California is a massive state both in terms of land mass (163,696 mi²) and population (approximately 39.2 million), but it didn’t lead the way in producing the most NFL players in 2021. Florida and Texas both ranked ahead of The Golden State, with 192 and 189 NFL players, respectively. California came in at third with 168 current NFL ballers, which is nothing to sneeze at.
Even more impressive is the level of talent that hails from the 31st state to join the union. There are some obvious all-timers and possibly the most talent from top to bottom among all states.
California is very well represented in professional football, but who are the best of the best? Here are my picks.
Top 5 NFL Players From California
5: Davante Adams (wr, Green bay packers – Palo Alto, cA)
Adams is about to become one of the most sought-after unrestricted NFL free agents when his contract with the Packers expires at the end of the season. The respect that the pass-catcher from Palo Alto has earned is well-deserved after being selected to 5 consecutive Pro-Bowls and garnering First-Team All-Pro honors in 2020.
Currently, the 6-1, 215 pound Fresno State alumnus ranks 3rd in the NFL with 1,248 receiving yards and has scored 8 touchdowns. The future is still bright for the 28-year-old Adams, who is going to get paid in 2022.
4: Alex MaCK (c, San Francisco 49ers – Santa Barbara, Ca)
Arguably, the most important offensive position outside of the quarterback is the center. The center is responsible for making line calls and identifying defenses just before delivering the snap before immediately engaging in violent hand-to-hand combat with some of the nastiest of nasties in the trenches.
This is all just routine to 49ers’ center Alex Mack at this point. The 6-4, 311-pounder from Santa Barbara has been nothing but incredible over his 13-season NFL career. Selected number 21 overall by the Browns in 2009, Mack is a 3-time 2nd-Team All-Pro, a 6-time Pro-Bowler, and he was named to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 2010s.
Mack has simply been the archetype of consistency over his career, and at 36-years-old, the veteran anchor still has some left in the tank for a few more years.
3: bOBBY wAGNER (lb, Seattle Seahawks – Ontario, Ca)
All the Ontario native has done is win 6 First-Team All-Pro awards in his first 9 years in the NFL. Impressively, Wagner is currently tied with Aaron Donald for the most All-Pro awards among active players. With the NFL lead at 158 total tackles, the 31-year-old middle linebacker is poised to win his 7th All-Pro award this season.
In addition to Wagner’s tackling prowess, he owns a Super Bowl ring and was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2010s. Not bad for a 2-star high school recruit who played college ball in Logan, Utah. Wagner has certainly earned his spot as one of the best NFL players from California.
2: AARON rODGERS (QB, Green bay packers – cHICO, cA)
Aaron Rodgers made headlines recently for his offseason discord with the Packers, along with an interesting interpretation of what it means to be immunized or vaccinated. Distractions aside, one thing is clear: the dude can still flat out sling it.
The Super Bowl Champion from Chico is currently considered one of the front-runners to win the NFL regular season MVP award, which would be the 4th of his career. If he does win his 4th MVP this season, only Peyton Manning would have more at 5. Rodgers will never be the GOAT, but he is definitely on a short list of the best ever.
Currently, the 38-year-old signal caller ranks 1st in the NFL in QBR at 67.3, and he has his Packers poised to make a title run in what might be his last season in Green Bay.
1: tOM bRADY (qB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – San Mateo, Ca)
The GOAT has done so much in his career at this point that it’s almost strange to include him on a list like this; he really belongs in a separate category all of his own. That being said, the 44-year-old from San Mateo will continue to rack up stats and accolades as long as he can stand upright and toss the old pigskin around.
Brady has won 7 Super Bowls, 5 Super Bowl MVPs, 3 NFL MVPs, and has been a Pro-Bowler 15 times. To top it off, he currently leads the NFL in passing, with 4,348 yards in 14 games so far. Brady has his Buccaneers in a great position to repeat as Super Bowl champions as well, sitting atop the NFC South at 10-4.
Can he win his 8th Super Bowl? I would not bet against him.
Want more top five nfl player state rankings?
Here is the current lineup of the top five players from each state!