ESPN’s Scouts Inc. has released their list of the top 200 players for the 2011 season, and while it’s not surprising to see a couple of familiar quarterbacks at the top of the rankings, I was pleasantly surprised to see New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis right behind them.
Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. explained the reality that is the overvaluing of quarterbacks. We all know how important quarterbacks are in the NFL. The position is often called the most important position in all of sports.
No one would dare say ranking these players is an easy chore. In fact, it’s a brutal chore. But it’s pretty obvious in viewing the top of this list as to what has the most value. Simply put, quarterbacks make the league go round. If every general manager were to get together and hold a draft, with every current player as a true free agent, quarterbacks would own the first round.
That’s why it’s so impressive to see a cornerback in the top three. But that’s the type of respect that Revis has earned. Five of the top 10 players in their rankings are quarterbacks, along with a running back, a tackle, two wide receivers, and Revis.
Next on the list are players who are essential to the passing game, like pass-protectors, pass-rushers and superb cover men. He doesn’t get the air-time, but Joe Thomas is far more dominant at a key position in the passing game than many quarterbacks are.
Thomas, the All-Pro left tackle of the Cleveland Browns who recently signed a seven-year, $84 million extension with the team, is ranked number 9 overall on the Scouts Inc. rankings.
Here is what they had to say about Revis, the highest non-quarterback on the list, behind only Tom Brady and Peyton Manning:
Revis has outstanding quickness, agility and speed to challenge the top receivers in the league. He is at his best in press man coverage, in which he can use his long arms to get an effective jam on his opponent off the line of scrimmage.
He has good vision and instincts. Revis is a solid run-support player who shows decent pop as a tackler. He doesn’t have outstanding pure speed on the perimeter but understands angles and leverage. He can be dangerous with the ball in his hands after a turnover.
How’s this for parity? The top ten players all play for ten different teams. The entire top 200 list can be found on ESPN’s Insider page, but you can see the top 10 here.