A Flawed Top 100 – Morning Cup O’Chiefs

Over the holiday weekend, NFL Network, NFL Films and NFL.com released the final 10 names on the list of the 100 best players in the league for the upcoming 2011 season.

These best player lists provide the opportunity for discussion and debate. Otherwise, they don’t really mean anything. For the NFL Network, the release of the 100 names provided programming to feed the 24/7 television beast that never sleeps.

New England QB Tom Brady and Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning came in at No. 1 and 2 in the voting.

The sell-point on this top 100 list was that it came through a vote of current players; supposedly more than 400 took part in the vote.

After taking a look at the players’ top 100 one thing comes through – they aren’t any better at lining up players for a list like this one that the fans or media. Yes, players know the game, but that doesn’t necessarily transfer into knowing personnel. If it did, more than three of the league’s 32 men in charge of personnel would be former NFL players.

For those that haven’t seen the top 100, find it right here.

One of the most popular teams for the voters was the Chiefs, as they had five players on the team. Not bad for a club that’s had just one winning season in the last four years. Here are the five Chiefs listed by their spot in the rankings:  

  • #33    RB Jamaal Charles, 4th ranked running back.
  • #45    WR Dwayne Bowe, 8th ranked wide receiver.
  • #64    OLB Tamba Hali, 6th ranked pass rusher.
  • #67    G Brian Waters, 3rd ranked guard.
  • #93    SS Eric Berry, 5th ranked safety.

According to the player voting, the Chiefs are tied for the spot as the fifth most talented team in the league. Only Green Bay (7), Indianapolis (6), Dallas (6) and Baltimore (6) had more players on the top 100. Also sitting with five players were Atlanta, New England and New Orleans.

That’s what a 10-6 record and a division championship will bring to a team that was under the radar in previous seasons. It may be a bit premature on some of the Chiefs selected and certainly reputation when it comes to another.

Based on the rest of the list Charles is rated too low, Bowe too high, Hali too low and Waters too high. As nice a season as Berry had in his rookie year, I’m not sure that qualified him as one of the 100 best players in the league. But, his rank at No. 93 is not out of line. I’d swap the spots of Bowe and Hali, moving Tamba up 19 spots and dropping Bowe into the second 50 players.

Missing is QB Matt Cassel, who was good enough to make the AFC team for the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement. He should have been in the top 100 instead of Washington QB Donovan McNabb who came in at the last spot. Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman after just two seasons was over-valued at No. 86. I don’t doubt that Freeman will eventually be among the better QBs in the league, but that’s not the case right now and he’s not one of the league’s best dozen quarterbacks. Cassel would be in that group.

Waters is not among the top guards in the league. He made the team based on reputation and past performances. He did not have a bad season last year, but it wasn’t one of his best and his future with the Chiefs remains a major question mark given his age and eroding talent level. As with any veteran player, the team faces an interesting dilemma of when to pull the chain on a veteran player. On any given Sunday, Waters can be as good as any guard in the league. But for 16 games, that’s not going to be the case.

Interesting that four of the five Chiefs players named were part of the team that Scott Pioli and Todd Haley inherited from the previous regime. It’s become popular sport among some Chiefs fans to rip the personnel skills of the departed Carl Peterson-Herm Edwards-Bill Kuharich, but that group added Bowe and Charles, with Hali coming during the Dick Vermeil Era and Brian Waters traces all the way back to when Gunther Cunningham was the head coach.

Here are a few other thoughts, musings and debate points about the top 100 list:

– Some of the players that should have been in the top 100 – Cassel, Buffalo NT Kyle Williams, Pittsburgh C Maurkice Pouncey, New England CB Devin McCourty, Jacksonville TE Marcedes Lewis, Carolina C Ryan Kalil and Arizona DL Darnell Dockett.

– Some of the players that should not have been in the top 100 – McNabb, Waters, Freeman, WR Santonio Holmes, WR Terrell Owens, S Nick Collins, OT Jordan Gross.

– The players weren’t any better at providing equal opportunity for defensive players compared to those on offense. There were 59 offensive players and 41 defensive on the list. Much like the voting for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it does not take into account the old phrase “offense sells tickets, defense wins championships.”

– As befitting the current state of the NFL game, the position that claimed the most spots in the top 100 was wide receiver, with 18 pass catchers selected. That was ahead of DE/Pass Rushers with 15 and quarterbacks at a dozen. That 18 percent of the league’s best players are WRs is a bit out of whack. There were 16 WRs that went over 1,000 receiving yards in the 2010 season and some are not part of the list, guys like Santana Moss, Hakeem Nicks and Steve Johnson.

– Fullback and center drew the fewest slots, with one and three each. Again, another superficial look at the league by the players, much as the media and fans would do. Yes, fullback is a position that’s fallen into the shadows around the league, but only three centers?

– Just like in Hall of Fame voting by media members, it helped in this poll of the players to be wearing a Super Bowl ring. Eight of the first 15 played for a championship team and 17 of the top 44.

– Of the 12 quarterbacks, five have led their team to a Super Bowl championship, including the first four QBs who were all listed among the top 11 players: Brady (1), Manning (2), Drew Brees (9) and Aaron Rodgers (11). Down the list is Ben Roethlisberger (41).

– I don’t know about you, but I find it very interesting that Hali came in at No. 64, while Jared Allen was well down the list at No. 80. Three years ago, the Vikings thought they were getting the NFL’s best pass rusher. He has 40 sacks in three seasons with 165 total tackles and 9 forced fumbles. In the same span, Hali had 26 sacks, 167 total tackles and 11 forced fumbles.

– There were three rookies in the top 100 – #51 Detroit DT Ndamukong Suh, #83 Tampa Bay WR Mike Williams and #93 Berry.

6 Responses to “A Flawed Top 100 – Morning Cup O’Chiefs”

  • July 5, 2011  - KC_Guy says:

    Bob, is your e-mail down? I receive delivery failure notices.

  • July 5, 2011  - Arrowheadlines: Chiefs News 7/5 | Lil' Dickie's Sports Report says:

    [...] A Flawed Top 100… Morning Cup O’Chiefs from Bob Gretz While NFL owners and players appear to be inching toward a resolution of the league’s long lockout, a group of retired players is clamoring to be more involved in the discussions. [...]

  • July 5, 2011  - Anthony zema says:

    Why wasn’t brandon flowers or Brandon Carr on there?

  • July 5, 2011  - Blake says:

    Hey Bob, Herm Edwards drafted Tamba Hali not Dick Vermeil.

  • July 5, 2011  - rwh1974 says:

    To give Herm credit for drafting anyone is ridiculas. He was so surprised by Peterson hiring him after he ran the Jets into the ground he was nothing more than a yes man to Peterson. The best Herm could ever be is maybe and I stress maybe a position coach. Though Peterson stayed too long he did pick a gem on occasion. I think Brandon Carr and Derrick Johnson both turned a corner last year. I cant remember the game for Carr but I remember Johnsons.It was the St. Louis game and he almost single handedly kept their monster of a running back on the ground the whole game. I think if they do a top 100 at the end of this season You might find Carr And Johnson on it.

  • July 10, 2011  - who knows says:

    its also flawed to point to those players, like DJ and say they were half as good as they are now, heck, hali has done better under todd haley. Fact. Bowe? Better.

    as for top 100
    bowe is prob rated below greg jennings imo, 80ish
    cassel over mcnabb? yes. cassel is a top 12 qb, nice to read that somewhere.
    charles should be higher if CJ is rated so high.
    Waters isnt a top 100 player anymore, asamoah should replace him
    Berry is rated just right, and will rise
    flowers should have been in the 80s

    the issue with previous drafting is there was zero depth

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