NFL Top 100: Players That Deserved Higher Ranking Heading into 2013 Season

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NFL Top 100: Players That Deserved Higher Ranking Heading into 2013 Season
Larry French/Getty Images
London Fletcher of the Redskins is among the best veterans around.

The NFL is currently ranking its Top 100 players of 2013, but there are some who should have received better recognition.

That said, a wide range of variables certainly have an impact on a player's marketability and overall perception.

Suiting up for a smaller-market city or playing with superstars definitely affects the situation. A player's position can also be a disadvantage since quarterbacks, running backs and receivers are more electric compared to offensive linemen or virtually any player on defense.

Factor in pro football as an offensively oriented league and skill positions just have that advantage. Ultimately, it makes players such as the following go more unnoticed.

 

No. 100: Dennis Pitta, TE (Baltimore Ravens)

Dennis Pitta emerged as one of pro football's better-receiving tight ends in 2012-13.

In catching 61 passes for 669 yards, Pitta also scored seven touchdowns and accounted for 283 yards after the catch. Standing 6'4" and 245 pounds, Pitta brings the athleticism and field awareness to split zones and win against man coverage.

Once with the rock, he can make guys miss in space or bowl over a would-be tackler. His general impact provides Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco with another target to spread the field and utilize each dimension.

Although Pitta must improve as a run-blocker, he can still be effective in a limited capacity in clearing defenders. Whether it's chip-blocking a defensive end from the slot or walling off a nickel/dime back downfield, Pitta has time for him to develop for Baltimore in that regard.


No. 86: London Fletcher, LB (Washington Redskins)

London Fletcher is easily one of the most overlooked talents of this century.

Despite coming from NCAA Division III school John Carroll, he has racked up 100-plus tackles in every season since 2000. Even considering his age at 38, Fletcher comes off arguably the best season of his illustrious career.

For the Redskins in 2012-13, Fletcher accounted for 139 tackles, 11 defended passes (tied for career best), five picks (career best) and three sacks (most since 2005). His incredible level of consistency and knowledge of the game goes well beyond what he's given credit for on the field.

Entering the 2013 campaign, Fletcher has started 199 consecutive games and has played in 240 career games. If anything, his legacy of reliability is unquestioned.


No. 75: Brandon Flowers, CB (Kansas City Chiefs)

Brandon Flowers only measures 5'9" tall and 187 pounds, but he has proven time and time again that size is irrelevant in the NFL.

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Since lining up at cornerback for the Chiefs, Flowers continues to produce while also going largely unrecognized outside of Kansas City. With 83 career defended passes, Flowers has 33 of those coming over the past two seasons.

His 2012 campaign, however, was arguably more impressive since Brandon Carr had joined the Dallas Cowboys. Flowers helped the Kansas City secondary only allow opposing quarterbacks a 60.1 completion percentage, ranking No. 12 in pass defense.

Unfortunately he wasn't given much assistance. Flowers snagged three of Kansas City's seven interceptions, meaning that opposing offenses could easily neglect throwing in his direction to establish the pass.

Nevertheless, Flowers possesses No. 1 cornerback talent and he'll hit another level in the 2013 season ahead.

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