NFL Network Top 100: Ray Lewis and the 11 Most Overrated Players on the List
The NFL Network released last week their list of the 100 best players in the NFL for the 2011 season. To clarify, this list is created on the basis of current potential and ability.
The players selected should be the ones that will have the greatest impact and be of the utmost importance for their respective teams in the 2011 NFL season.
The NFL Network did an OK job, but 100 is a big number, and understandably, they made a few mistakes in everyone's different opinion. In my opinion, here are 11 players on the list that are overrated.
11. Donovan McNabb
I am a huge Donovan fan, and I always thought he was underrated and treated poorly during his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles. But he is no way, no how a top-100 player anymore.
His time has passed. I would love to see a comeback year by him on a new team, but even if that doesn't take place, his career is nothing to snuff at.
10. Joe Flacco
I might get some criticism for this one, and rightfully so, because Joe Flacco is one hell of a player. He passed for over 3,600 yards last season, had a passer rating of 93.6 and a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 25:10. Very solid indeed.
But where Flacco fails is his ability to lead the Ravens to playoff success. Much credit to him for getting them there, but until he reaches a Super Bowl or puts up Philip Rivers-type numbers, he's overrated.
9. Lance Briggs
Lance Briggs turned the big three-oh (30) last season, and his best days are behind him.
After racking up over 100 tackles for six straight seasons, he only accounted for 89 last year.
A great linebacker indeed, but no longer the difference-maker he once was.
8. Josh Cribbs
This may be the worst selection of the list.
Josh Cribbs is an amazing kick returner. He holds the NFL record with eight returns for touchdowns.
Still, Cribbs is a useless receiver for the Cleveland Browns and with kickoffs being moved from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line this season, expect a lot less of Cribbs and a lot more touchbacks.
7. Jay Ratliff
Jay Ratliff recorded his second-lowest amount of sacks ever in a full season last year, with 3.5.
He had two dominant years with the Dallas Cowboys in 2008 and 2009, yet he fell off last year and needs to come back this year and find his stride again.
I have mixed feelings about this one because Ratliff is a truly well-rounded player. He's on the cusp of this list in my books, and if he has another season like '08 or '09, there will be no question of his inclusion.
6. Vonta Leach
Vonta Leach was amazingly crucial in Arian Foster's breakout season. The fullback made great blocks that created holes for Foster to run free.
Leach is one of the hardest-working players in the league, and I really like the inclusion of a fullback on the list. It is so often an unrecognized position.
Still, I have to question is Leach's spot should have been filled with more of a playmaker. It's up for debate.
5. Logan Mankins
Logan Mankins should be on this list, but not at No. 39.
He's a very solid offensive lineman and one of the reasons why Tom Brady has been so dominant, yet the way in which he handled his contract dispute last season was selfish. He missed the first seven games of the season and brought a lot of bad publicity to the Patriots.
Tensions seemed to have eased in New England between Mankins and the Patriots, as they used their franchise tag on him this offseason.
Mankins should be more around No. 60-70 on this list.
4. DeSean Jackson
DeSean Jackson is one of the most exciting and dominating wide receivers in the game, yet he is ranked way to high on this list.
Jackson is ranked as the 29th-best player in the game, and was ranked ahead of Reggie Wayne, Maurice Jones-Drew and Steven Jackson.
I am not doubting Jackson's talent at all, but he is still just a deep-threat receiver and playmaker whose midfield ability is weak due to his small stature.
I would rank him more around the No. 40-50 spot on the list.
3. Champ Bailey
As a diehard Denver Broncos fan, I love Champ. He is one of the best cornerbacks to ever play the game and will no doubt be a future member of Canton, Ohio.
This being said, he is 33 years old and no longer the dominating force he was five to seven years ago.
The list has him ranked at 48th. That's a bit too generous.
2. Devin Hester
Devin Hester is undoubtedly the most important player on the Chicago Bears right now. His returns on kicks and punts were a big reason why the Bears offense was so efficient last season. He is no doubt invaluable.
That being said, he is not the 32nd-best player in the league. He's ranked way too high. Teams have the option to not kick to him, and he instantly becomes less productive when they make that choice.
1. Ray Lewis
Ray Lewis is one of the top middle linebackers to ever play the game. He is strong, intimidating and involved on almost every play. He is everything a middle linebacker should be.
Still, he is not the fourth-best player in football. Lewis is past his prime, along with the rest of his defense, and their dominance is, in my opinion, soon to wind down.
Lewis probably held this spot five years ago, but not anymore. He is way overrated on this list.
In Conclusion: Good Job, NFL Network
In all sincerity, the NFL Network did a very good job formulating this list. It is no easy task to pick the 100 best players in football, and they did so fairly, unbiasedly and represented all positions well.
I had a very tough time picking 11 overrated players, because quite frankly, most of the players on the list were deserving with a small exception.
I commend the NFL Network and thought it was a fun and interesting concept for them to reveal this list in intervals of 10 players at a time. Well done, indeed.