NFL Network Top 100 Players in 2011: Reaction to Nos. 80-71 Players
The NFL Network has decided to air a special series which will rank the top 100 active players in the league, and the order will be determined by our very own current players.
This is an interesting concept and I really admire the idea of having fellow players making the ranking as opposed to sports analysts because it provides a fresh perspective from those who experience dealing with them on a more close, constant basis.
Players No. 100 through 81 have already been released and today it continues with No. 80 through 71. Here's my instant reaction and analysis of it.
Note, for those of you who are unaware, this ranking is based off of who the best players are as of now as opposed to what they've done over the course of their career.
Minnesota Vikings DE Jared Allen (No. 80)
All I can say is wow, are you kidding me?
The relentless pass rusher who's amassed a whopping 83 sacks and 22 forced fumbles in his career is ranked as just the 80th best player in the NFL?
Take a look at DeMarcus Ware, who has comparable measurables, yet will likely be amongst the top 10 on this list.
That said, it's absolutely ridiculous and a complete disservice to one of the best defensive ends in the league.
New York Jets OT D' Brickshaw Ferguson (No. 79)
While having a franchise quarterback is essential for success, protecting him is crucial as well because what's the use if he's always lying on his back?
Ever since being taken with the fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft, D'Brickshaw Ferguson has become a cornerstone of the Jets offensive line and I'm sure Mark Sanchez is thankful for having him protecting his blindside.
He's been a Pro Bowler the past two seasons and if he keeps up this type of play, then I forsee several more in the near future.
Indianapolis Colts TE Dallas Clark (No. 78)
Dallas Clark has established himself as one of the best tight ends in the NFL as he's not only a dynamic pass-catching option for Peyton Manning, but he's a powerful in-line blocker for their rushing attack as well.
He was plagued with injuries last season, but he caught 27 total touchdowns in the three years prior which is why he's up on this list.
New York Giants RG Chris Snee (No. 77)
Guards sometimes go unnoticed, but let's not undermine the tremendous impact they have on a team's offense in both the passing attack and the ground game.
Snee, who's one of the best at the position in the league, was an integral key to the Giants Super Bowl run back in 2007 and the three-time All Pro has been a staple at their offensive line ever since his rookie campaign.
So, No. 77 is just about right for him here.
New York Jets WR Santonio Holmes (No. 76)
Santonio Holmes, in my opinion, is one of the more overrated players in the NFL.
Sure, he was the MVP of Super Bowl XLIII and I won't deny that his game-winning catch was fantastic.
However, with only one 1,000-yard season and having never had more than 80 receptions or double digit touchdowns, I don't see how you can put him up this high.
It'll be interesting to see where he ends up through free agency because if he's not put in the proper situation, then I could see his stats drop significantly.
Dallas Cowboys NT Jay Ratliff (No. 75)
Jay Ratliff is a classic example that you don't need to be a 350 lb. mammoth in order to play nose tackle in the 3-4 system.
Not only does he demand double teams from opposing offensive lineman, but he can generate an effective interior pass rush as well, with 17 sacks in the past three seasons.
Green Bay Packers WR Greg Jennings (No. 74)
Ever since the Green Bay Packers drafted Jennings in 2006, he's gradually developed into QB Aaron Rodgers' top target on offense and was just elected to his first Pro Bowl last season.
He's currently riding a three-year streak of 1,000 yards or more and shows no signs of slowing down. In my mind, I would've put him a bit higher and if he can become a better red zone target then I could see it happening in time for next year's list.
Philadelphia Eagles RE Trent Cole (No. 73)
Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Trent Cole is the definition of a high-motorm all-out effort player, and his head coach Andy Reid said it best when Cole has only one speed at 110 percent.
In fact, he reminds me of a poor man's Dwight Freeney as he relies on his spin move and speed off the edge to get after the passer.
In six seasons, he's already registered 57 sacks and forced 11 fumbles.
Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (No. 72)
Playing in Big D, quarterback Tony Romo has constantly been on the negative side of criticism whether it be for his off-the-field actions in his personal dating life or by being blamed for the Cowboys' postseason struggles.
Even when this list was released, the hate piled on.
You can't argue with a 95.5 career passer rating, though. The fact of the matter is he's one of the best in the business and I think this spot is just right for him.
Not to mention, No. 72 isn't too bad for an undrafted rookie.
Houston Texans DE Mario Williams (No. 71)
Mario Williams, the Houston Texans' former No. 1 overall selection back in 2006, was on his way to being one of the league's most feared pass rushers.
In fact, in his sophomore season he put up 14 sacks and followed it up with 12 the year after.
However, he's slowed down over the past couple years and he's supposedly being asked to transition to a 3-4 OLB. At 6'6" 295 lbs., I'm not sure how that'll turn out and I wouldn't be surprised to see Aaron Kampman 2.0.
That aside, note this pick was heavily criticized considering he was taken above Reggie Bush, it turned out to be a wise decision after all.