Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The top 100 players in the NFL
By Dan Graziano
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
The folks at Sporting News put together a panel of at least 27 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and various executives across the league to vote on the top 100 current players in the league. As you might expect, quarterbacks across the NFL led the way by securing 12 spots. But you may be shocked by who was left off the list. The SN panel put Eagles backup Michael Vick at No. 88, but left off Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers, Carson Palmer. Does that make sense to anyone?
Here are the NFC East players who showed up on the list:
6. DT Albert Haynesworth, Redskins -- I don't really have a problem with Haynesworth in this spot, but I'm not sure LaDainian Tomlinson is the fifth-best player in the league right now.
15. OLB DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys -- I fear that this list loses some credibility by ranking Ware this low. He's arguably the best defender in the game -- and the panel ranked him behind Haynesworth, Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu, Ray Lewis and Dwight Freeney. Ware's the best pass-rusher in the game and he deserves to be in the top 10. Perhaps the panelists were handing out lifetime achievement awards.
17. RB Brian Westbrook, Eagles -- When healthy, Westbrook's one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the game. He was the third running back on the list.
22. QB Donovan McNabb, Eagles -- McNabb's the best QB in the NFC East? I didn't realize that.
28. DE Osi Umenyiora, Giants -- Maybe the ballots were passed out immediately after the Giants' Super Bowl win.
38. TE Jason Witten, Cowboys -- I'm not sure why Tony Gonzalez is 28 spots ahead of Witten.
39. S Brian Dawkins, Eagles -- Yes, I know he's playing for the Broncos now, but SN listed him as an Eagles for top 100 purposes.
43. RB Clinton Portis, Redskins -- Maybe a little low for Portis, but he's showing signs of wear and tear.
46. DE Justin Tuck, Giants -- Way too low. At this point, I'd rank him ahead of Umenyiora. He's the most respected voice in the Giants' locker room.
50. QB Eli Manning, Giants -- I'd have him at least 20 spots earlier. And I'd probably put him ahead of McNabb.
52. CB Asante Samuel, Eagles -- One of the best corners in the game shows up right behind Brett Favre and his balky shoulder.
53. G Chris Snee, Giants -- He's quietly emerged as one of the best in the league. Good to see him get recognized.
74. DE Trent Cole, Eagles -- One of the true unsung heroes in the league. Faces a lot of double teams but still makes plays.
79. G Leonard Davis, Cowboys -- He's been pretty consistent with the Cowboys. Absolutely dominant at times.
84. C Andre Gurode, Cowboys -- He'd emerged as one of the top centers in the league, but his game tapered off last season.
85. DT Jay Ratliff -- If SN puts more coaches on the panel, Ratliff would be at least 30 spots higher. A relentless player who causes a lot of trouble up front.
88. QB Michael Vick -- C'mon! To put Vick ahead of Romo and Palmer is plain silly.
Who's missing from the Beast? Antonio Pierce, David Diehl, Marc Colombo, Kenny Phillips, Chris Cooley, Santana Moss, DeSean Jackson, Quintin Mikell, Bradie James, Terence Newman, LaRon Landry, London Fletcher ... you guys fill out the rest of the list.