How Do You Do It? A List of the Top 25 Players in the NFL
I assume among fans of teams such as the Patriots and Cardinals and whatnot that this article may ring your bell, or so to speak. This was a difficult article to make, and it is mostly based on current players' values for their team, and how much their team needs them to build a strong franchise. It also includes a list of players who didn't make the cut and ones who I think will be atop the list in the coming years.
No. 25/Michael Turner/RB/Atlanta Falcons
Turner has a good blend of speed and power. His stats aren't as good as expected this year so far, but there is no doubting the talent that this back possesses.
No. 24/Julius Peppers/DE/Carolina Panthers
One of the most feared ends in the league, Peppers rebounded last year after a couple slow seasons. He most likely will find himself in another club house by the 2010 season.
No. 23/Joe Thomas/LT/Cleveland Browns
Thomas is quickly emerging as the best lineman in the NFL. He is the centerpiece of the Browns' franchise, and is a perfect piece for an offense to build around.
No. 22/Mario Williams/DE/Houston Texans
Williams has rebounded vastly in the last years after having a dissappointing rookie year after being the number one pick. Look for him to be possibly the best defensive lineman in the NFL after a couple more years.
No. 21/Justin Tuck/DE/New York Giants
After future hall of famer Michael Strahan retired from the Giants, new sack master Justin Tuck stepped into his shoes. Tuck is known widely for having huge individual performances when it matters most. He played great in the Super Bowl a few years ago, and has a great shot at getting his team there again this year.
No. 20/Champ Bailey/CB/Denver Broncos
Bailey has been a dominant cornerback since he came into the league. He never seems to have a bad season, and he should be more happy in Denver now that talent is emerging on the other side of the ball.
No. 19/Ray Lewis/MLB/Baltimore Ravens
Ray Lewis not only one of the most feared linebackers in the NFL today, but one of the most feared players in NFL history. His presence on the field is as powerful as those of Ronnie Lott, Dick Butkus, and Lawrence Taylor.
No. 18/Kevin Williams/DT/Minnesota Vikings
No. 17/Troy Polamalu/SS/Pittsburgh Steelers
Polamalu has got it all at safety: the strength, the agility, and the awareness. He is one of the best safeties of the 21st century, without a doubt.
No. 16/Andre Johnson/WR/Houston Texans
Johnson not only has some of the best hands in the league, but is also probably the strongest receiver in the league. His strength and effort after the catch is what gets him so many touchdowns.
No. 15/Patrick Willis/ILB/San Francisco 49ers
Take a look at these numbers: 174 and 141. Those are the number of tackles Willis has had in the past two seasons. Since Willis was not on a very good defense, he had to step up and be a leader. Now he has helped take the 49ers to new heights.
No. 14/Albert Haynesworth/DT/Washington Redskins
Despite some controversy, Haynesworth remains one of the elite defensive linemen in the NFL. He is a nuisance for blockers, and he has the size and strength to be a dominant defensive tackle in any scheme.
No. 13/Nnamdi Asomugha/CB/Oakland Raiders
He may not grab as many interceptions as some of the other corners in the league, but that doesn't stop Nnamdi Asomugha from being one of the best. Asomugha is probably the best cover corner in the NFL and is not the guy you want to be covering you.
No. 12/Reggie Wayne/WR/Indianapolis Colts
With Marvin Harrison out of the picture in Indianapolis, Reggie Wayne has become Peyton Manning's clear go-to guy. There is probably no better route running receiver in the NFL than Wayne.
No. 11/Tony Gonzalez/TE/Atlanta Falcons
No matter what team he plays for, Tony Gonzalez makes his offense better. He has great footwork after the ball is in his hands, and is one of the most dominant redzone targets in NFL history.
No. 10/Asante Samuel/CB/Philadelphia Eagles
Asante Samuel can cover any receiver in the NFL with ease. Whether he needs to guard a teams speedster, or go down to cover the big tight end, he has the ability to do anything for his team.
No. 9/Jared Allen/DE/Minnesota Vikings
Allen is one of the nastiest players this league has seen in a while. He goes all-out on every play after the man with the ball, which has helped him rack up such great stats.
No. 8/DeMarcus Ware/OLB/Dallas Cowboys
A hard-hitting, strong linebacker with great awareness, Ware is a force to be reckoned with on any given play. He leads a resurgent Cowboys defense on a quest for a Super Bowl.
No. 7/Larry Fitzgerald/WR/Arizona Cardinals
Fitzgerald is a lengthy receiver with great hands, which makes him such a great target. He has to have what it takes; after all, his team passes more than any other team in the NFL.
No. 6/Adrian Peterson/RB/Minnesota Vikings
It didn't take long for Peterson to make a name for himself. He has had great performances over his short career, and people are already talking hall of fame.
No. 5/James Harrison/OLB/Pittsburgh Steelers
Harrison has come out of the shadows in the past couple years and is showing that he is one of the best defensive players out there. After an MVP season and an amazing Super Bowl performance, he definetely has a lot expected of him now; and he is not letting anyone down so far this year.
No. 4/Tom Brady/QB/New England Patriots
I don't think there is any doubt that if Brady was healthy last season, he would be number one on this list. However, that was not the case. Going back to two years ago though, a 50 touchdown season is nothing to overlook. Oh, and three Super Bowl victories is not that bad either.
No. 3/Drew Brees/QB/New Orleans Saints
Any quarterback who can have their team averaging around 40 points a game has definetely got the "it" factor. Along with this comes leadership, poise, and good decision making; all which Brees has become accustom to.
No. 2/Ed Reed/FS/Baltimore Ravens
Ed Reed is the best player on a Ravens defense loaded with stars. He has had consistent interception totals year after year, and was one of the NFL's best since joining the league.
No. 1/Peyton Manning/QB/Indianapolis Colts
Not only is Manning the best player in the NFL, but he is also one of the best all-time at his position. He is a great leader; consistently getting the Colts to the playoffs, and has everything required in a great quarterback.
Close to the Cut: Honorable Mentions
Other players who were close to making this list were the following:
Steve Hutchinson/G/Minnesota Vikings
LaDainian Tomlinson/RB/San Diego Chargers
Brian Westbrook/RB/Philadelphia Eagles
Jason Peters/OT/Philadelphia Eagles
Charles Woodson/CB/Green Bay Packers
Randy Moss/WR/New England Patriots
Steve Smith/WR/Carolina Panthers
Quickly Rising Stars
Watch out for these players; they could easily be atop this list in a couple of years:
Steve Smith/WR/New York Giants
Maurice Jones-Drew/RB/Jacksonville Jaguars
LaRon Landry/FS/Washington Redskins
Trent Cole/DE/Philadelphia Eagles
Greg Olsen/TE/Chicago Bears
Ryan Clady/OT/Denver Broncos
Aaron Rodgers/QB/Green Bay Packers