Wednesday, August 28, 2013
#NFLrank: Cardinals playing catchup
By Mike Sando
Eleven Seattle Seahawks, 10 San Francisco 49ers and four St. Louis Rams have appeared 21st through 100th in ESPN's #NFLrank project singling out 100 top players on each side of the ball. Linebacker Daryl Washington (59th on defense) and defensive lineman Darnell Dockett (79th) are the only Ariziona Cardinals appearing thus far, a starting point for discussion here.
As we size up where Arizona stands within the NFC West, these rankings tell us about perceptions -- and probably reality to a large degree as well.
This was an ambitious project featuring 63 voters. There were sure to be oversights, and with only two Cardinals appearing thus far, we're reminded that the team lost 11 of its final 12 games in 2012.
We can safely assume that Larry Fitzgerald ranks among the as-yet-unrevealed top 20 players on offense. Patrick Peterson and Calais Campbell are two less established players I would also rank highly.
We'll see the fuller picture as the final rankings are released over the next couple days. For now, though, the chart shows NFC West players ranking 21st through 100th on either side of the ball, with Cardinals selections in gray.
Former Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin checks in at No. 83 on offense entering his first season with the San Francisco 49ers.
Fitzgerald, though coming off a down season by his standards, should in my view rank higher than any offensive player in the division.
Vernon Davis, Richard Sherman, Patrick Willis, Justin Smith, Aldon Smith, NaVorro Bowman and Earl Thomas are among the other non-Cardinals in the division we might expect to see placing among the top 20 of the respective rankings.