NFL: The 16 Biggest Mistakes on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2011
The NFL Network filled an offseason of labor dispute with a great distraction: the Top 100 Players of 2011. The program was a follow-up of the wildly popular Top 100 Players of All Time.
The 2011 version was not as popular with fans, but it was entertaining in its own right.
One of the reasons that it was entertaining is because of the debates that it instigated. Inevitably a list such as this is going to cause discord and disagreement among fans with allegiances with or biases against certain players.
What made this list interesting is that the players supposedly voted on the order. I say supposedly because numerous players have said publicly that they did not vote on the list.
Still though, it has been determined that some players did create the order, even if a good amount of the league was left out of the voting.
Who better to rank the top 100 players of the NFL than the people that compete against them, right? Well, in my humble opinion there were some major injustices done. Some players were ranked way too high, way too low, or were unfairly left of the list all together.
One common theme is that the program is unclear as to whether this is a rating of players’ abilities as of right now, or if it is more of a lifetime achievement award. While this causes considerable confusion, there are some other players that don’t belong where they are rated no matter the criteria.
So here’s my take on players that were misplaced on the list. Have a disagreement with my opinions or additional thoughts on players that were given too much or too little credit? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@JakeBRB).
100. Donovan McNabb
McNabb had a brilliant, borderline Hall of Fame career with the Philadelphia Eagles. His first season with the Washington Redskins, however, was a drama filled disaster.
A season that featured more interceptions than touchdowns, a 58 percent completion and an eventual benching in favor of Rex Grossman is not indicative of a top-100 player.
85. Jason Babin
Babin had an inspired season playing for defensive line guru Jim Washburn in Tennessee. Prior to 2010 though, he was a journeyman OLB/DE with 17.5 career sacks in seven years.
His 12.5 sacks was good for sixth in the league, but his past was less than mediocre and his future is very uncertain as a 31-year-old free agent with one good year.
82. LaMarr Woodley
James Harrison has been seen as the preeminent Steelers linebacker, but Woodley was given a lofty compliment from the Steelers when given the franchise tag ensuring that the fourth year player could not leave.
Harrison earned the 21st spot, but opposing offenses reportedly game plan for Woodley just as much if not more.
76. Santonio Holmes
Holmes was dealt to the Jets from Pittsburgh for only a fifth-round pick and was forced to sit out the first four games due to suspension.
Holmes took a little bit of time to get acclimated, so his stats in 2011 weren’t dominant, but it is rare to see the kind of impact from a wide receiver that Holmes made. Holmes made three game-winning receptions against Houston, Detroit and Cleveland.
72. Tony Romo
Romo played six games in 2011, of which the he led the Cowboys to victory only once. As for career stats, Romo has eclipsed 4,000 passing yards twice and had better than a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio once.
His regular season stats are good but not great, his playoff record is terrible, and if he didn’t play for Jerry Jones’ media machine, he probably wouldn’t be that high on the list.
65. Vonta Leach
If there was a fullback that deserved to make the list, it certainly was Leach. After all, Leach was the Associated Press All-Pro for the position.
As good as Leach played though, the dirty secret is that his running mate, Arian Foster, tallied a lot of his yards from a single back set.
To say that Leach is better than even his quarterback Matt Schaub, who was left off the list, is a stretch.
58. Brandon Lloyd
Is the top 100 based off an NFL career or just 2010 achievements? Either way, Lloyd doesn’t belong at 58. If it is for a career, seven prior seasons with four teams wouldn’t put him anywhere near the top 100.
In 2010 his league leading 1,448 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns surpassed many of the receivers ahead of him, on a four-win team at that.
51. Ndamukong Suh
Suh came on like gangbusters in his rookie season. His 66 tackles showed that he was a bear against the run. It was his 10 sacks as a defensive tackle that truly showed his disruptive presence.
Suh instantly transformed Detroit’s defensive line into a strength, and if he wasn’t a rookie, he would be rated much higher on this list.
46. Tony Gonzalez
Gonzalez is surely a first ballot Hall of Famer. He is unfortunately though, a player in decline.
Seventy receptions for 656 yards and six touchdowns is still very good for a tight end, but it is not up to Gonzalez’s lofty standards, and it is also not indicative of the second best tight end in the game or the 46th best overall player.
43. Joe Thomas
It’s hard to quantify the performance of offensive tackles, as there is no official stat detailing individual performance.
The Browns offensive line ranked in the middle of the league having given up 37 sacks but very little were the fault of Thomas.
In fact, Thomas received more reaction by NFL analysts who really know the league than any other player I saw.
38. Steven Jackson
Jackson may have been one of the best running backs ever had he played for a better team throughout his very good career. A career of being the focal point of a struggling Rams offense has taken its toll.
He tallied his second highest rushing total in 2010 with 1,241 yards, but it took him 330 attempts good for a 3.8 yards per carry rate. He simply doesn’t have the burst he once had.
32. Devin Hester
Did Hester make this list because he is a wide receiver or a punt returner? Forty receptions for 475 yards isn’t good enough for 32nd, and neither is two returned touchdowns.
I dare to say that the two categories combined still isn’t good enough for such a lofty position. If Hester had not set the record for returns for touchdowns last season, I don’t think he’d be nearly this high.
26. Phillips Rivers
Rivers can really rub some people the wrong way, including fellow NFL players.
Whether you’re judging him based on his career which features three straight 4,000-yard passing seasons with a quarterback rating above 100 or his 2010 season in which he threw for 4,770 yards and a 66 percent completion percentage, he probably deserves to be higher.
16. Charles Woodson
Woodson’s tackle totals were considerably higher in 2010 due to his occasional play at safety. Woodson has been elite defensive back in the NFL for 13 years, but he is no longer deserving of such a lofty position.
Most would contend that teammate Tramon Williams, who is not listed, is currently a better defensive back.
10. Julius Peppers
Peppers was signed by the Chicago Bears last year after being the crown jewel of the defensive free agent class. He made an immediate impact on the Bears defensive line, leading the team to the surprisingly to the NFC championship.
He certainly deserves to be high on the list, but I have a problem with ranking a pass rusher 10th who only tallied eight sacks.
3. Adrian Peterson
Peterson is the best all around running back in the NFL. In 2010, he went a long way to correct one of his only faults, when he cut his fumbles from seven to one.
I don’t have a problem with him high on the list, even in the top 10, but at No. 3, he is rated higher than Drew Brees, Darrelle Revis and Ed Reed.
It’s a little subjective because you're comparing elites from different positions, but I’d say he should be a tad lower.