In an offseason consumed by a work stoppage, the NFL Network has kept the debate and discussion alive among it's fans with their list of the Top 100 Players of 2011 as voted by the players. Working off this idea, I have compiled my own list of the Top Players of 2011. The list will take into account the players current ability, how I think they'll perform in the near future and how they have performed in the past year or two.
This list will be broken down into 4 articles; Players 100-75, 74-49, 48-24 and 23-1.
Here is a breakdown of the amount of players for each NFL team.
Steelers: 7 players
Packers,Ravens: 6 players
Cowboys, Patriots, Saints, Giants, Colts: 5 players
Falcons, Chiefs, Jets, Eagles: 4 players
Bears, Broncos,Texans,Dolphins,Vikings, Raiders, Chargers, 49'ers: 3 players
Cardinals, Browns, Lions, Rams, Buccaneers, Redskins: 2 players
Panthers, Bengals, Jaguars, Titans: 1 player
Bills, Seahawks: 0 players
Coming in at the 100 spot, Nick Collins had 4 interceptions and 70 tackles for the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers in 2010. Collins was an important part of that defense and had an interception in the Super Bowl game.
You're probably thinking: Hold on, how did a guy with 16 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 2010 make your list of the top 100 players? Yes, Haynesworth has had a dissapointing 2010 and overall career with the Redskins but we know what he can do if he is motivated again. Haynesworth's spot on this list is more justified by what he's done in the past and could possibly do in the future with another team.
Even though he is older and not as good as he once was, Jeff Saturday is still one of the best lineman in the NFL and is one of the reasons that Peyton Manning has so much time in the pocket.
Never missing a game in his career, London Fletcher was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2010. Fletcher has been underrated for most of his career and had 87 tackles and 2.5 sacks last year for the Redskins.
The first member of the Steelers rock solid defense to appear on this list, Timmons had 95 tackles and was an essential part of this defense. Along with his 95 tackles, Timmons has racked up 15 sacks and 3 interceptions in three seasons with the Steelers.
Another young player in my Top 100, James Laurinaitis has been a defensive machine for the Rams since they drafted him out Ohio State in the second round of the 2009 NFL draft. In two seasons, Laurinaitis has 205 tackles and 5 sacks.
Even though he had a down year in 2010, Lance Briggs was an important part of the Chicago Bears defense, which was the 9th best defensive in 2010. Briggs is also a 6 time Pro Bowler and has been an important part of the defense and will be in the near future.
Since he was drafted in 2009, BJ Raji has been a force on the Green Bay Packers defensive line although he wasn't exposed to the world until this year's Super bowl. Raji has 7.5 sacks in two years, and has a bright future as a d-lineman ahead of him.
Carl Nicks has only been in the league since 2008, but he has been an important part of one of the league's top offenses. Nicks was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2010 and has helped keep Drew Brees safe in his time with the Saints.
A two time Pro Bowler, D'Brickashaw Ferguson is a part of one of the best Offensive lines in the NFL. Just two years ago, the Jets led the league in rushing and it was largely thanks to D'Brick and the offensive line.
Even though he is getting towards the end of his career, Richard Seymour still makes number 90 on my top 100 list. His career hasn't been the same since he left New England, but Seymour still had 48 tackles and 5.5 sacks for the Raiders in 2010.
In 2010, the Arizona Cardinals were one of the worst teams in the NFL and their defense wasn't much better. One of the upsides to their defense though, was Adrian Wilson. In 2009 Wilson had 5 interceptions and had 2 more in 2010. Wilson also had 76 tackles in 2010.
It took him three years to become the full time starter in Oakland, but in 2010 Darren McFadden showed the Raiders why they drafted him 4th overall in the 2008 NFL draft. In 2010, McFadden rushed for 1,157 yards and 7 touchdowns.
In his rookie year, Eric Berry showed the Kansas City Chiefs and the rest of the NFL why they drafted him in the first round. He recorded 72 tackles and had 4 interceptions, and may have won the Defensive Rookie of the Year if Ndamukong Suh didn't have such a dominating year. Even though he's only played one season, Eric Berry is going to be one of the top safties in five years and has a bright future in the NFL.
I know, LeSean McCoy thinks Osi Umenyoira is the third best lineman on his team but LeSean should stick to his day job. While he isn't the best lineman on his team, Umenyoira is a sack machine and a force for the New York Giants defense. Umenyoira had 11.5 sacks last year and is a two time Pro Bowler.
In his first season with the Giants, Antrel Rolle justified the five year, 37 million dollar contract that the Giants got him. Rolle had 76 tackles and 1 interception in 2010 and earned his second consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl.
Being the number one reciever for Drew Brees is a good place to be and Marques Colston's stats sure prove that. In 2010 had 84 receptions and 1,023 yards and has a good future ahead of him in New Orleans.
As a D-lineman for the Eagles in 2011, Trent Cole had 50 tackles and 10 sacks. Cole has been a consistent sacking machine and has had at least 9 sacks in each of the last 4 years.
Ratliff earned his second career Pro Bowl appearance in 2010, and it was justified. Ratliff had 23 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 2010 and was a force in the middle of the Cowboys defense.
A 3 time Pro Bowler, Chris Snee has put in a consistent performance since he came into the league in 2004 and that's why he's one of the NFL's top offensive lineman. Snee and his fellow offensive lineman have blocked for 1,000 yard rushers in 3 straight seasons.
In his first three NFL seasons Joe Flacco has showed alot of promise but still has awhile to go before he's an elite QB. Flacco threw for 3,622 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2010 with only 10 interceptions. Flacco has been to the playoffs in each of his three seasons but has fallen short in each one, which led Steelers LB Lamaar Woodley to say the Ravens won't win a championship as long as he's there.
Darren Sharper may be reaching the end of his career but he's still comes in at 79 on my list. In 2009 Sharper had a league high 9 interceptions and is "the hardest hitting safety in da league" (that clip has some bad language, so don't get offended).
Sidney Rice faced an injury plagued season in 2010 but was a Pro Bowler in 2009 when he had 83 receptions and 1,312 yards. Rice will be a free agent in the offseason and is a target for any team who needs a number 1 receiver.
For some people, this might be way to high for Chad Ochocinco but let's put aside your personal opinion on Ochocinco for a minute. He's had a very productive career and has asked for year's to get out of Cincinnati. He's suffered from the decreased productivity and overall collapsing of Carson Palmers career. So maybe his stats haven't been as great as they were a couple years ago, but Ochocinco is still a very good WR and would be a good trade piece if Mike Brown would actually trade.
Brandon Lloyd has only put in one good season, but leading the league in receiving yards in 2010 is good enough to earn him 76 on this list. Time will tell whether Lloyd can consistently be at the top of the league's receiving list but for now he's 76 in my list of the top 100 players of 2011.
His production slowed down in 2010 due to injury, but from 2006-2009 he was good for 1,000 yards in each season including a season of almost 1,700 in 2006.