Top 10 PLayers at Each Position: The NFL's Elite in 2008!

Andrew GallagherContributor IJune 8, 2009

Here are the top 10 players at each position.


1. Peyton Manning: Don't let his slow start to the 2008 season fool you, Peyton Manning can still get it done through the air.

2. Drew Brees: I need not explain why he is No. 2.  Despite his near record setting season with over 5,000 yards passing it is hard to believe that he will do it again.

3. Philip Rivers:  Rivers showed people that the Charger offense wasn't just a running offense posting great numbers with over 4,000 yards passing, plus with a healthy Chris Chambers it will be almost impossible to stop this Charger Offense.

4. Donovan McNabb:  McNabb is almost back to the good old days, before T.O. and the injuries.  I think that with a revamped receiving core he will be one of the elite passers in the NFL.

5. Eli Manning: Manning missed his star receiver for most of the 2008 season leaving him with the numbers that you wouldn't expect from a pro-bowl QB.  However with the additions of Hakeem Nicks and the 6'6 Ramses Barden Manning will have little trouble finding good, reliable, open wide outs.

6. Ben Roethlisberger:  Though Big Ben didn't dazzle in '08 he showed potential.  his TD/INT was pretty bad at 17/15 but he did show promise in the Super Bowl.

7. Aaron Rogers: In his first season as the starting QB Rogers showed that Green Bay had a star right away! Now that Roger has had a year to settle in this may be a huge year for the former first rounder!

8. Tony Romo: The loss of T.O. did hurt the Cowboys passing game however they still have Jason Witten and a former Pro-Bowler in Roy Williams.

9. Matt Ryan: After an excellent rookie season Ryan is looking to become an elite QB and it seams as though he will have no trouble with the addition of Tony Gonzalez.

10. Jay Cutler: Jay Cutler will have some trouble adapting to life in Chicago especially because of the lack of talent at the receiver position.  However Cutler is a great passer who will be able to get the ball to the speedy Devon Hester and look for Juaquin Iglesias to get a lot of touches as well.


1. Adrian Peterson: Do I even have to explain? 

2. Clinton Portis: Portis showed signs of slowing down towards the end of the 2008 season but he has been working hard this season and is said to be in top shape.

3. Michael Turner: Turner had an excellent season in 2008 posting more than 1,600 yards and more than ten touchdowns, this will be a great season for him.

4. DeAngelo Williams: Williams had over 1,500 yards rushing this season with almost 18 touchdowns, look for him to get more touches and for the offensive production to continue. 

5. Brandon Jacobs: Jacobs posted 15 touchdowns in 2008 with a little of 1,000 yards.  Keep in mind that Jacobs was out for a few games with injuries but look for him to be healthy and producing touchdowns at a massive rate.

6. LaDainian Tomlinson: Despite a slow year in 2008 Tomlinson still has the ability to get the job done at an unbelievable rate.  Look for him to get much more carries this season that he did last.

7. Maurice Jones-Drew: Jones Drew has been grinding out 900 yard seasons for years now but has never gotten past 1,000.  However look for him to get his chance this season as he is now the starting running back.  There is no doubt that Jones-Drew is one of the most talented running backs in the entire NFL.

8. Thomas Jones: Jones displayed incredible athletics in 2008 grinding out 1,300 yards and over 10 TD's he was also able to reach the Pro-Bowl in '08.

9. Steven Jackson: Jackson is a talented running back who can still get the job done.  Despite injury problems in '08 he was still able to reach the 1,000-yard mark.  No doubt that this year will be no different.

10. Chris Johnson: Johnson had an amazing rookie year leaving some people to compare him to Adrian Peterson!  Look for Johnson to get many touches and score a lot more this year.


1. Andre Johnson: Johnson had an incredible season in '08 receiving more than 1,600 yards putting him up with some of the elite receivers in the NFL.

2. Larry Fitzgerald: Fitzgerald proved to be an elite wide out in 2008 racking up more than 1,400 yards with 12 touchdowns.  No doubt he will be among 2009's most elite wide outs.

3. Steve Smith: Smith is a speed demon who racked up over 1,400 yards receiving, though he finished with just 6 touchdowns in 2008 he is still an effective receiver.

4. Roddy White: White is a big receiver with speed and size who racked up over 1,300 yards receiving in 2008 finishing with 7 touchdowns.

5. Calvin Johnson: Johnson id a big receiver, like White he has size and plenty of speed.  Johnson racked up 1,300 yards in 2008 with 12 touchdowns.

6. Anquan Boldin: Boldin was sidelined for a lot of 2008 with a fracture in his face, however despite missing a few weeks he was still able to rack up more that 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns.

7. Tony Gonzalez: Gonzolez racked up over 1,000 yards in 2008 with 10 touchdowns.  With a better QB situation in Atlanta look for him to get more touches.

8. Brandon Marshall: Barring a suspension and a possible arrest Marshall is set to be one of the elite receivers in the NFL.  Look for the numbers to dip a little without Jay Cutler around, but he will still be a reliable wide out.

9. Lee Evans: look for Evans to expand on his latest 1,000 yard season.  After the addition of T.O. the former Bills star won't be double teamed as much.

10. Chad Ochocinco: Ochocinco was "embarrassed" by his 2008 season and is out to prove that he can still get the job done this year.  Look for him to become a reliable set of hands for Carson Palmer.


1. Osi Umenyiora: Though a calf injury sidelined Osi for the entire 2008 season I have no doubt that he will be able to get right back into the flow of an NFL game.

2. Julius Peppers: Though Peppers is still searching for a trade he will still go out and produce every Sunday, Peppers is consistently one of the better defensive ends in the game racking up 51 tackles and 14.5 sacks.

3. Justin Tuck: Tuck was a Pro Bowler in 2008 with 67 tackles and 12 sacks.  With Osi Umenyiora back opposite him they will be a tandem for years to come.

4. Albert Haynesworth: Haynesworth had a great 2008 season with 51 tackles and 8.5 sacks.  He will be a great run stopper for the Redskins in a mostly running division.

5. Jarred Allen: Allen is consistently among the top defensive ends in the league. His 2008 stats are proof. Allen had 54 tackles with 14.5 sacks.

6. Mario Williams: Williams was among the top players in sacks in 2008 with 12.  He has great speed for a defensive linemen and has great tackling skills.

7. Trent Cole: Cole was a productive player in 2008 with 77 tackles and 9 sacks.  The numbers that he put up in '08 are more than respectable for a defensive end.

8. John Abraham: Abraham didn't have too many tackles in 2008 racking up only 38, small number even for a defensive lineman, however he did have 16.5 tackles, so with Abraham it's either hit or miss.

9. Tommie Harris: Harris had a slow year in 2008 with 37 tackles and 5 sacks but showed promise none the less.  Harris, a former Pro Bowler should have no trouble getting back to the good old days when he was one of the most dominant defensive players in the league.

10. Robert Mathis: Mathis had a monster year in '08 racking up 48 tackles and 11.5 sacks.  He will continue to have great numbers so long as the rest of the defense is producing.


1. James Harrison: Harrison, the 2008 defensive player of the year, racked up 101 tackles and 16 sacks making him one, if the the, best linebackers in the game today.  If the Steeler defense continues to support him he will continue to be a force in the NFL for years to come.

2. Patrick Willis: Willis continues to be one of the best linebackers in the game, in 2008 he had 141 tackles, second in the league.

3. D'Qwell Jackson: Jackson is and has been a force for the Browns defense with 154 tackles, the most in the NFL.

4. Jon Beason: Beason is a young fierce linebacker with size and speed.  Beason came in third last year with 138 tackles.

5. Jonathan Vilma: Vilma showed no fear after being put in a new setting.  In his first year with the Saints he racked up 132 tackles.

6. Jerod Mayo: Mayo, the 2008 defensive rookie of the year, racked up 128 tackles last year quickly becoming one of the more fear linebackers in the NFL.

7. James Farrior: Farrior proved to be one of the best linebackers in the NFL this season racking up 133 tackles en rout to a Super Bowl victory.

8. Bradie James: James was a nice little surprise for the Cowboys in 2008 with 116 tackles and 8 tackles.

9. Ray Lewis: It's hard to imagine a top 10 linebackers without Ray Lewis.  This man had defied age.  In 2008 he had 117 tackles for the Ravens to help them get into the playoffs and eventually the AFC championship game.

10. Barrett Ruud: Ruud was one of the best linebackers in 2008 with 137 tackles, he has size but lacks speed.


1. Bob Sanders: Though Sanders was sidelined for most of 2008 with injuries it is hard to believe that he won't bounce back to his defensive player of the year form.

2. Troy Polamalu: Polamalu is a fierce defender with a mean tackle.  Polamalu had 73 tackles in 2008 proving that he can still get the job done.

3. Quentin Jammer: Jammer has explosive speed and great tackling ability.  Jammer finished with 88 tackled in 2008 but only 2 interceptions.

4. Oshiomogho Atogwe: Yes the man is relatively unknown however he did finish the 2008 season with 85 tackles, 5 interceptions, a 6 forced fumbles. 

5. Antoine Winfield: Yes Winfield id aging quickly, this much WAS evident in his play but in 2008 he proved all of the nay sayers wrong posting numbers like 95 tackles, 2 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, and even 2 sacks!

6. Kerry Rhodes: Rhodes is still young, not only that but he has size and speed.  Rhodes finished with 84 tackles, 2 interception, and even a sack!  Rhodes will continue to be a force in the NFL for years to come.

7. Terrence McGee: McGee has a great year for a corner in 2008 posting 66 tackles with 3 interceptions!  McGee is a speedy press kind of corner who rarely gives up the long touchdown.

8. Champ Bailey: Though Bailey missed 7 games this season he posted great numbers in the 9 games that he played in, racking up 44 tackles, a sack, 2 forced fumbles and an interception. 

9. Antonio Cromartie: Cromartie is a speed demon at corner across from Quentin Jammer.  Cromartie racked up 64 tackles and 2 interceptions in 2008.

10. Kenny Phillips: Phillips had a very successful first year with the Giants racking up 67 tackles and 1 interception in his rookie campaign.

There you have it the top 10 players at each position with the exception of O-line in special teams.


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