By now, the majority of NFL fans have seen the top 100 players, which aired on NFL Network and captivated the attention of fans for its controversial rankings.
For example, Tim Tebow as the 95th best player in the league. No comment.
But now there’s another top 100 player ranking, and it’s a list that I respect a whole lot more than the list by NFL Network.
It’s a ranking by Pro Football Focus, and it focuses solely on the 2011 season. So Peyton Manning can’t make the list, obviously, since he didn’t play last season.
What the list does have is six players from the Philadelphia Eagles, tied for the most players from one team. That’s pretty impressive when you consider the Eagles’ extremely disappointing 8-8 record, but it’s all probably not very surprising when you remember how much individual talent the Eagles have on their roster.
Left tackle Jason Peters tops the list of Eagles players. He’s ranked 11th, which is the highest out of any offensive linemen in the league.
Left guard Evan Mathis is ranked 18th, which is the highest out of any guard in the league, and the second highest of all offensive linemen. That means that the 2011 Eagles had the two best offensive linemen in the league, according to Pro Football Focus.
Defensive end Trent Cole is ranked 23rd. Cole is a player who has consistently ranked very well on PFF’s rankings. For 4-3 defensive ends, he ranked first in the league last season, despite playing in just 14 games. In fact, over the past four seasons, Cole has finished first, first, third, and fourth among defensive ends in the league. That’s incredible.
The 31st ranked player is running back LeSean McCoy, who enjoyed a tremendous breakout season in 2011, when he scored a franchise-record 20 total touchdowns in just 15 games. He is only 23 years old and is one track to become one of the top offensive playmakers in franchise history.
Jason Babin came in at number 52 on the list. He collected 18 sacks in 2011, thriving while playing next to Cole. He also benefited from the services of defensive line coach Jim Washburn.
The final Eagle on the top 100 players list is cornerback Asante Samuel, who ranked 93rd. Samuel was the only cornerback of the big three–Nnamdi Asomugha, Samuel, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie–to enjoy a successful season in 2011. However, he was traded to the Atlanta Falcons during the offseason, where he will play alongside Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson.
When the list is made at the end of the 2012 season, I’d expect to see Cole, McCoy, and Babin back on the list. It remains to be seen whether Evan Mathis can duplicate his incredible success in 2011. Peters is out for the season and Samuel is on a different team. So that’s four of the six players who I expect to repeat in the top 100.
However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a number of other players crack the list. Quarterback Michael Vick should be in the top 100. Wide receivers DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin have a chance, although neither has rated particularly well according to Pro Football Focus, especially Jackson. Other options for the top 100 players include offensive tackle Todd Herremans, defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, and linebacker DeMeco Ryans.