The 2021 NFL season is finally in sight. But this year, unlike seasons past, players may be wearing jersey numbers unfamiliar to even trained eyes. Thanks to loosened restrictions that enable different positions to rock single digits starting this fall, some of the league's top talent will be sporting a new look. With that in mind, we decided to revisit every single number -- from 1 to 99 -- and identify the best player set to wear each one going into the 2021 campaign.
Let's get right to it, starting from the top at No. 1:
1 -- Kyler Murray, Cardinals QB
2 -- Julio Jones, Titans WR
Once reserved for kickers, punters and the occasional QB, this number is now loaded with skill talent. Matt Ryan, D.J. Moore, Darius Slay and Robert Woods are honorable mentions. Other notables: Carson Wentz, Dyami Brown, Patrick Surtain II.
3 -- Russell Wilson, Seahawks QB
No debate. And no real competition, either.
4 -- Dak Prescott, Cowboys QB
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5 -- Jalen Ramsey, Rams CB
6 -- Baker Mayfield, Browns QB
7 -- Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers QB
8 -- Lamar Jackson, Ravens QB
9 -- Matthew Stafford, Rams QB
10 -- Tyreek Hill, Chiefs WR
Man, this is close. Chargers QB Justin Herbert and Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins are equally as spectacular at their respective peaks. A year from now, Herbert might be the no-brainer. Others to watch: Cooper Kupp and Jerry Jeudy.
11 -- A.J. Brown, Titans WR
Julio Jones Lite. Make that two Titans pass catchers in the first 11 numbers.
12 -- Tom Brady, Buccaneers QB
This went to Aaron Rodgers in 2020. A-Rod is still more physically gifted, but how can this not be Brady, who refuses to age and/or stop delivering when it matters most? This is his number.
13 -- Keenan Allen, Chargers WR
14 -- Stefon Diggs, Bills WR
Only Chris Godwin offers competition here.
15 -- Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs QB
And he is real competition for the all-time owner, five-time NFL champion Bart Starr.
16 -- Tyler Lockett, Seahawks WR
Still doesn't get nearly enough credit for his production.
17 -- Davante Adams, Packers WR
This is a tough call, with Bills QB Josh Allen emerging as a top five playmaker at his position. For now, the nod goes to the longer track record, with Adams clearly among the game's best No. 1 wideouts.
18 -- Justin Jefferson, Vikings WR
Calvin Ridley works as well.
19 -- Adam Thielen, Vikings WR
20 -- Marcus Maye, Jets S
This once belonged firmly to Ramsey (now No. 5). It deserves more competition.
21 -- Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys RB
Not a ton of other options. Zeke needs a big year to confirm he remains a top 10 ball-carrier.
22 -- Derrick Henry, Titans RB
Christian McCaffrey is more versatile, but Henry is more fearsome.
23 -- Jaire Alexander, Packers CB
24 -- Nick Chubb, Browns RB
25 -- Xavien Howard, Dolphins CB
Richard Sherman's run is over. Howard is motivated after several years of top production on the outside.
26 -- Saquon Barkley, Giants RB
27 -- Tre'Davious White, Bills CB
28 -- Joe Mixon, Bengals RB
He brings more explosiveness when healthy than fellow RB Josh Jacobs.
29 -- Tarik Cohen, Bears RB
30 -- Jessie Bates III, Bengals S
Austin Ekeler is awesome for the Chargers when healthy, but Bates has quietly emerged as a steady playmaker.
31 -- Justin Simmons, Broncos S
Look out for Antoine Winfield Jr. down the road.
32 -- Tyrann Mathieu, Chiefs S
Apparently the 30s are made for rangy safeties. Seahawks RB Chris Carson gets honorable mention.
33 -- Dalvin Cook, Vikings RB
Jamal Adams once looked like a lock here. Now, there's no question: Cook is one of the NFL's premier playmakers.
34 -- Brian Poole, Saints CB
35 -- Gus Edwards, Ravens RB
Underrated player. Eagles backup Boston Scott is the only true competition.
36 -- Chuck Clark, Ravens S
Another quiet standout in Baltimore.
37 -- Damien Harris, Patriots RB
He's due for a big year as the headliner of New England's backfield.
38 -- T.J. Carrie, Colts CB
Not a popular number, but Carrie has fared well in a tough Colts secondary.
39 -- Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers S
Few defensive backs have hovered around the ball as well.
40 -- Malik Harrison, Ravens LB
The youngster is due for an expanded role in Baltimore's stingy "D."
41 -- Alvin Kamara, Saints RB
When you're one of the NFL's most slippery and explosive ball-carriers, you can make any number look cool.
42 -- Patrick Ricard, Ravens FB
An oft-overlooked piece of Baltimore's NFL-pacing rushing attack.
43 -- Marcus Williams, Saints S
Haason Reddick is another name to watch, so long as his 2020 wasn't a flash in the pan.
44 -- Marlon Humphrey, Ravens CB
Who said No. 1 corners can't wear jerseys in the 40s?
45 -- Deion Jones, Falcons LB
You can also argue for Devin White, who appears to have the higher ceiling after a promising postseason.
46 -- Morgan Cox, Titans LS
The longtime snapper for Justin Tucker field goals in Baltimore, he's entering his 12th NFL season.
47 -- Joe Schobert, Jaguars LB
He hasn't been nearly as good as his numbers suggest, but he's still a proven inside starter.
48 -- Bud Dupree, Titans OLB
Let's see if his Steelers ascension can translate to the Titans' front.
49 -- Tremaine Edmunds, Bills LB
He's still got things to prove, but you can do a lot worse at this position (and jersey number).
50 -- Vita Vea, Buccaneers DT
If he can stay healthy, he should anchor Tampa Bay's Super Bowl-caliber front.
51 -- Azeez Ojulari, Giants OLB
He brings the most potential to a New York pass rush group that needs his help immediately.
52 -- Khalil Mack, Bears LB
Still a terrorizing presence for offensive lines. Look out for Washington rookie Jamin Davis down the road.
53 -- Darius Leonard, Colts LB
One of the nastiest, most reliable players at his position.
54 -- Fred Warner, 49ers LB
55 -- Za'Darius Smith, Packers OLB
56 -- Quenton Nelson, Colts OG
Few offensive linemen are as powerful and reliable.
57 -- Dre Greenlaw, 49ers LB
Maybe one of the most underrated up-and-coming linebackers in the NFL.
58 -- Shaquil Barrett, Buccaneers OLB
Von Miller is probably interchangeable here (and certainly has the all-time edge), but Barrett is still just hitting his prime.
59 -- De'Vondre Campbell, Packers LB
Green Bay should be a nice fit after a detour in Arizona.
60 -- Ben Jones, Titans C
Pave the way for Henry.
61 -- Rodney Hudson, Cardinals C
Murray is thankful for his arrival.
62 -- Jason Kelce, Eagles C
The run on centers continues. Kelce remains ever athletic and feisty.
63 -- Corey Linsley, Chargers C
Maybe the Chargers' best addition of 2021.
64 -- JC Tretter, Browns C
You could form a whole All-Pro O-line with all these centers in the 60s!
65 -- Lane Johnson, Eagles OT
Prone to injury and slip-ups, he's still one of the game's best right tackles.
66 -- Ryan Jensen, Buccaneers C
Not necessarily elite, but a solid starter for a championship lineup.
67 -- Justin Pugh, Cardinals OG
Nothing special here, but Pugh has experience on Arizona's revamped front.
68 -- Taylor Decker, Lions OT
One of several underrated pieces on Detroit's O-line.
69 -- David Bakhtiari, Packers OT
This man helps keep Rodgers happy.
70 -- Zack Martin, Cowboys OG
Still one of the game's top interior blockers when he's on the field.
71 -- Trent Williams, 49ers OT
72 -- Garett Bolles, Broncos OT
73 -- Dion Dawkins, Bills OT
Rams OG David Edwards is a name to keep an eye on down the road.
74 -- Ali Marpet, Buccaneers OG
Another rock-solid piece of a championship front. The Packers' Elgton Jenkins is also on the rise.
75 -- Joel Bitonio, Browns OG
Tough call between him and Washington Pro Bowler Brandon Scherff. Both guys are maulers for good O-lines.
76 -- Duane Brown, Seahawks OT
There's a reason Wilson wants Seattle to pay him.
77 -- Frank Ragnow, Lions C
78 -- Orlando Brown Jr., Chiefs OT
79 -- Ronnie Stanley, Ravens OT
Brandon Brooks is honorable mention.
80 -- Jarvis Landry, Browns WR
For a prime WR number, No. 80 is sorely lacking starting-caliber options outside of the Browns' sure-handed target.
81 -- Mike Williams, Chargers WR
82 -- Logan Thomas, Washington TE
83 -- Darren Waller, Raiders TE
Tyler Boyd is probably still underrated, but Waller is now one of the steadiest pass targets in the entire NFL.
84 -- Corey Davis, Jets WR
Irv Smith Jr. might be due for a big year in Minnesota, but Davis has proven he belongs as a starter on the outside.
85 -- George Kittle, 49ers TE
No matter who's throwing passes in 2021, he's bound to return to Pro Bowl form.
86 -- Zach Ertz, Eagles TE
Yes, he was hurt and ineffective for much of 2020, but he didn't die. This is still a reliable target when healthy.
87 -- Travis Kelce, Chiefs TE
He's aged like a fine wine. Who's betting against another 1,000-yard season this year?
88 -- CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys WR
89 -- Mark Andrews, Ravens TE
Unless Kadarius Toney explodes as a rookie in New York, this number should stick with Andrews for a while.
90 -- T.J. Watt, Steelers OLB
91 -- Fletcher Cox, Eagles DT
He's not always as dominant as he should be, but you're still talking about a Pro Bowl talent.
92 -- Marcus Davenport, Saints DE
Not a ton of competition for this spot. Davenport is still trying to live up to his first-round reputation.
93 -- Jonathan Allen, Washington DT
Calais Campbell owns the all-time edge, but Allen is a force on Washington's ferocious front.
94 -- Cameron Jordan, Saints DE
95 -- Myles Garrett, Browns DE
Close call with Chiefs DT Chris Jones, another disruptive force, but you always want a premium edge rusher.
96 -- Shelby Harris, Broncos DT
A sturdy piece of a stingy front.
97 -- Nick Bosa, 49ers DE
98 -- Linval Joseph, Chargers DT
Fellow former Vikings lineman Sheldon Richardson would've gotten consideration as well, had he not switched to No. 9.
99 -- Aaron Donald, Rams DT
Had Danielle Hunter stayed healthy in 2020, he might've been in the mix here. He's not the only top talent worthy of an honorable mention, either: DeForest Buckner, Chase Young and J.J. Watt all share No. 99 with the freakish Donald.