I berated the players for their crappy rankings in the Top 100 NFL Players of 2011 and people seemed to like that. I ran another critique of the Top 100 NFL Players of 2012. I've gotten many requests to do the same for the 2013 version, so here we are.
I really find it amazing how NFL players can screw these rankings up. Think about it - if you're in an office, you and your other co-workers can probably rank the best employees and come to a smart consensus. NFL players, however, continuously bungle things like this, probably because many of them don't watch film or pay attention to the other games. I mean, they ranked Michael Turner in the top 100 last year. The guy couldn't even move!
Predictably, there were some really dumb choices in the NFL Top 100 Players of 2013. I've highlighted them, marking the underrated players in blue and overrated players in red:
NFL Top 100 Players of 2013: 80-71:
80. Dwight Freeney, DE/OLB, Chargers
79. Luke Kuechly, ILB, Panthers
78. Joe Staley, OT, 49ers
77. Aaron Hernandez, TE, Patriots
76. Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions
75. Brandon Flowers, CB, Chiefs
74. Robert Mathis, DE/OLB Colts
73. Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers
72. Mario Williams, DE, Bills
71. Trent Richardson, OT, Browns
80. Dwight Freeney: The NFL players apparently were not paying attention to how poorly Dwight Freeney performed last year. He did nothing for Indianapolis. This could have been a poor scheme fit, but he signed with another 3-4 team for some strange reason, so I wouldn't expect him to rebound.
77. Aaron Hernandez: In all fairness, this list was compiled prior to Aaron Hernandez's arrest. Still, it was funny to see his name on here.
73. Antonio Gates: Seeing this makes it clear that more NFL players need to play fantasy football. Anyone who owned Antonio Gates last season knows that he's done. He can barely move at this stage of his career, so how the hell is he the 73rd-best player in the NFL?
NFL Top 100 Players of 2013: 70-61:
70. Chad Greenway, OLB, Vikings
69. Tim Jennings, CB, Bears
68. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos
67. Darrelle Revis, CB, Buccaneers
66. Earl Thomas, S, Seahawks
65. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs
64. Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins
63. Stephen Tulloch, ILB, Lions
62. Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
61. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
65. Dwayne Bowe: Dwayne Bowe is extremely talented, but he's also one of the most unreliable receivers in the NFL. He drops tons of passes and fumbles at the worst times. I think he belongs in the 85-100 range, so he's not one of the more egregious blunders on this list.
63. Stephen Tulloch: Tell me if Stephen Tulloch sounds like the 63rd-best player in the NFL after reading what I wrote about him in my Detroit Lions Season Preview: "Tulloch isn't bad, but he's been a bit disappointing as the team's man in the middle. He did not do well in run support last year."
62. Chris Johnson: The No. 62 player in the NFL can't be a running back who dances in circles behind the line of scrimmage. Chris Johnson has the talent to be much better, but he kills the Titans with his constant 5-yard losses.
61. Ben Roethlisberger: A two-time Super Bowl winner who did his best to carry the Steelers with a 26-to-8 touchdown-to-interception ratio needs to be higher on this list.
NFL Top 100 Players of 2013: 60-51:
60. Jared Allen, DE, Vikings
59. Derrick Johnson, ILB, Chiefs
58. Victor Cruz, WR, Giants
57. Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers
56. Terrell Suggs, DE/OLB, Ravens
55. Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
54. Julius Peppers, DE, Bears
53. Champ Bailey, CB, Broncos
52. Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers
51. Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks
I actually see nothing wrong with 60-51 (I'd maybe move Jason Pierre-Paul and Russell Wilson up a bit and knock Champ Bailey down 15 or so spots, but that's just nitpicking), so here's something I wrote about Jonathan Vilma being ranked No. 58 last year:
58. Jonathan Vilma: I highlighted Jonathan Vilma with a maroon shade because his ranking is downright embarrassing. Vilma is 58? More like 258. He's absolutely terrible. I mean, talk about being slotted based on past credentials; Vilma hasn't been good in years. He constantly gets washed away against the run; not that it matters anyway because he's been kicked out of the league for a year. This was a good thing for one of the 32 teams out there because some inept general manager would have been dumb enough to pay him lots of money.
NFL Top 100 Players of 2013: 50-41:
50. Richard Sherman, CB, Seahawks
49. Justin Houston, DE/OLB, Chiefs
48. Duane Brown, OT, Texans
47. Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons
46. Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
45. LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles
44. Wes Welker, WR, Broncos
43. Eli Manning, QB, Giants
42. Haloti Ngata, DT, Ravens
41. Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
50. Richard Sherman: Richard Sherman is a top-25 player. There's no doubt about it. There's also no doubting that he was downgraded on this list because he's a douche. It's a shame that the players can't be unbiased when it comes to voting.
44. Wes Welker: And now we've reached my 2012 Most Overrated Player in the NFL. What I wrote last year: "Wes Welker is a fantastic slot receiver, but that's all he is. You can read more of my rant in my Most Overrated NFL Players of 2012 list.
NFL Top 100 Players of 2013: 40-31:
40. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Lions
39. Roddy White, WR, Falcons
38. Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers
37. Navorro Bowman, ILB, 49ers
36. Geno Atkins, DT, Bengals
35. Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys
34. Charles Tillman, CB, Bears
33. Patrick Peterson, CB, Cardinals
32. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers
31. Clay Matthews, DE/OLB, Packers
39. Roddy White: Roddy White is a very good receiver, but no one is going to choose him over Haloti Ngata (No. 42), for example. White, 32 in November, will begin to drop off soon.
36. Geno Atkins: Geno Atkins is the greatest interior presence in the NFL right now. He dominates the line of scrimmage both in terms of getting to the quarterback and stuffing the run. He's easily the best 4-3 defensive tackle in football and should be recognized as a top-20 player.
NFL Top 100 Players of 2013: 30-21:
30. Vince Wilfork, NT, Patriots
29. Justin Smith, DE/DT, 49ers
28. Joe Thomas, OT, Browns
27. Brandon Marshall, WR, Bears
26. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
25. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
24. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks
23. Andrew Luck, QB, Colts
22. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
21. Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts
25. Rob Gronkowski: Rob Gronkowski would be a top-10 player if healthy, but his durability is exactly the problem. He has so many injuries going on that I don't think he deserves a spot in the top 25.
21. Reggie Wayne: Reggie Wayne earned this spot because of one game. He was awesome in that shocking victory over the Packers, but he had just one 100-yard performance after that. Having Wayne being No. 21 is doing a poor job of projecting into 2013 (he turns 35 in November), which is what this list should be all about.
NFL Top 100 Players of 2013: 20-11:
20. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs
19. Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens
18. Ed Reed, S, Texans
17. Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
16. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals
15. Robert Griffin, QB, Redskins
14. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans
13. Ray Rice, RB, Ravens
12. DeMarcus Ware, DE/OLB, Cowboys
11. Drew Brees, QB, Saints
18. Ed Reed: Holy crap, this is one of the dumbest things I've ever seen. Ed Reed shouldn't be in the top 100; let alone at No. 18. The Texans signed Reed, but seem to prefer rookie D.J. Swearinger, as Charlie Campbell reported here. Reed's best days are behind him, but the NFL players are slow to catch on to things like that.
15. Robert Griffin: Robert Griffin has the talent to be up here, but he needs to prove that he can stay healthy.
14. Andre Johnson: Another old player who is ranked way too high, Andre Johnson logged 112 receptions in 2012, but definitely wasn't as explosive as he once was.
NFL Top 100 Players of 2013: 10-1:
10. Patrick Willis, ILB, 49ers
9. Von Miller, OLB, Broncos
8. Arian Foster, RB, Texans
7. Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, 49ers
6. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
5. J.J. Watt, DE/DT, Texans
4. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
3. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions
2. Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos
1. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
8. Arian Foster: Arian Foster's YPC has fallen off the past couple of years. He managed to gain just four yards per attempt in 2012. Much of his previous success had to do with the blocking scheme, the offensive line and his fullback. I don't want to make it sound like Foster stinks or anything because he's a great talent. I just don't think he's top-10 worthy.
7. Aldon Smith: Aldon Smith was in the running to break Michael Strahan's single-season sack record, so why is he ranked too high? Because he was exposed in run support when Justin Smith was knocked out of the lineup. Any pass-rusher ranked in the top 10 (or top 20, for that matter) has to also be strong against the rush. Aldon Smith certainly is not.
6. Aaron Rodgers: I don't see how two quarterbacks can be ranked ahead of Aaron Rodgers when he's easily the top signal-caller in the NFL.
2. Peyton Manning: Peyton Manning probably deserves a spot in the top 10, but he's too high on this list. His arm strength seemed to tail off toward the end of the season, and he was just floating weak passes against the Ravens. A sign of things to come? Maybe not, but I don't think Manning should be higher than Rodgers or Tom Brady.
NFL Top 100 Players of 2013 - Snubs:
Jairus Byrd, S, Bills - Jairus Byrd and Eric Weddle are arguably the top safeties in the NFL, yet neither is on this list. They're both so much better than Ed Reed, who was in the top 20 for some reason.
Calais Campbell, DE/DT, Cardinals - Aside from J.J. Watt and perhaps Muhammad Wilkerson, Calais Campbell is the top 3-4 defensive lineman in the NFL. Not only should he be in the top 100; he has to be ranked somewhere in the top 50.
Ryan Clady, OT, Broncos - There's a reason Ryan Clady just received such a big contract from the Broncos. He's one of the top left tackles in football.
Randall Cobb, WR, Packers - Randall Cobb is a dynamic talent capable of playing anywhere on Green Bay's offense, so he definitely deserved a spot in the top 100.
Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints - So, the NFL players think that Dennis Pitta, Vernon Davis, an injured Heath Miller and a decrepit Antonio Gates are all better than Jimmy Graham? They can't seriously be that stupid. Graham has to be an accidental omission, right?
Joe Haden, CB, Browns - Snubbed for the third year in a row, Joe Haden limited opposing passers to a 49.4 completion percentage in 2011. He wasn't as good last year, but he's still one of the better corners in football.
Nick Mangold, C, Jets - The top center in football is not on this list? Why?
Evan Mathis, G, Eagles - The top guard in football is not on this list? Why?
Jerod Mayo, OLB, Patriots - Jerod Mayo is one of the top, non-pass-rushing linebackers in the NFL. He has no weaknesses in his game.
Devin McCourty, S, Patriots - Another stud New England defender who should've made the cut.
C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills - A dynamic player capable of going the distance every time he touches the ball. He should be in the top 100.
Lawrence Timmons, ILB, Steelers - I don't know why Timmons is continuously excluded from this list. He's one of the better inside linebackers in football. I keep campaigning for him, but no one listens!
Eric Weddle, S, Chargers - I already mentioned Weddle.
Andrew Whitworth, OT, Bengals - Snubbed the past two years as well, Andrew Whitworth has done a terrific job of protecting Andy Dalton's blind side.
Kevin Williams, DT, Vikings - Easily a top-50 player, Kevin Williams is one of the elite defensive tackles in the NFL. He has no holes in his game, so I don't know how he missed this list.
Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/DT, Jets - I mentioned Wilkerson earlier. He's strong in all facets of the game.
Marshal Yanda, G, Ravens - How does one of the top guards in the NFL not make the top 100? Ugh. I guess I shouldn't expect much from a collective that thought Michael Turner deserved the distinction last year.
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