August 3, 2012 1 Comment
20: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
While Big Ben may not be flashy, there’s no doubting that he’s one of the best QB’s that the league has. He can extend plays with his legs and has been one of the clutch QB’s in the NFL, leading the Steelers to 2 Super Bowls.
19: Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints
Jimmy Graham came onto the NFL scene last year with an amazing season that we haven’t seen from a TE in the NFL. The only problem was that Rob Gronkowski had a better year. Still, Graham is going to be a force at TE for awhile as long as Drew Brees is throwing the ball. He puts up WR numbers at the TE position.
18: Terrell Suggs, LB, Baltimore Ravens
Even though Suggs won’t play in 2012, when he is active he makes the feared Ravens defense even better. It’s unfortunate that Suggs went down a year after winning the Defensive Player of the Year Award, but that’s why you don’t play basketball in the offseason(allegedly). When Suggs returns in 2013, he’ll still be one of the best LB’s in the NFL.
17: Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears
It was good to see Matt Forte get a new contract in the offseason because he really did deserve it. He carried the Bears offense before getting hurt, and it’s no coincidence that once he went down so did their playoff chances. Forte is good for over 1,000 yards and is also really good as a receiving back.
16: DeMarcus Ware, LB, Dallas Cowboys
As a Giants fan, it’s scary to play DeMarcus Ware twice a year. He’s led the league in sacks twice in his career and has had two seasons with at least 19.5 sacks. If I was going to bet on anyone breaking Michael Strahan’s sack record, it would be DeMarcus Ware.
15: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Maurice Jones-Drew is in the middle of a holdout, but unlike some players(Mike Wallace) he absolutely deserves a new contract and I’m in favor of what he’s doing. MJD has been a workhorse on a terrible team, and if anybody is holding out to stay on an awful team like Jacksonville I say give them a contract. Also, MJD lead the league in carries and yards in 2011 and has had three straight seasons with at least 1300 yards.
14: Patrick Willis, RB, San Fransisco 49′ers
Patrick Willis is a beast. For a defense that was so great in 2011, Willis was the leader and the stopping force in the middle. He’s a tackling machine and is still pretty young. He could be the Ray Lewis for the next decade after Lewis finally hangs it up.
13: Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
He may be a big story off the field, but Gronk is an even bigger threat on the field. The Patriots TE’s are re-defining the position in the NFL and Gronk has become a huge target for Brady. He caught a league leading 17 touchdowns last season, which was also a TE record.
12: Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
It took two Super Bowls, but Eli Manning may finally be getting the recognition that he deserves. He’s a great QB who becomes an incredible one in the final two minutes of a game. He threw for almost 5,000 yards in 2011 on his way to the Super Bowl, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him surpass that for a very good Giants team.
11: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
It’s scary to think what Larry Fitzgerald could do with a competent QB. He’s been stuck with John Skelton and Kevin Kolb and STILL signed an extension. He showed how important he could be to a team during the Cardinals improbable Super Bowl run a couple years ago. If the Cardinals could get a good QB to pair with him and Michael Floyd, they could have a good offense again in Arizona.
10: Darrelle Revis, CB, New York Jets
Darrelle Revis considered holding out again this offseason so he could become the league’s highest paid corner once again. While he deserves it, it’s good that he showed up because without him the Jets defense wouldn’t be anywhere near the force we have seen them. Revis is the best corner in the league and he can shut down pretty much anybody.
9: Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans
While the Texans lost their three best players to injury at different parts of last season, none were more important than Andre Johnson. Even though he’s already suffered a minor injury in training camp, Johnson should be back at 100% when the season starts. When he is healthy, he’s the second best WR in the league.
8: Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
This was a tough one, but I need to be clear here. Adrian Peterson won’t be the same player in 2012 as we’re used to seeing. Coming off such a horrifying injury, it’s just not possible. When he is healthy though, he’s the best RB in the league. I wouldn’t go and draft him in any fantasy league’s though this year. In 2013 though, I expect him to be back as the old ADP.
7: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
There are some believers out there that think Drew Brees won’t be the same player without head coach Sean Payton this year. I am not one of those people. I wouldn’t expect him to break the record he set last year, but he’s still good for high 4,000 yards and 40 TD’s.
6: Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans
After his first season, I was hesitant to accept Arian Foster as one of the league’s best RB’s. After another great year though(even though he was hurt for part of it), he has now established himself as one of the best. He’ll be among the RB’s trying to win the rushing title this year.
5: Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Ray Rice is one of the smallest runningbacks in the league, but he’s built like a tank which allows him to explode through the line and tackles. For the Ravens, Rice is the offense. An incredible stat from last season: The Ravens are 21-1 in the past two seasons when Ray Rice gets 20+ carries. Not only that, but he’s huge in the passing game. If Cam Cameron wants to keep his job past this year, he’ll give Ray Rice the ball. A lot.
4: LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Much like Ray Rice in Baltimore, LeSean McCoy is a huge part of the Eagles offense. One of the quickest backs in the league, LeSean McCoy had a combined 20 touchdowns in 2011 and is a dangerous combination along with Michael Vick in the Eagles defense.
3: Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions
There is no stopping Calvin Johnson. He’s fast, strong, tall and even with a double team on him he beats it most of the time. He’s by far the best WR in the league and the only thing that could stop him is injury. And if you believe in the Madden curse, than that might be a possibility this year.
2: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
After another disappointing end to the season, Tom Brady will be back strong again in 2012. It may seem crazy to say, but I could see Brady breaking the passing touchdowns record that he set in 2007. He has a ton of great weapons on offense and hasn’t showed any signs of declining yet.
1: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
The 45-6 ratio of TD’s-INT’s that Rodgers put up in 2011 was incredible. After a season like that, there’s no doubting that he’s the best QB in the NFL. He didn’t throw the most yards or TD’s, but the efficiency that he passes for is incredible. Not to mention that he led his team to a 14-1 record. Aaron Rodgers is the best player in the NFL in 2012.