him a place within our top-10. During his pro career, Ridley averages a frankly awesome 12 yards per catch in crucial late-down plays, with an incredible 60% success rate.
6. Travis Kelce
Calmness personified: The Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce is ranked among the very best when it comes to handling the heat – and when you’re QB Mahomes’ safety blanket, you need to be at the top of your game! In fact, over the last five years, no other tight end has consistently demonstrated the same knack for coming up clutch during pressure plays.
7. Julio Jones
Julio Jones might be in the latter stages of his career, but he’s been the biggest name in Atlanta for the best part of the last decade, and what a tremendous player he’s been. What’s even more impressive — until the young Calvin Ridley came along for the Falcons, Jones carried the weight of expectations on his shoulders alone.
Unflinching under pressure, Jones boasts phenomenal figures when it comes to handling the gravity of late-game intensity, with his third and fourth down catch rate second to none.
8. Chris Carson
He might have slipped under the radar of many football fans, but Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson has earned a place as one of the top-10 pressure players for his consistent performances and excellent handling of high-stakes moments. Averaging five yards per carry in clutch situations, with a strong success rate of 55%, Carson continues to demonstrate that he can be relied on when it matters most.
9. Nick Chubb
Young Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb might have just three NFL seasons under his belt, but he’s already placed himself among the NFL’s top pressure players. Ranking ninth, according to our experts, Chubb is known for his enviable coolness during demanding plays – especially in the latter stages of tight games, where the result is determined by the tightest of margins. Averaging a remarkable 7.3 yards per rush in those spots, Chubb is a beast when it matters most.
10. Cooper Kupp
While Cooper Kupp might, at first, appear to be a wildcard entry as one of our top-10 pressure players, the LA Rams wide receiver has more than earned a place among the league’s elite thanks to his dominant pass-catching on third and fourth downs. In fact, over the last few seasons, no player has more touchdowns in the moments that matter — and averaging 11.6 yards per catch in those spots, he’s proven to be effortlessly capable.
The NFL has earned millions of fans around the globe for its exhilarating watchability and high-pressure plays. Discover all the latest NFL insight and picks from our experts for even more knowledgeable insight.