Nearly two years after he began his first All-Pro campaign and just months since he concluded first Pro Bowl season, safety Justin Simmons has a new accolade to his name: NFL Top 100 selection.
In the annual list, Simmons came in at No. 45, as ranked by a poll of NFL players around the league. NFL Network unveiled Nos. 100-41 on Sunday as part of a six-hour "The Top 100 Players of 2021" series. The remaining 40 players will be revealed in successive shows on Aug. 22 and Aug. 26.
Simmons has risen through the ranks at his position in recent years, and some observers from around the league consider him the best safety in the league.
"One of the best safeties if not the best safety in the league," Raiders tight end Darren Waller said of Simmons.
So too did Broncos GM George Paton, and he told Simmons as much when the two spoke on the phone after agreeing on a new long-term contract for the star safety.
But there's hopefully more in store for Simmons in his sixth season as he continues to improve.
"I go back and watch the film and I feel like there's a lot of plays that you're always trying to figure out," Simmons said in July. "'What was I thinking here?' How can I get better, whether that's a physically fatiguing thing or a mentally fatiguing thing. There's always plays out there where you can get better and can grow. I wholeheartedly 100 percent agree with that statement. If we're going to be where we want to be and get to the goals that we have set, I have to make those 20 plays better and I have to play at a higher level. I'm really excited for that. It'll be great. Every year is a new year. It doesn't matter what you did the year prior. That's what I'm looking forward to."
Simmons joins tackle Garett Bolles (No. 82) as Broncos who made this year's top-100 list.