Top Five NFL Players of All Time

Chris RadezSenior Writer IJuly 1, 2008

People say that things are different nowadays in the NFL. Players are different. Schedules are different. The overall layout of the game is different. That's why you can't really look at stats when trying to hand-pick the best of the best.

You have to look at raw ability.

I'm sure that a lot of you will argue the five guys that I have chosen. I'm only choosing five because anybody who doesn't make my list can still be considered No. 6. Therefore, none of your arguments will carry much weight.


Working backwards...

5. Lawrence Taylor

Lawrence Taylor is a guy who just absolutely gave everything he had on every play. You hear a lot about guys who have the talent but are known to "take plays off."  

You'll never hear someone say that about LT. Bill Belichick was once quoted as calling Taylor "completely reckless." For a football player, that's a pretty good description.

He also makes my list because I met him when I was eight years old. I know that shouldn't count for anything, but I decided that it does.

4. Barry Sanders

There are so many great running backs to choose from, but Sanders was just unbelievable. I've seen that guy land on his head, bounce to his feet, and keep running down the field for a touchdown.

Anybody who can do something like that deserves a spot in my top five list. His uncanny ability to slither through the line and make great athletes look like junior varsity bench players puts him firmly in conversations of "greatest of all time" forever.

Reggie Bush reminds me of Barry, but I'm going to hold that thought for about 15 years.

3. Jerry Rice

Speed, agility, soft hands...this guy was top notch in all of these areas. He was also the clutch, go-to guy that every quarterback wishes they had. What separated Jerry Rice from the rest of the pack though, was his work ethic.

19 years in the league gave Rice plenty of time to set records that may take years to break.

Some may consider Randy Moss to be in the same level of ability as Rice, but the simple fact is that Randy doesn't have the heart to be. Heart is what puts Jerry Rice in the category of all-time greats.

2. Johnny Unitas

The fact that Johnny Unitas played way before my time is a travesty. From some of the videos I've seen and stories I've seems to me that Unitas redefined the quarterback position. It saddens me that I didn't have the opportunity to witness it first-hand.

A master of game-winning drives and the first of many to display the ability to read a defense and adjust accordingly, Johnny didn't need to have a record-breaking arm to be in my top five.

His football know-how was enough to put him in the history books as one of the greatest players of all time.

1. Jim Brown

Talk about raw ability. This guy didn't need speed. He didn't need agility. Jim Brown didn't even need blockers. This man could single-handedly bulldoze his way down the field, and there wasn't a single defender that could stop him.

Some of the plays that have been recorded over his career look impossible. It was as if he wasn't human. Just a well-oiled robot running all over its opposition.

This is another guy I would have loved to see week in and week out. Will there ever be another player like him? One can only hope.

There are so many other players who have made a case for being the greatest of all time, and I don't believe that anyone will ever be able to accurately rank them in the order they belong.

Till next time...


Chris Radez is a columnist at Bleacher Report, and he is one of the founders of TheScoreBoards Sports Forums. You can reach Chris by commenting on this article, leaving a note on his BR profile page, or by sending him a note at TSB, where he lives under the moniker NEsince92.