Friday, January 28, 2011
All 106 Super Bowl XLV players ranked
By Matt Williamson
It wasn't the easiest of choices, but Ben Roethlisberger is the No. 1 player in our rankings of Super Bowl XLV participants. But what about the other 105 players who are expected to suit up Feb. 6 in Arlington, Texas? Who follows Roethlisberger? 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 1-48, click here.
Redman has made some big plays this season. He is a hard-charging runner who can help wear down a defense as a complement to Rashard Mendenhall.
One of the Packers' many fullbacks, Johnson is a pure blocker. He is especially strong in protection and could be especially useful helping pick up the Steelers' impressive blitz package.
Hoke's niche is simple. He is a tough guy, a backup nose tackle who can't hold the point like this defense needs week after week. Still, he's a good fill-in who doesn't embarrass himself when given a lot of snaps.
In 2009, Gay was miscast as a starting cornerback. And even as a nickel corner, he has been a liability at times. But Gay is very young and might be able to step up his game as a zone corner with average speed.
Pittsburgh's second-round draft pick has done a nice job on special teams. He fits the mold of what the Steelers want at outside linebacker. Worilds could be strong if given the chance -- but cracking the lineup at that position is nearly impossible.
This is the starting strong safety in the best secondary in the league. But he is also the biggest liability among the regulars.
He has benefited from Jermichael Finley's injury. No one is in Finley's class athletically, but Quarless isn't a tremendous drop off in that capacity. This has been a learning year.
The Steelers use a lot of two TE sets and that could be their predominant base personnel grouping against the Packers. Green Bay's defense has had a difficult time containing tight ends.
Mundy is not a quick-twitch guy and certainly the drop off from Troy Polamalu to Mundy was severe. But if you just analyze how Mundy played on his own merits while Polamalu was out, he did quite well.
Crosby is a talented young kicker who was pretty solid on field goals this season. The real problem for Crosby has been kickoffs.
Walden is the starting right outside linebacker but has had only one strong game as a starter. Overall, he hasn't played the run well or consistently harassed the quarterback. Green Bay needs more from him against Pittsburgh and LT Jonathan Scott, who can certainly be had.
Foster is far from a great player, but right guard was a massive hole in an already suspect offensive line before he took over. So, in some ways, Foster has been a pleasant surprise and something of a stabilizing factor.
Lang saw action at left tackle against the Bears, which made Green Bay quite weak with its edge protection against such a good defense. He is a bit of a tackle/guard tweener, but if done right for the long term, he could be a valuable swing man.
Moore isn't flashy, but he has quietly gotten the job done. He can handle early-down carries but is better off in a third-down role. He doesn't bring the big-play ability that coaches covet for that distinction.
Leftwich has plenty of NFL experience and understands the game. He also has a huge arm. As backup quarterbacks go, you could do much worse. But he also has a very exaggerated windup and can't get out of the way of pass-rushers, which is a huge problem behind Pittsburgh's offensive line.
He has lasted in the league for some time now and reinvented himself as a 3-4 defensive end after being drafted as an upfield three technique type.
Hall is a solid all-around blocker who will very rarely touch the ball. He sees the least playing time of the Packers' fullbacks.
It was Legursky who got the call at center when Maurkice Pouncey went down. He is not physically imposing, but he is gritty and tough. The Steelers like his movement skills enough to sometimes line him up in the backfield in short-yardage situations. Still, they should be praying for Pouncey to play.
Scott was forced into the starting left tackle spot when Max Starks was lost for the season. Let's just say that he is not starting material. But he is the type of guy who has value at either tackle spot as a backup when those above him on the depth chart are healthy.
|Crosby made 22 of 28 field goal attempts this season.|
Lee has been more or less phased out of the Packers' offense. They want more dangerous receiving threats at the position, like Finley or Quarless, which Lee isn't at this point of his career. And his blocking has been a big problem, too.
Better at guard than tackle, Essex is smart and does provide the versatility to play four line positions. But in the end, he isn't good enough at any of them and is best as a seventh O-lineman on game day.
Randle El still can provide a gimmicky aspect to an offense, but he had only one game this season where he really made an impact. And the Steelers' rookie wideouts have gone past him quite abruptly.
Suisham is a journeyman kicker who was signed after the release of Jeff Reed. He has been consistent putting the ball through the uprights since joining the Steelers but isn't a very good kickoff guy.
Wilson shows some promise as a run-stuffing defensive end in the Packers' three-man front, but he isn't going to get to opposing quarterbacks with regularity.
Johnson is the closest thing Pittsburgh has to a true fullback. He is equal parts tight end and fullback, but that skill set gets him time with the offense.
Fox knows what it takes to stick in this league. He can fill in on a short-term basis at linebacker but isn't a real physical take-on player. But he is a very good special teamer.
Zombo was given the chance to seize the starting spot at right outside linebacker. But he got injured and just doesn't get after the quarterback with nearly enough regularity. He is still young and could improve into a solid backup.
Green has gotten snaps of late with Cullen Jenkins' injury, but he doesn't show any dynamic qualities.
Bush is a big liability in coverage and is someone Roethlisberger should surely attack if he sees playing time with the defense. But Bush is an excellent special teams player and has been tremendous on punt coverage in the playoffs.
Bigby is a backup strong safety type who plays the game physically yet makes some mental errors and doesn't have great range. But he is a very good player on the kickoff coverage unit.
Allen is a core special teams player who will also see the field on defense from time to time. But he has done little to speak of this season.
Wilhelm is strictly a backup inside linebacker but has some experience in the 3-4. His value lies on special teams.
Nance is intriguing. He is a physical downhill runner who fits this system well. James Starks' emergence has hurt his playing time, but he could factor in down the road. He needs work in the passing game.
|Randle El is no stranger to Super Bowl heroics.|
Madison dresses because he is a demon on special teams. But when he plays defense, Madison is an undersized cover man who opposing quarterbacks quickly attack.
Crabtree sees the field a fair amount and has some skills as a pass catcher. But he just gets rag-dolled in the run game and can't be expected to uproot a Pittsburgh outside linebacker.
The Steelers know what they have in Batch. He can still move the chains and keep things competitive. He didn't perform terribly while Roethlisberger was suspended.
Spitz showed some promise early in his career and his ability to play guard or center was attractive, but he really had a tough time when he saw the field this season.
|Crabtree scored against the Eagles in the wild-card round.|
86. CB Pat Lee -- Packers
Lee was drafted with high hopes but cracking this secondary isn't easy. Frankly, Lee just has not warranted more playing time.
Hills has seen a little bit of playing time this year with the rash of offensive tackle injuries in Pittsburgh. He has good movement skills and could develop into a left tackle down the road, but for now, he just isn't strong enough.
Swain is barely a factor on the offense, but he is a core special teams player.
This is a bigger corner with a good overall skill set. But like many Steelers corners in the past, he has more or less redshirted during his rookie season.
Briggs has some special teams tackles and has been a pretty solid contributor in that facet. But as a linebacker, there has not been a ton to get excited about. He could use more bulk on his long frame.
He is thin and somewhat high cut to handle the rigors of playing inside linebacker in the Steelers' 3-4. But Sylvester has been a factor on special teams and could add lower body mass and power as he matures.
Warren is a good enough long snapper who has the faith of the coaching staff. To his credit, he has dealt well with two kickers and two punters/holders this season.
Goode is a middle of the road long snapper who doesn't stand out in any certain area, which is just fine.
Harrell had a very successful college career, but he is buried behind an excellent starting quarterback and an excellent backup.
This rookie also had an excellent college career but has yet to make an impact at this level. He has good size and could be a factor down the road in this power running scheme after he greatly improves his skills in the passing game.
Scott is a rookie lineman who could project to tackle or guard. He could factor in down the road -- maybe as a sixth lineman.
Francois has factored in on special teams and a little on defense. He isn't yet good enough at the point of attack. Injuries at right outside linebacker could propel Francois into this game.
Pittsburgh picked up Kapinos after Daniel Sepulveda was lost for the season. It is a downgrade and he is unlikely to be with the team after this season.
Battle is strictly a special teams player now and isn't close to getting into the wide receiver rotation.
Wynn could stand to add more bulk and strength to better hold the point as a 3-4 defensive end.
Underwood factors in on special teams and has seen plenty of snaps in that facet of the game. A tall young corner, he could develop into a contributor as a depth cover man.
As alluded to above, Pittsburgh tends to use mid-round picks on corners and let them develop slowly, having them make their bones on special teams. That is the plan for Butler.
McDonald didn't see a snap with the Packers' offense and is strictly a possible long-term project.
He has bounced on and off the active roster and is just a depth player at end and could maybe help at nose tackle. But this isn't a guy who is going to see the field.
Like McDonald, Dietrich doesn't have much of a pedigree to speak of and didn't see the field with the offense in 2010.
Gordy hasn't factored in on defense or special teams. Someone has to be No. 106.
For players 1-48, click here.
|Kapinos played in four regular-season Steelers games.|
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