- Mike Sando, NFL Insider
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The Scouts Inc. Top 200 rankings for NFL players take a while to digest. I've gone through them and made a few initial notations with the NFC West in mind:
Cream of the crop: Larry Fitzgerald remains the highest-ranked player in the division. He's No. 8, up two spots from last year. Justin Smith (10th) and Patrick Willis (12th) give the NFC West three of the top 12 overall players. That's pretty good in a league with eight divisions. None of those NFC West players is a quarterback, however.
No longer ranked: Frank Gore was 114th last season. He rushed for 1,200-plus yards for a team that went 13-3, but he doesn't make the Top 200 for 2012. Steven Jackson (116th) and Marshawn Lynch (131st) were the only NFC West running backs to make the list this year. Other previously ranked players failing to make the cut, with their 2011 rankings in parenthesis: Quintin Mikell (75th), Sidney Rice (104th), Donte Whitner (117th), Jason Brown (141st, no longer with St. Louis), Russell Okung (145th), Zach Miller (159th) and Marcus Trufant (199th).
Notable risers: Aldon Smith went from unlisted to 51st overall. Other previously unlisted players to make the list included Chris Long (75th), NaVorro Bowman (80th), Earl Thomas (120th), Lynch (131st), James Laurinaitis (151st), Patrick Peterson (160th), Daryl Washington (165th), Carlos Rogers (175th), Joe Staley (176th, Andy Lee (183rd), Dashon Goldson (184th) and Red Bryant (194th).
I can also break this down by team, based on my initial run through the rankings:
Arizona: Fitzgerald (8th), Campbell (45th), Dockett (119th), Adrian Wilson (140th), Peterson (160th), Washington (165th).
St. Louis: Long (75th), Finnegan (101st), Jackson (116th), Laurinaitis (151st), Wells (195th).
San Francisco: Justin Smith (10th, up from 25th last year), Willis (12th), Aldon Smith (51st), Vernon Davis (65th, up from 111th), Bowman (80th), Mike Iupati (103rd), Rogers (175th), Staley (176th), Lee (183rd), Goldson (184th).
Seattle: Chris Clemons (105th), Thomas (120th), Lynch (131st), Bryant (194th).
The Seahawks have fewer players listed than the Rams. In looking at the rankings, Scouts Inc. ranks quite a few Seattle players with 79 grades, right on the edge of inclusion. Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Brandon Mebane were among the players in that range.
I'll take a closer look at these as time permits.
The Scouts Inc. Top 200 rankings for NFL players take a while to digest. I've gone through them and made a few initial notations with the NFC West in mind: Cream of the crop: Larry Fitzgerald remains the highest-ranked player in the division.