Friday, January 29, 2010
Updated: January 31, 2:38 AM ET
All 106 Super Bowl XLIV players ranked
By Scouts Inc.
Colts QB Peyton Manning recently claimed his fourth MVP award, so it stands to reason that he would top our rankings of the Super Bowl XLIV participants. But what about the other 105 players who are expected to suit up Feb. 7 in Miami? Who follows Manning? And who's No. 106?
For each player in our rankings, we took into consideration his current performance and his play throughout the season. A player's special-teams contribution also influenced our decision.
For players 1-45, click here.
He is a veteran player who is a converted end. He lacks size for a DT but can win at times with quickness. Has to play on the edges because he is not a quick player in the interior.
Former starting left tackle who showed promise early in his career. He has solid tools to work with and could benefit from a change of scenery.
He is on the roster but is not the Colts' starter in the postseason. He has been great for many years but is on the downside of his career.
Bell is a true hammer runner who isn't truly gifted. But he gives everything he has on every carry and is extremely physical. Bell is best in short yardage, but he can help wear down a defense. If New Orleans looks to overpower the smallish Colts at the point of attack, Bell could have a prominent role.
Gay is best suited as a sub-package cornerback, and this hasn't been his best season. Still, he has a place in any defense.
He is a young starter with excellent upside. He shows very good ball skills and plays bigger than his size in run support.
A Patriots castoff, Thomas has found a home in the Big Easy. He's undersized for a tight end and is certainly a better receiver than he is a run-blocker.
It hasn't gotten much publicity, but Jenkins hasn't lived up to his first-round draft slot during his rookie season. His future could be as Sharper's replacement at free safety.
He plays in a rotation at defensive tackle. He is one of the few interior players on the Colts with solid bulk for the position. He is a run-down defender who is limited as a pass-rusher.
He is a short, undersized interior defensive tackle who is not very physical at the point of attack but makes some plays when he is able to get up the field on the edges.
He is the starting right guard. He does not have great size but fits the Colts' offensive line philosophy in that he is a smart zone-blocker and can get to the second level.
He is a backup who had three catches during the regular season. He is built more in the H-back mode, which the Colts like at tight end.
In his two seasons in New Orleans, Hartley has attempted only 24 field goals. He has made 22 of them, and that doesn't include the clutch game-winner in the NFC title game against the Vikings. A larger body of work at this level would really help with his evaluation, but he has been impressive when he actually gets a chance to put it through the uprights.
Clearly the weak link on an exceptional Saints offensive line, Bushrod was thrust into action at left tackle after stalwart Jammal Brown was lost for the season. He is the worst starter on the Saints' offense. He did put the clamps on Jared Allen in the NFC Championship Game, but he did have loads of help.
A decent pass-rusher with some versatility to his game, Hargrove has been reasonably successful in the league and ideally can contribute as a wave player.
The rookie from SMU has great size as punters go and a big leg to go with it. He has saved his best efforts for the postseason, where he's averaging a whopping 48.2 per punt on 11 attempts. With a few more seasons in the league, his status should climb.
Backup who had only seven tackles on the season. He has been dressing in the postseason as the fourth and last rotational defensive tackle.
He is a versatile backup who can align at both the cornerback or safety positions. As a corner, he shows very good quickness in the slot. His lack of height hurts him on the island.
He started seven games as a rookie before moving into a backup role this season. His best asset is his versatility in that he can play center and guard.
Former rookie starter who has moved into a backup role this season. He adds solid value to their interior, as he can play center and either guard spot.
Young backup who has already bounced around the league some. He is a good fit in Indy, and they are riding him as a starter right now, as he has delivered the ability to be stout versus the run.
He is a rotational DT who plays the 3-technique in their system. He is undersized and must play the 3-technique as a slant DT to be effective.
Strief has been valuable when the Saints look to get physical and use him as a sixth offensive lineman. It was a tactic they employed against the Vikings, and it makes sense in the Super Bowl to pound the smaller Colts while also helping with edge pass-blocking against Mathis and Freeney.
|Jermon Bushrod (No. 59) managed to hold his ground in the NFC title game.|
CLEAR BACKUPS AND SPECIAL-TEAMS PLAYERS
He is a backup who has seen more action of late because the Colts' secondary has been beat-up. He is a smart, competitive player who is better versus the run than pass.
A king-sized defensive end, Spicer has lasted in this league a long time with some ups and downs. His career is winding down in a hurry, but the Saints felt as though they might need him when Charles Grant went down.
Roby has had a strange career path, and though he's talented, he has never put it together as a wideout. Instead, he is making his mark on special teams as a return man for the Saints. He is adept at returning both punts and kickoffs.
Nesbit has not had to play much this season and is suited for a backup role. But he is massive and can fill in at numerous spots on the offensive line. For those reasons, he is a nice guy to have around on game day.
Undersized by linebacker standards, Casillas moves very well and is aggressive. He is very good in pursuit, though, and has worked out well on special teams. There is upside here.
A tall, well-built cornerback who can run, Young is somewhat stiff in transition and might be better off at free safety.
Stuck in an extremely crowded backfield, Hamilton has had very few opportunities to show what he can do with the ball in his hands. However, he hasn't been bad when given a shot and is a core special-teams player who is aggressive in both facets.
Dinkins is a glue player who has worked very hard to stay in the league as long as he has. Most people don't realize how valuable these type of guys can be to a team behind the scenes, and he won't embarrass himself on game day.
We all remember how good a quarterback Brunell was in Jacksonville in his prime. Now, he never sees meaningful snaps. It is difficult to speculate how far his game has dropped, but he does still fit Sean Payton's system pretty well, and his knowledge of the game surely is extremely valuable in the quarterback meeting room. As for ranking him -- we concede that this might be too low. Or if we saw him in action for an extended stretch, it might be too high.
He is a backup who has been active all season but sees little action on defense. He is one of their better special-teams players.
He's a young backup who finished the regular season with nine grabs. A very good athlete with some raw skills to build around.
A wide-bodied run-stuffer, he is just marginal in that capacity and offers next to nothing from a pass-rushing perspective.
Former Cardinals safety who landed in Indy last year. He is a very good special-teams player.
Backup who has gotten more touches late in the season. They are not afraid to play him, as he is a good blocker and runs hard.
Backup who sees little to no playing time in the Colts' offense. He has value, but the Colts' young receivers developed, leaving him standing on the sidelines.
Waters is a hitter who helps on special teams and has a fair amount of ability, but he doesn't play with a really low center of gravity and can struggle as a take-on linebacker.
Prioleau has been in the league a very long time, and although he isn't special in any one area, his experience is valuable. But his skills are declining, and he might not be long for the NFL.
An undersized center who doesn't fit the Saints' beefy mold for interior offensive linemen, Leckey is a solid technician and a scrappy pivot man who could get them out of a game if Goodwin were to go down.
A tough-guy fullback on a team that seldom uses the position, Eckel is very easy to root for. However, besides his effort, there isn't much here to get excited about.
The Colts do not really use a fullback in their offense, so he is basically the fourth running back.
We saw late in the season that he is far from being ready to play. He is smart and understands the system. He has a lot of work to do if he is going to be the Colts' backup in 2010.
Undrafted backup who saw some action this season, finishing with 32 tackles and a forced fumble. He is on the small side but runs well.
|Colts QB Curtis Painter (No. 89) struggled in brief playing time this season.|
This veteran linebacker is far from a household name, but he knows what it takes to stay in the league. He does his best work on special teams.
Shorter than you would like for a tight end and just an average athlete, Humphrey makes his mark on special teams -- like most of the players at this area of our rankings.
Mitchell is a well-built linebacker who looks the part and does most of his damage as a special-teamer.
This is a young player with some ability, but the production just hasn't been there thus far.
A safety with good size, Reis has value as a special-teams player and isn't bashful in that phase of the game.
He is their backup fourth tackle, which means he is usually inactive on Sunday.
He is a depth player who is well down the line in their typical defensive end rotation, but he also contributes on special teams. He is a much better player versus the run than the pass.
Arrington has a big frame and can help out on special teams. He is a slow-twitch receiver but is very young, so improvement is possible.
Kyle is fine at what he does, but he is a long-snapper, so how high can we really rank him?
He is the Colts' long-snapper. He does not have positional value but does a good job on kick and punt snaps with placement.
He is a backup who rarely sees the field.
Daniel was a big name in college and does have some potential down the line in this offense, but he is physically limited and has done nothing to get excited about.
He is a backup who is buried on their depth chart. Has some measurables to develop as a backup.
He is an undersized backup whom the Colts are trying to develop.
He is basically the fourth tight end on the depth chart. Versatile enough to play tight end or H-back in their offense.
Developmental player who didn't accumulate any stats this season.
For players 1-45, click here.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.