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Identifying the top players in the NFL is one thing. Sorting all the stars into a rundown of the Top 100 is another. Yet that's what CBS Sports Senior Writer Pete Prisco has done in advance of the 2024 season.

Which players made -- or missed -- the cut? You can check out the entire Top 100 pecking order right here. In the meantime, here are seven key takeaways from Prisco's 2024 edition of the annual ranking:

1. 49ers are the cream of the crop

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While quarterback Brock Purdy has apparently yet to convince Prisco he's one of the game's elite signal-callers, coming in at No. 85 after his second straight MVP-level performance, San Francisco still stood out as the top team represented. Not only do the 49ers have an NFL-best nine players on Prisco's Top 100 list, three of them fell in the top 10 alone: offensive tackle Trent Williams (No. 3), running back Christian McCaffrey (No. 8) and defensive end Nick Bosa (No. 10). It's a testament to the firm infrastructure built and overseen by coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, who've been knocking on the door of a title for years. Is another Super Bowl bid in the cards? We'd count on it.

2. Aaron Rodgers hype is building (again)

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Somehow, the New York Jets quarterback ranked 29th in Prisco's 2023 rundown, only to move up (!) nine spots for 2024, now that he's a year older and coming off a torn Achilles, credited with a mere four snaps in his Gang Green debut. And yet Prisco isn't alone in professing faith in A-Rod, who is remarkably his fifth-ranked quarterback in the Top 100; the former MVP's current and ex-teammates continue to rave about the gas left in his tank. Perhaps more importantly, the Jets actually addressed Rodgers' offensive line this offseason, fortifying the front with additions young and old. It doesn't mean Rodgers himself will be back to peak form, but it sure helps the cause.

3. Other elite QBs have lost some trust

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While Rodgers got Prisco's bump, a slew of other big-name -- and handsomely paid -- quarterbacks saw their stock take a big hit from 2023. Here are some of the notable drops: Joe Burrow (down 12 spots to No. 15), Trevor Lawrence (down 39 spots to No. 62), Jalen Hurts (down 22 spots to No. 53), and Justin Herbert (down 19 spots to No. 41). Interestingly enough, each of those quarterbacks were banged up for significant portions of the 2023 campaign. But each of them must also cut down on turnovers moving forward. Are they still elite at the position? Most signs would indicate as much. Yet it's clear they've got some work to do to restore full confidence under center.

4. Truly dynamic RBs remain a rare breed

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Prisco has long preached about the replaceability of starting ball carriers, so his decision to feature just two running backs in the Top 100 is unsurprising. His placement and selection is notable, though: McCaffrey made it all the way to No. 8 (up 19 spots from 2023) after a workhorse season in San Francisco, suggesting it's still possible for a back to be the centerpiece of a contemporary offense. The Baltimore Ravens' Derrick Henry (No. 91), meanwhile, made the cut over comparable talents like Josh Jacobs and Saquon Barkley, big-name omissions who also changed teams in free agency. Barkley, in particular, could have a chance for a major leap while enjoying the Philadelphia Eagles' supporting cast.

5. The Lions are no longer underdogs

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This has been apparent for a while -- at least since Detroit advanced to the NFC title game on the back of a rejuvenated Jared Goff, an ultra-aggressive Dan Campbell, etc. Prisco confirmed the Lions' ascent by putting seven different Motor City players into the Top 100, tied for the second most with the Ravens and reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs. Goff, who was unranked in 2023, came in at No. 76, ahead of even Purdy and Green Bay Packers gunslinger Jordan Love; while young trench standouts Penei Sewell (No. 17) and Aidan Hutchinson (No. 47) made massive leaps from a year ago. No one would be surprised if the Lions remain one of the NFC's top contenders, even after their gut-wrenching 2023 exit.

6. Youth is king in the secondary

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Big names like Jalen Ramsey and Marshon Lattimore may still resonate in 2024, but the truth is, fresh legs are often a priority in the defensive backfield, and that's reflected by the widespread rise of younger cornerbacks and safeties in Prisco's rankings. Chiefs cover man Trent McDuffie, for example, went from unranked in 2023 to No. 30 this year, when he'll be without fellow Super Bowl starter L'Jarius Sneed. And he's just one of several back-end players who were nowhere to be found on Prisco's 2023 rundown, only to secure respected spots this year. Others include Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (No. 31), Chicago Bears corner Jaylon Johnson (No. 34) and Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton (No. 36).

7. Texas is talented, and so is Florida

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Behind the 49ers, Chiefs, Lions and Ravens, these teams had the most representation in Prisco's Top 100: the Dallas Cowboys (6), Houston Texans (6), Philadelphia Eagles (6), Miami Dolphins (5) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5). All five made the playoffs in 2023, and all five are looking to take it a step further in 2024. Houston is a popular Super Bowl pick after C.J. Stroud's star emergence as a rookie, while the Cowboys and Eagles both have proven head coaches under pressure to maximize all-star lineups. Tampa Bay is perhaps the most intriguing inclusion, considering the Bucs barely escaped the NFC South and essentially "ran it back" this offseason. They're quietly seeking a fourth straight division title in 2024.