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Monday, June 27, 2011
DeMarcus Ware just misses top 10

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Things are getting pretty interesting on this NFL Network list of top 100 players. They unveiled Nos. 11-20 on Sunday night, and two NFC East players showed up in the second 10. Eagles quarterback Michael Vick landed at No. 20 on the list, which was voted on by NFL players. And coming in at No. 12 was the Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware.

The initial reaction to Ware's ranking seems to have been that calling someone the 12th-best player in the league is some sort of horrendous insult. Cowboys fans seemed to be in a minor uproar that Ware wasn't in the top 10. Our man Todd Archer, of ESPNDallas.com, tweeted that the "players got that wrong," specifically citing Ware's ranking behind Chicago's Julius Peppers, who will be in the top 10.

Now, I may be the wrong (or maybe the right) person to ask, since I ranked Peppers (and James Harrison and four others) ahead of Ware in our defensive player power rankings last month. But this here is a player vote, and frankly I'm not surprised to see Peppers ahead of Ware on a player-voted list. I spoke with several different players last December on the topic of who should be the league's defensive MVP, and at least three of them said Peppers, unsolicited. Their general feeling was that Peppers' impact on the Bears' defense in 2010 was too dramatic to overlook.

I don't know (nor did I get the sense) that plays have anything against Ware or Troy Polamalu or Clay Matthews or anybody else who would have qualified for that list as of December. And look. Let's not get crazy here. We are talking about a guy his peers just ranked the 12th-best player in the entire league. That's no insult, no matter how you may want to look at it. This list is not definitive, nor is it infallible. It reflects the opinions of the players around the league. And they hold Peppers in very high regard.

As for Vick...sure. That 20 spot looks about right, I guess. Between No. 11 Aaron Rodgers and No. 26 Philip Rivers on the list of quarterbacks. Some will say he's too high, some too low, but his ranking looks about right to me. Just my opinion, though. That's all any of this is -- opinion.