Ranking the Top 50 Players at Beginning of 2014 NFL Season

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Ranking the Top 50 Players at Beginning of 2014 NFL Season
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Heard said at the same time: "I'm No. 1."

These are the kinds of pieces that are lots of fun to write.

They also draw both praise and ire from dedicated fans.

So here goes. Presented to you are the top 50 players as we see it as the 2014 NFL season hits its first full weekend this Sunday.

What are the deciding factors when it comes to these selections?

Career performance and production certainly can’t be ignored. But in this instance, recent play is an extremely relevant factor. This is less about team accomplishments and more about what-have-you-done-for-me-lately as a player. And to be fair, you have to have at least two seasons under your NFL belt in order to qualify here.

Our list includes seven quarterbacks, six running backs, seven wide receivers, two tight ends, six offensive linemen, eight defensive linemen, seven linebackers, six defensive backs and one punter.

It should also be noted that performers such as Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon and Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Daryl Washington, suspended for all of 2014, are not included on this list. Others like outside linebacker Aldon Smith, suspended for the first nine games of the season, were left out in the cold as well.

So agree, applaud, cheer, question and scratch your head when it comes to the following. Remember, we are taking just 50 out of nearly 1,700 performers, so please keep that in perspective.

And if you’re wondering why your favorite player didn’t make the list at all, please don’t fret.

Just assume he’s No. 51.

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