NFL Top 100: Joe Thomas' Low Ranking Slap in Face to Perennial Pro Bowler

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystMay 7, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 18:  Offensive tackle Joe Thomas #73 of the Cleveland Browns during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 18, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Browns 20-17 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The NFL Network has begun unveiling their rankings of the Top 100 players in the National Football League in 2012 as voted on by the players, and much like when the list debuted a year ago this season's version is sure to generate tons of discussion and debate.

The players ranked 80-100 have been released so far, and some pros received a ranking that would seem far more generous than their contributions on the gridiron justify (Tim Tebow's inclusion at No. 95 is, on a scale of one to 10, about a 32 on the unintentional comedy scale). 

However, there were also some players that appear to have gotten the short end of the proverbial stick, chief among them left tackle Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns.

Thomas, who was the third overall pick in the 2007 draft, checked in at No. 82 in spite of the fact that the 6'6", 312-pound sixth year pro has been named to the Pro Bowl every season he's been in the league and has made the Associated Press All-Pro first team in each of the past three seasons.

In fact, the argument can be made that Thomas is the best player in the NFL at his position, and given the remarkable durability that the former Wisconsin standout has shown throughout his career (he has yet to miss a game in five seasons) it's baffling that Thomas would suddenly and mysteriously drop 39 spots in the rankings in just one year.

It may well be that the Cleveland Browns struggles last year cost Thomas in voters' eyes, but it's patently ridiculous to blame one of the team's best players for Cleveland's woeful record, especially given that, according to Pro Football Focus, Thomas was the top pass protecting tackle in all of football in 2011, among players who saw more than 200 snaps.

The NFL's Top 100 is a subjective set of rankings, and as such there will undoubtedly be some head-scratching selections along the way.

However, every offensive lineman that checks in on the list above him is effectively a slap in the face for Joe Thomas, and with any luck the perennial Pro-Bowler will use the slight as motivation when he's pummeling opposing defenders in 2012.