NFL Network Top 100 Players in 2011: Reaction to Top 100-91 NFL Players List

Mihir Bhagat@mihirbhagatSenior Analyst IIIMay 1, 2011

NFL Network Top 100 Players in 2011: Reaction to Top 100-91 NFL Players List

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    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 24:  Terrell Owens #81 of the Cincinnati Bengals against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on October 24, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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 #100-91 were officially released Saturday after the conclusion of the 2011 NFL Draft and 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. 

Washington Redskins QB Donovan McNabb (#100)

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 03:  Donovan McNabb #5 of the Washington Redskins celebrates after throwing a first quater touchdown pass against the Philadelphia Eagles on October 3, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim Mc
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    If this list was created last year, then I'm sure McNabb would've been much higher up. Let's face it, he is fourth among active quarterbacks in passing yards (third if you don't count Favre). 

    But after posting the lowest passer rating since his rookie campaign, McNabb is clearly not the same player he used to be. Perhaps its because he doesn't have the same supporting cast as he did with the Eagles, but there's no excuses at this level.

    In fact, a lot of the fans who have voiced their opinion on the issue said that McNabb doesn't even deserve to be on the list at all.

    Bold statements for a player who's been to five NFC Championship Games.

Green Bay Packers OT Chad Clifton (#99)

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    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06: Chad Clifton #76 of the Green Bay Packers holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl XLV 31-25 against the at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Chad Clifton took over the left tackle responsibilities midway through his rookie season back in 2000 and hasn't given it up since.

    Of course, he is nearing the end of his career and the Packers presumably drafted his successor in Derek Sherrod with the No. 32 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

    Nevertheless, protecting the blindside for Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers for that duration certainly deserves recognition on this list.

Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden (#98)

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    OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 07:  Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders runs against the Kansas City Chiefs during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 7, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    In contrary to McNabb, if you had constructed this list last year he probably wouldn't have been even close.

    Due to injuries that plagued the former No. 4 overall pick early on in his career, his development had been hindered and he wasn't able to meet his high expectations.

    However, in just 13 games last season (yes, he still missed three contests), he was able to rush for 1,157 yards on a 5.2 yard per carry average and added 507 receiving yards while scoring ten total touchdowns. 

    If he can continue this moving forward, there's no doubt in my mind that he'll be considered among the league's best. 

San Diego Chargers LOLB Shaun Phillips (#97)

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    SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 24:  Shaun Phillips #95 of the San Diego Chargers during warm up against the New England Patriots at Qualcomm Stadium on October 24, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Shaun Phillips is one of the more underrated players in the league and has taken major strides ever since being drafted in the 4th round. 

    He started off as a situational pass rusher but has developed into an every-down linebacker. Now, the seven-year veteran has 56.5 career sacks along with 18 forced fumbles and was selected to his first Pro Bowl this past season.

    He's also proven that he has the ability to dominate as he registered a whopping four sacks against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4.

    If it weren't for problems with consistency, he would've probably been ranked higher. Note that after that tremendous performance against the Cards, he had just one sack in the ensuing five games. 

Green Bay Packers FS Nick Collins (#96)

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    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Nick Collins #36 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after scoring a 37 yard touchdown on an interception in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Ar
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Nick Collins, a 3-time Pro Bowler, has become an integral key to the Green Bay Packers success as he's been a big-time playmaker in their secondary.

    Remember, his interception returned for a touchdown in the Super Bowl? That was just one of the several highlight reel plays he's made over his career.

    In just six years, he's already picked off 21 passes and scored four touchdowns. With that said, Collins is well deserving of this ranking. 

Carolina Panthers MLB Jon Beason (#95)

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 19:  Jon Beason #52 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 19, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Jon Beason was one of the few bright spots on the Carolina Panthers team last year, and he continues to be the ultimate pro as he puts out a relentless effort on every play.

    He may not be the most physically gifted player out there, but he's remarkably quick to read and react which allows him to make plays.

    Considering he's totaled  540 tackles in the past four seasons, I think he should have been higher up on this list.

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (#94)

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 12:  Running back Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates a 6-yard touchdown run against the Philadelphia Eagles during their game on October 12, 2008 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. Philadelphia won
    Greg Trott/Getty Images

    Frank Gore is one of the top running backs in the NFL today and has been an absolute workhorse for the 49ers over the past few years.

    He's versatile in a sense that he can not only run in between and outside the tackles, but he's also a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield, and can support in pass blocking as well.

    In his six-year career he's been selected to two Pro Bowls, and despite only playing one full season due to injuries he's amassed 8,697 total yards from scrimmage and 44 touchdowns.

    He could've been a bit higher, but I think this is just about right. 

Kansas City Chiefs FS Eric Berry (#93)

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 09:  Safety Eric Berry #29 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after breaking up a pass to tight end Todd Heap #86 of the Baltimore Ravens in the endzone during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on Janua
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Eric Berry, who was selected with the No. 5 overall pick in last year's draft, has made a very fluid transition to the NFL and is ready to make his mark as a big-play safety along the likes of Ed Reed.

    In his rookie campaign, he had 92 tackles, four interceptions, a pair of sacks, and a forced fumble. Moreover, he was a huge reason why the Chiefs jumped up from the 4th worst scoring defense to 11th best in the league.

    What else can you ask for? 

Chicago Bears LOLB Lance Briggs (#92)

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    CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Lance Briggs #55 of the Chicago Bears reacts while taking on the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Not sure I agree with this placement.  

    I think the problem nowadays is that those linebackers who don't get 10+ sacks are losing respect from others and don't get the accolades that they deserve. However, what many don't realize is that they bring a different skill set to the table. 

    Briggs, who's been a leader of the Bears defense over the past few seasons, is not only a tight cover guy, but he can run sideline to sideline and shutdown the run which is something very few players can do nowadays. He's a true 'three down' player unlike some other guys and I think he deserves to be higher. 

Cincinnati Bengals WR Terrell Owens (#91)

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 26:  Terrell Owens #81 of the Cincinnati Bengals against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Terrell Owens is one of the greatest receivers of all time and I think its ridiculous at how low he was ranked on this list.

    Sure, he's missed a step. I mean what can you expect, he's 37? Regardless, last year, he was ranked 11th amongst receivers in touchdown receptions with nine despite missing two games.

    At some point, I honestly feel bad for him and what his negative perception has done for his image and legacy as a player. Yeah, it's his fault but a lot of this has been blown out of proportion.  

    Note, he's the only Bengal in the Top 100 yet he's likely on his way out. It just goes to show how character can trump talent and being a nuisance in the locker room can be your ticket to unemployment.


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