NFL players are some of the smartest people in the world, so you can imagine my shock when they put together a horrific Top 100 Players of 2011 list.
I'm not as intelligent as these guys, so I won't be making my own list. After all, how do you differentiate between the eighth-best linebacker and eighth-best wide receiver? This sort of list is so subjective that there are numerous acceptable ways you could put it together.
However, there were some really dumb choices in the NFL Top 100 Players of 2011. I'll list them below:
NFL Top 100 Players of 2011: 100-91:
100. Donovan McNabb, QB, TBA
99. Chad Clifton, OT, Packers
98. Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders
97. Shaun Phillips, DE/OLB, Chargers
96. Nick Collins, S, Packers
95. Jon Beason, LB, Panthers
94. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers
93. Eric Berry, S, Chiefs
92. Lance Briggs, LB, Bears
91. Terrell Owens, WR, Bengals
If you couldn't tell, I've outlined the really stupid selections in red.
100. Donovan McNabb: Rush Limbaugh is turning in his grave right now. If this were a 2006 list, Donovan McNabb would definitely deserve a spot in the top 100. But right now? I wouldn't place McNabb in the top 300. He's a fat, pompous, lazy, washed-up quarterback who doesn't deserve to start ever again. There's a reason the Eagles jettisoned him last year, as the Redskins quickly found out.
96. Nick Collins: The third-best safety in the NFL is No. 96 and behind some overrated rookie? How interesting. Speaking of which...
93. Eric Berry: I realize this list is for 2011, but Eric Berry wasn't very good as a rookie. Of course, the players wouldn't know this, since all they can remember is the draft hype surrounding Berry.
Did you know that Berry surrendered more touchdown passes (7) than any other safety in the NFL in 2010? Also, Berry missed 11 tackles - which would put him amongst the league leaders in that dubious category.
91. Terrell Owens: Terrell Owens is one of the greatest receivers in NFL history, but he doesn't deserve a spot in the top 100 projecting for 2011 - even before his ACL tear. Owens is 37 and has been responsible more interceptions than any receiver in the past few years. Like McNabb, there's more than one reason Owens is unwanted.
NFL Top 100 Players of 2011: 90-81:
90. Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens
89. Adrian Wilson, S, Cardinals
88. Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers
87. Jordan Gross, OT, Panthers
86. Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers
85. Jason Babin, DE, Titans
84. Joshua Cribbs, KR, Browns
83. Mike Williams, WR, Buccaneers
82. LaMarr Woodley, DE/OLB, Steelers
81. B.J. Raji, NT, Packers
85. Jason Babin: I don't have much of an issue with these 10 players. Jason Babin, however, doesn't deserve a spot at No. 85 because he's only had one good year in the NFL. Babin was dominant in 2010, as he recorded 12.5 sacks. However, his previous high was five. I'd like to see him piece together two good seasons before giving him a spot in the top 100.
NFL Top 100 Players of 2011: 80-71:
80. Jared Allen, DE, Vikings
79. D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT, Jets
78. Dallas Clark, TE, Colts
77. Chris Snee, G, Giants
76. Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets
75. Jay Ratliff, NT, Cowboys
74. Greg Jennings, WR, Packers
73. Trent Cole, DE, Eagles
72. Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys
71. Mario Williams, DE, Texans
Everything here looks good to me, though I would have placed Mario Williams and Trent Cole much further down the list. But whatever. Let's move on to worse rankings.
NFL Top 100 Players of 2011: 70-61:
70. Miles Austin-Jones, WR, Cowboys
69. John Abraham, DE, Falcons
68. Antrel Rolle, S, Giants
67. Brian Waters, G, Chiefs
66. Richard Seymour, DE/DT, Raiders
65. Vonta Leach, FB, Texans
64. Tamba Hali, DE/OLB, Chiefs
63. Cameron Wake, DE/OLB, Dolphins
62. Jerod Mayo, ILB, Patriots
61. Brandon Marshall, WR, Dolphins
68. Antrel Rolle: Umm... what the hell is Antrel "I blow dozens of coverages every single week" Rolle doing in the top 400? Rolle is one of the worst starting safeties in the NFL. He tied Eric Berry with 11 missed tackles, as opposing quarterbacks torched him almost every game. This clearly shows that NFL players don't pay much attention to what's going on.
61. Brandon Marshall: Brandon Marshall has the talent to be the 61st-ranked player in the NFL, but his head is never in the game. Marshall has more dropped passes (37) than any receiver in the past three years. I'd rather have Greg Jennings. Marshall belongs on this list; but not this low given all the headaches he causes.
NFL Top 100 Players of 2011: 60-51:
60. Justin Tuck, DE, Giants
59. Jeff Saturday, C, Colts
58. Brandon Lloyd, WR, Broncos
57. Andre Gurode, C, Cowboys
56. Ray Rice, RB, Ravens
55. Carl Nicks, G, Saints
54. Asante Samuel, CB, Eagles
53. Marques Colston, WR, Saints
52. Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
51. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Lions
58. Brandon Lloyd: This goes along with what I said about Jason Babin. I'd like to see two quality seasons out of Brandon Lloyd before giving him a spot in the top 100. No. 58 is way too low for him.
NFL Top 100 Players of 2011: 50-41:
50. Wes Welker, WR, Patriots
49. Brian Urlacher, LB, Bears
48. Champ Bailey, CB, Broncos
47. Nick Mangold, C, Jets
46. Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons
45. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs
44. Robert Mathis, DE, Colts
43. Joe Thomas, OT, Browns
42. Michael Turner, RB, Falcons
41. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
42 & 46. Michael Turner and Tony Gonzalez: Way to rank two washed-up guys in the top 50, NFL players! As his 2010 fantasy owners very well know, Michael Turner is pretty much done. Turner couldn't average more than four yards per carry in any of his final six games last year because he had nothing in the tank. Turner contributes zilch in the passing game as well, so ranking him at No. 42 is pretty asinine.
Tony Gonzalez, meanwhile, is a slow fossil. He's a shell of his former self, and belongs nowhere near the top 400; let alone top 50.
44. Robert Mathis: Robert Mathis is a good player, but I'd like to see what he'd do without Dwight Freeney on the other side of the line of scrimmage. I have a real problem with ranking Mathis ahead of Mario Williams, Trent Cole, Justin Tuck, etc.
43. Joe Thomas: Joe Thomas is the best left tackle in the NFL. What the hell is he doing outside of the top 20?
41. Ben Roethlisberger: As you can tell, the guys in blue are way too high. Ben Roethlisberger has two Super Bowl rings and nearly won his third this past February. What is he doing ranked higher than Philip Rivers and QB Dog Killer?
37. Jonathan Vilma: Jonathan Vilma was AWFUL last year. Just awful. Maybe it was just one bad season, so he still deserves a spot in the top 100. Ranking him at No. 37, however, is just ignorant. And where the hell is Lawrence Timmons, by the way? He's infinitely better than Vilma, yet he's been excluded from the top 100 all together.
NFL Top 100 Players of 2011: 30-21:
30. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars
29. DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
28. Jake Long, OT, Dolphins
27. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions
26. Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers
25. Arian Foster, RB, Texans
24. Roddy White, WR, Falcons
23. Patrick Willis, ILB, 49ers
22. Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers
21. James Harrison, DE/OLB, Steelers
29. DeSean Jackson: No. A receiver who runs nothing but go routes can't be No. 29. DeSean Jackson is good at what he does, but he shouldn't be in the top 30.
27. Calvin Johnson: And how the hell is Calvin Johnson only two spots better than Jackson? The three best receivers in the NFL, in any order, are Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. All three should be in the top 20.
25. Arian Foster: Arian Foster is legit. He had more broken tackles (45) than any running back last year. However, as what I said with Brandon Lloyd and Jason Babin, Foster needs more than one great season to be slotted so low.
20. QB Eagles No. 7: Yeah, OK. According to this list, QB Eagles No. 7 is the fifth best quarterback in the NFL - despite the fact that he can't read defenses or recognize the blitz. Oh, and he just turned 31, so we're bound to see somewhat of a regression in terms of his speed and elusiveness next year. And, by the way, I'm never buying any Nike product ever again.
17. Haloti Ngata: What is the best defensive lineman in the NFL doing outside the top 10? I really don't understand the thinking here.
16. Charles Woodson: Whoa... Charles Woodson is No. 16, yet Tramon Williams is nowhere to be found on this God forsaken Top 100 list? The NFL players do know that Williams outplayed Woodson last year, right? Or were they too busy preparing for a standoff with the owners that they had no chance of winning?
By the way, here are some players who should have been on this list (in order):
Lawrence Timmons, ILB, Steelers (top 35)
Brandon Flowers, CB, Chiefs (35-50)
Justin Smith, DE/DT, 49ers (35-50)
Kevin Williams, DT, Vikings (35-50)
Joe Haden, CB, Browns (51-70)
Andrew Whitworth, OT, Bengals (51-70)
Kyle Williams, NT, Bills (61-80)
Chad Greenway, OLB, Vikings (61-80)
Tramon Williams, CB, Packers (61-80)
Matt Schaub, QB, Texans (81-100)
Rolando McClain, ILB, Raiders (if Eric Berry is ranked, McClain should be)
Devin McCourty, CB, Patriots (same as McClain)
NFL Top 100 Players of 2011: 10-1:
10. Julius Peppers, DE, Bears
9. Drew Brees, QB, Saints
8. Darrelle Revis, CB, Jets
7. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans
6. Troy Polamalu, S, Steelers
5. Ed Reed, S, Ravens
4. Ray Lewis, ILB, Ravens
3. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
2. Peyton Manning, QB, Colts
1. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
8. Darrelle Revis: Forum member Joe Legend made a great point when he said that Darrelle Revis should be ranked better than Andre Johnson, since Revis shuts down Johnson whenever they match up. Can't argue with that.
4. Ray Lewis: The players need to put down the crack pipe. Ray Lewis is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and is still getting it done at the age of 36, but he isn't anywhere close to being the fourth-best player in the NFL right now. Haloti Ngata is the superior talent. In fact, without Ngata, Lewis would frequently be exposed.
3. Adrian Peterson: I'm not doubting Adrian Peterson's talents as a pure runner, but in today's NFL, you need to be a factor in the passing game. Peterson does not excel in that area, so I think putting him at No. 3 was a mistake.
Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady: Despite numerous mistakes in the NFL Top 100 Players of 2011, the top two picks were correct. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning should be Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. It's good to see that the players weren't entirely focused on the lockout when compiling this list.