The CFC Top 100 Players of 2012: 20-1

Explanation and #100-81. #80-61. #60-41. #40-21

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.

The CFC Top 100 Players of 2012: 40-21

This is my Top 100 Players of 2012 list, numbers 40-21. If you want a reasoning behind this list, go here. Numbers 60-41. Numbers 80-61. Numbers 100-81

40. Carl Nicks, G, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

As part of the New Orleans Saints offensive line for two years, Carl Nicks is a two time All Pro and has been a big part of the line that keeps Drew Brees healthy. With his success, it’s no surprise he got a nice big new contract to go play for the Buccaneers. The Bucs are hoping he can protect Josh Freeman the same way he did with Drew Brees.

39: Jahri Evans, G, New Orleans Saints

The guard playing on the other side from Carl Nicks, Jahri Evans also has a nice big contract; the biggest for any interior lineman. Nicks is a three time All Pro and 3 time Pro Bowler.

38: Trent Cole, DE, Philadelphia Eagles

As a part of the Eagles D-Line for 6 years, Trent Cole has established himself as a feared defender and pass rusher. He’s had three straight seasons with at least 10 sacks and has had two seasons with 12.5 sacks.

37: Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys

Controversy always surrounds Tony Romo. Where is he among the league’s best? Is he elite? Romo may not be on the elite level yet, but he’s still a very good QB. He had 31 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions in 2011 but his team failed to make the playoffs once again.

36: Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos

This position may puzzle some people, but I said that this list took into consideration what each player did in their past but is mostly about what they can do this season and in the near future. While Peyton Manning is a Hall of Famer, I’m not sure that he brings what he once could to the table and I’m not as certain as most that he’ll be great in Denver. We’ll have to see, but for now I think this is the best position for Peyton Manning in 2012.

35: James Harrison, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers

He may be often in trouble for his illegal hits, but James Harrison is a great defensive player. His pressure on the quarterback is among the best in the league and his run defense isn’t bad either. Harrison is a defensive MVP when he’s at his best.

34: Nick Mangold, C, New York Jets

Nick Mangold is the highest paid center in the league and that’s an honor that he has earned so far in his 4 year career. He’s been an All Pro 3 times and was a big reason why the Jets running game has worked in the past.

33: Mario Williams, LB, Buffalo Bills

Mario Williams missed most of the 2011 season, but that didn’t stop him from getting a big payday from the Bills. There is some question whether or not he can return to his old form, but if he does than he is well worth the risk as he’s going to make up a very good D-Line in Buffalo.

32: Mike Wallace, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Mike Wallace is currently holding out of Steelers camp for a new contract and he wants to be paid like the league’s best WR’s, Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson. As a pure speed threat, Wallace doesn’t deserve that big of a contract but that doesn’t stop him from being one of the biggest threats at the WR position in the league.

31: Julius Peppers, DE, Chicago Bears

With 100 career sacks entering 2012, Julius Peppers is one of the best pass rushers we’ve seen in the past decade. He isn’t quite the player that he was when he was playing for the Panthers, but Peppers is still a feared pass rusher and got 11 sacks in 2011.

30: Haloti Ngata, DE, Baltimore Ravens

He may not be the most talked about player on the Baltimore Ravens feared defense, but he’s as important as any of them. Ngata is a huge presence in the middle of the Ravens D-Line and demands a double team if you don’t want him shutting down your offense. He’s possibly  one of the most athletic lineman in the league which makes him even harder to block for opposing offenses.

29: Jake Long, OT, Miami Dolphins

Jake Long was drafted with the first overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft, and he’s paid off for the Dolphins so far. In each of his first 4 years he’s made the Pro Bowl and when the Dolphins had an elite running game with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, he was a big part of it. Now he’ll be responsible for keeping Ryan Tannehill safe and for Reggie Bush trying to repeat his career best season.

28: Matt Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

Everybody knew the potential that Matt Stafford had when he was drafted, but he finally showed it in 2011. He was able to stay healthy for the first time in his career and had an unbelievable season, throwing for over 5,000 yards. The only thing keeping Stafford from being higher on the list is that he’s only had one productive year, and I think he’s still an injury concern.

27: Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Philadelphia Eagles

I found it amusing when I saw that the NFL network listed Nnamdi Asomugha so low on their list of the best players of 2012. Just a year ago we were saying he was the second best and maybe even the best CB in the league. He had trouble settling into his new team, but towards the end of the season started looking like the old Nnamdi. I expect him to be as good as ever again this year.

26: Charles Woodson, CB, Green Bay Packers

Charles Woodson has been in the NFL 14 years now, and is still among the best at his position. It’s amazing to take into perspective that his two Defensive Player of the year awards came in 1998 and 2009, 11 years apart. Woodson is a shut down corner and the best player on a Green Bay Packers defense that led the league in turnovers last year.

25: Joe Thomas, OT, Cleveland Browns

Another tackle drafted in the Top 5, Joe Thomas has been one of the only stable things on the Browns in the past 5 seasons. Thomas is an All Pro and will be important with unstable QB’s in Cleveland.

24: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, New York Giants

When Jason Pierre-Paul was drafted, I was one of his doubters. I thought he was another workout warrior that would be a bust. He obviously has gotten good teaching though, and with so much raw talent could become the best pass rushing DE in the league.

23: Jared Allen, DE, Minnesota Vikings

After the season he had in 2011, there’s no doubting that Jared Allen is the best DE that the league has. He finished the season with 22 sacks, which was .5 shy of the NFL Record set by Michael Strahan.

22. Troy Polamalu, S, Pittsburgh Steelers

Troy Polamalu has been one of the best, consistent defenders in the NFL for the past couple of years. He’s been a defensive player of the year and unlike some safeties in the NFL, Polamalu is a ball hawk  but can also make plays in the run game unlike a lot.

21: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

Mr. Rookie of the Year. The most talked about man not named Tim Tebow, Cam Newton had a historical rookie season and I don’t see why he can’t continue it. Unless he’s injured, don’t expect him to hit a sophomore slump. The Panthers are just getting better and Cam is the franchise QB that they’ve been looking for.

The CFC Top 100 Players of 2012: 60-41

My list of the top 100 players of 2012. Players 100-81 with an explanation on the thought process into the list. Players 80-61

60: Jamal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

After a breakout 2010 season, it looked like Jamaal Charles was ready to join the elite runningbacks in the league. He has blazing speed and good moves, but went down with a torn ACL early in the 2011 season. I believe he will bounce back from that injury, but he’s so low on this list because I don’t see it happening this year. ACL injuries take more than one year to recover from and that’s why he’s so low. Expect him to be back strong soon though.

59: Eric Berry, S, Kansas City Chiefs

Just like Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry had his season cut short due to a torn ACL. Picked 5th overall in 2010, Berry played up to expectations in his first season earning himself a Pro Bowl visit. If he’s healthy in 2012, Berry will continue to climb among the ranks as one of league’s best defensive backs.

58: D’Brickashaw Ferguson, T, New York Jets

With a great offensive line, the New York Jets have been trying to build a dominant running game for the past couple of years. Along with Nick Mangold on that line is the 3 time Pro Bowler D’Brickashaw Ferguson. When the Jets revolving door at runningback is going well, he’s a big reason why.

57: Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers

Before 2011, Steve Smith had put together a nice career but it seemed like he was really washed up. In came Cam Newton though, and Smith was revitalized. After putting up 500 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2010, Smith bounced back almost 1400 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2011. He may be getting old, but for now he’s a reliable deep threat for Newton.

56: Champ Bailey, CB, Denver Broncos

When you talk about the best corners in the past decade, no discussion is legitimate unless Champ Bailey is mentioned. He’s been a consistent and dominant corner, earning an NFL record 11 Pro Bowl appearances. Still, Bailey is declining and not on the level that he once was which leaves him at 56 on my list.

55: Ray Lewis, LB, Baltimore Ravens

Another player declining, Ray Lewis is among the best to ever play at his position. He still has the heart and determination he’s had his whole career, but his skills and speed has diminished. Still, based on his past and what he can still bring to the table, he’s #55.

54: Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants

With the emergence of Victor Cruz last season, I heard many people say that he was the best WR on the Giants roster. He’s just as young as Cruz and he’s the more consistent and dominating WR. Cruz is the exciting deep threat, but Nicks is the better WR. Working with Eli Manning will only do wonders for his career moving forward.

53: Jon Beason, LB, Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers defense struggled a lot in 2011 and a big part of that was Jon Beason missing in the middle of the defense. A two time All Pro, Beason is among the league’s best linebackers and he still has a lot of years left in him.

52: Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears

Jay Cutler has always been underrated because he has a bad reputation. Whether it was forcing himself out of Denver or sitting out of a playoff game, people seem to not like Jay Cutler. Despite that, Cutler threw for at least 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns in each of his first two seasons in Chicago and was on the way again before getting hurt in 2011. Expect Cutler to have a big 2012 season too, with the return of Brandon Marshall who he played with when he had his career best season.

51: Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers

It’s always nice when you get to be the go to guy for the best QB in the league. Greg Jennings has been Aaron Rodgers top WR since he came into the league and even though Jordy Nelson had a breakout year don’t be fooled; Greg Jennings is his guy.

50: Frank Gore, RB, San Fransisco 49’ers

It appeared like Frank Gore may have been wearing down leading up to this year, but then he came out with 1,200 yards in the 49’ers new offense. There’s no mistaking that father time will catch up with Gore eventually, but I have no doubt he still has a couple 1,000 yard seasons left in him.

49: Ed Reed, S, Baltimore Ravens

One of the best ball hawks that the NFL has seen, quarterbacks need to think twice before throwing his way. In his career he’s been a dangerous defensive back, but I had trouble putting Reed higher than this. He’s declining and getting injured often, not to mention he’s been flirting with retirement in the last couple of years.

48: Wes Welker, WR, New England Patriots

Wes Welker may not be the best WR in the league, but he’s great at what he does. Getting catches and turning them into big plays. Three times since joining the Patriots he’s lead the league in catches and he’s had 1,000 yards in all except 2010, which he missed the end due to injury.

47: Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers

Through the first part of his career, Philip Rivers had high expectations around the league and had played like one of the best QB’s in the league. He took a huge step back in 2011 though throwing 20 interceptions. I don’t think this is a sign of things to come for Rivers, but he may not be as good as we once thought he was.

46: Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons

Since joining the Falcons, Michael Turner has been a workhorse for them. He’s had three seasons with 300 carries and has had double digit touchdowns in all of them. You have to be concerned about him wearing down soon with that amount of carries, but it hasn’t happened yet and he’s still an effective back for the Falcons.

45: Clay Matthews, LB, Green Bay Packers

Coming from a long line of football players, Clay Matthews had high expectations since entering the league in 2009. He hasn’t disappointed yet, making the Pro Bowl in every season. He took a huge step back in 2011 in his sack numbers, but I wouldn’t expect that to be a trend moving forward.

44: Vernon Davis, TE, San Fransisco 49’ers

Vernon Davis hasn’t been too reliable in his short NFL career, but it seems like under coach Jim Harbaugh that he is finally ready to commit to the work needed towards being a successful player. He should only get better with the improvement of Alex Smith, as he joins the elite TE’s in the league.

43: Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders

Perhaps this is too high for someone who has only rushed for 1,000 yards once in his career, but if Darren McFadden could stay healthy he’d be a very good back. He had 614 yards and 4 touchdowns in 7 games before getting hurt in 2011. If he’s healthy, McFadden is one of the best in the league.

42: Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

Another player who would be one of the best if he stayed healthy, we all know what Michael Vick is capable of. He’s an improved passer since joining the Eagles and still brings a dynamic running game. He could see himself on the way out in Philly if he doesn’t stay healthy this upcoming season though and the Eagles play suffers.

41: Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Roddy White broke out in 2010 with a league leading 115 catches for almost 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns. While he didn’t have quite as impressive numbers in 2011, White has established himself as a legitimate WR and a dangerous target for Matt Ryan.

The CFC Top 100 Players of 2012: 80-61

When the NFL Network released their Top 100 Players of 2012, I wasn’t a fan so I decided to make my own list. You can catch the first 20 here, along with some more explanation on how the players are picked.

80: Eric Weddle, S, San Diego Chargers

Tied for the league lead in INT’s in 2011, Eric Weddle had his best season after getting a new contract in the offseason. Weddle also made his first Pro Bowl in 2011 and his second consecutive All Pro team. Weddle is one of the best upcoming safeties in the NFL.

79: Jay Ratliff, DT, Dallas Cowboys

Since entering the league, Jay Ratliff has been a big part of the Cowboys defense in the middle. He’s a four time Pro Bowler and was an All Pro in 2009.

78: Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Vincent Jackson got paid big this past offseason, and he got paid like one of the league’s best WR’s. While he is very good, he was defintley overpaid by the Bucs. He’s been to the Pro Bowl twice but also has held out for a contract and tends to disappear at times. His best season was in 2009 when he caught 68 passes for 1,167 yards and 9 touchdowns. He followed that up by playing in 5 games in 2010.

77: Brian Cushing, LB, Houston Texans

After being drafted in the 1st round of the 2009 draft, Brian Cushing wasted no time and won the defensive rookie of the year award. He’s been a 2 time All Pro player in his short NFL career including this past year when he racked up 81 tackles and 4 sacks.

76: Jermichael Finley, TE, Green Bay Packers

Everybody knows how talented Jermichael Finley is, but he has yet to make use of his full potential. He’s a very athletic TE and had his best season this past year with 767 yards and 8 touchdowns. Things should only go up from here for Finley, as he’s getting more experience and playing with Aaron Rodgers.

75: Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

Dwayne Bowe followed up his career best 201o season-in which he caught a league leading 15 touchdowns-with another great season despite not having the teams starting QB Matt Cassel. Bowe is one of the league’s best young WR’s and with Cassel back this season he’s in for another great season, and a potentially big payday in 2013.

74: Adrian Wilson, S, Arizona Cardinals

Adrian Wilson has been one of the league’s best safeties during his 10 year career in the NFL so far. A 5 time Pro Bowler, Wilson has been an important part of the Cardinals defense during his NFL career. Wilson appears to be on the way down though, with his tackle and interception numbers going down in each of the past two seasons.

73: Ryan Clady, T, Denver Broncos

In his rookie season, Ryan Clady finished third in the Rookie of the year voting behind Chris Johnson and Matt Ryan. He was the only lineman to receive a vote. During that rookie season he only allowed .5 sacks which is an incredible number for any lineman let alone a rookie. While his sack numbers have gone up considerably since his rookie year, Clady is still a premier tackle and will be a big part of keeping Peyton Manning healthy this upcoming season.

72: Ryan Kalil, C, Carolina Panthers

The Panthers have had success over the past couple of years running the ball with DeAngelo Williams and Johnathan Stewart, and a big part of that is Ryan Kalil at the middle of their O line. Kalil is a three time Pro Bowler and one of the best centers. Kalil also received a 6 year, $49 million deal making him the highest paid center in the league.

71: Brandon Flowers, CB, Kansas City Chiefs

Before 2011, Brandon Flowers received a nice new 5 year, $50 million contract. Even though he has yet to make a Pro Bowl in his 4 year career, Flowers has been a reliable corner for the Chiefs and could become an elite corner in the next couple of years.

70: Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys

Since 2007, Jason Witten has been consistently one of the best TE’s in the league. He’s had 900 yards in every year since 2007 and had 9 touchdowns in 2010. He’s been reliable and a top target for Tony Romo, and things should stay that way.

69: Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills

Through 10 games in 2011, Fred Jackson was the top back in all of the NFL. 934 yards and 6 touchdowns, Jackson was a big reason that the Bills were a surprise team in the first part of the 2011 season. When Jackson went down though, so did the Bills. If Jackson can stay healthy and stay on the pace he was setting last year, he will rise on the list of the best players in the league and could become recognized as one of the best running backs.

68: Jason Babin, DE, Philadelphia Eagles

After a big season in 2010 for the Titans in which he racked up 12.5 sacks, Jason Babin was able to get a nice payday, joining the Eagles for 5 years and $28 million. Babin proved to be worth that in his first season with the team, getting a career high 18 sacks on his way to his second straight Pro Bowl.

67: Logan Mankins, G, New England Patriots

When Tom Brady gets all the time he gets in the pocket, Logan Mankins is one of the reasons why. A 4 time Pro Bowler and a 3 time All Pro, Mankins was deserving of the contract he got before the 2011 season that made him the 2nd highest guard in the NFL.

66: Lance Briggs, LB, Chicago Bears

Along with Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs has been a big part of the feared Chicago Bears defense. Briggs is a 7 time Pro Bowler and has had over 80 tackles in all of his NFL seasons except for his rookie year.

65: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit Lions

After an incredible first season in which he won rookie of the year, Ndamukong Suh fell off in 2011. Often in trouble with the NFL law, Suh is now on their list of “dirty” players in the NFL which isn’t good. He had only 4 sacks in 2011 compared to the 10 he had in his rookie year. If he can get back to his rookie year form though he’s one of the most feared defensive lineman in the league.

64: Jonathan Joseph, CB, Houston Texans

One of the best corners in the league, Jonathan Joseph started to be recognized as one in 2011. He was voted to the Pro Bowl and more importantly got a big payday from the Texans in the way of 5 years and $48 million.

63: Richard Seymour, DE, Oakland Raiders

Usually when the Patriots ship someone out of town, it means they’re done. While Seymour hasn’t been as great of the player he was with the Pats, Seymour has still been very effective for an average Raiders defense. His sack totals have gone up in each of his three seasons with the Raiders while he still proves that he’s a valuable player on this team.

62: Brian Urlacher, LB, Chicago Bears

For the past decade, Brian Urlacher has been the anchor on the Chicago Bears defense and was a big part of them making it to Super Bowl XLI. Urlacher has been a consistent force in his career and has been the reason the Bears have had a feared defense. Urlacher has a very good chance at the Hall of Fame when he finally decides to end his career.

61: Justin Tuck, DE, New York Giants

Justin Tuck has had an up and down last couple of years sack wise, but when he’s on the top he’s among the best. It’s easy to see why this has happened to him too, with all the other talent that the Giants cycle in on the D-Line. Tuck has had over 10 sacks in three seasons since 2007 and had 6 and 5 in the other two seasons.

The CFC Top 100 NFL Players of 2012: 100-81

When the NFL network started their “Top 100 Players” list last year, I hated some of the picks. I do love making lists though, so it was a natural idea for me to dive into it and make a list of my own. Unfortunately, this blog didn’t exist last year so there is no evidence of that list. This year though, I decided to once again make a list.

The criteria for this list is pretty simple. I took into account what a player has done in the past, but most importantly took into account what I think they’ll do this upcoming season. So a player like Cam Newton who’s going to light up the NFL for years to come may be ranked high, but I also refrained from putting him too high because we’ve only seen him for a year. On the other hand, declining players like Ed Reed are pretty high due to their Hall of Fame past but not as high as they once would be because they aren’t the player that they used to be.

As with all articles, I look forward to comments. Even more with stuff like this though, because a lot of effort went into making this and I love to hear feedback about it. So here’s my first 20 players. The next 20 will be coming soon and at the end I’ll post my entire list.

100: Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams

A couple of years ago, Steven Jackson would have been near the top of the list. While he’s still a great runningback though, I think this is the year we’re going to start see his decline. He’s been good for 1,000 yards every year since 2004, which was his rookie year. He had to fight injury last year though and I think he’s going to have a problem staying healthy and effective this year. He may be still good for 800-900 yards, but this isn’t the Steven Jackson of old.

99: James Laurinaitis, LB, St. Louis Rams

Since being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft, James Laurinaitis has been a great linebacker for the Rams and has been a consistent run stopper for them. He’s had two seasons with over 100 tackles and the only season in which he didn’t he was only two short. On a poor Rams team, Laurinaitis has been a consistent defensive player and is going to be a good linebacker for years to come.

98: Vonta Leach, FB, Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens pickup of Vonta Leach last season was one of the best moves that they’ve made recently. Leach, who’s one of the best blocking fullbacks in the NFL has now paved the way for Arian Foster and Ray Rice, two of the league’s premier backs, in the past two years. In both of those years, Leach has been an All Pro.

97: Elvis Dumervil, LB, Denver Broncos

In 2010, Elvis Dumervil was a sack machine. He led the NFL with 17 sacks and followed that up in 2011 with 9.5 more. Along with Von Miller, he lead the Broncos defense to a very successful season. Dumervil should be good for another 10 sacks this year too.

96: Santonio Holmes, WR, New York Jets

Even though his stats have gone down significantly in the past two years, Santonio Holmes is a great WR. After all, it’s hard to put up good stats with Mark Sanchez at QB and especially when they have a bad relationship. He still has good touchdown numbers though and had 1,248 yards in his last season with the Steelers in 2009.

95: Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans

Last year, Chris Johnson would have been one of the top players in the NFL. And he deserved it, after rushing for 1,000 yards. After his contract disputes though he had a very rough season and some question if he may be done already. I think that he’s going to surprise a lot of people and have a good season again this year. Not 2,000 yard Chris Johnson, but maybe a 1,300 yard and 8 touchdown Chris Johnson.

94: Tamba Hali, LB, Kansas City Chiefs 

Tamba Hali burst onto the scene in 2010 with a 14.5 sack season for the Kansas City Chiefs. He followed it up with 12 more sacks in 2011 and has established himself as one of the great young pass rushers in the NFL.

93: Asante Samuel, CB, Atlanta Falcons

Some people may question having Asante Samuel this low, but I think him getting shipped out by the Eagles this season showed even more that he’s one of the league’s most overrated CB’s. Samuel gets a lot of interceptions but gets beat a lot and is an awful tackler. Still, his high interception numbers warrant him a spot in the Top 100.

92: Darren Sproles, RB, New Orleans Saints 

Before his first season with the Saints, I doubted Darren Sproles. He obviously wasn’t an every down back and still isn’t. I wasn’t sure how he’d do with the Saints. Obviously, I was proved very wrong as Sproles gained the most total yards in one season in NFL history. Sproles may not be an every down back but he is a triple threat and dangerous running, passing and in the return game.

91: Robert Mathis, DE, Indianapolis Colts

Robert Mathis may be stuck on one of the worst defenses in the NFL, but he is still a very effective defensive end He’s had 20 sacks in the last two years combined, including 11.5 in 2010.

90: Lamar Woodley, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Since being drafted by the Steelers in 2007, Lamar Woodley has been a big part of their feared defense. In just 4 years, he’s racked up 44 sacks and was a Pro Bowler in 2009.

89: Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Even though he’s on a steady decline, Reggie Wayne was still able to get 960 yards and 4 touchdowns with Curtis Painter at quarterback for the Colts. With Peyton Manning gone, Wayne decided to still come back to the Colts and will now have to work with Andrew Luck for the rest of his career. Before 2011 though, Wayne had 7 straight seasons with 1,000 receiving yards.

88: DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

DeSean Jackson may be a big deep threat, but I have him this low because I don’t think he’s a great all around WR and deserves to be among the league’s elite WR’s. His contract dispute and poor season hurt him, but it also doesn’t help that he hasn’t had more than 63 receptions in a season.

87: Miles Austin, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Hurt in 2011, Miles Austin wasn’t able to play like we saw him do the previous two seasons. At full strength, Austin is the best WR that the Cowboys have and still got 7 touchdown receptions in the 10 games he has. With Tony Romo at QB, a healthy Austin is good for 1,000 yards and could reach double digit TD’s for the 2nd time in his career.

86: London Fletcher, LB, Washington Redskins

A model of consistency for the Redskins, London Fletcher racks up tackles for their defense. He was a 2nd team all Pro in this past season and even though he’s only made two Pro Bowls he’s been very consistent over his 14 year career and hasn’t showed much slowing down yet.

85: Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants

The breakout star from the past season, Victor Cruz set the Giants recieving yards record in his first full season with the team. Of course we don’t know if Cruz can keep it up, but I’m willing to bet he can. With speed and a great ability after the catch, Cruz is sure to salsa in the end zone plenty more in his NFL career.

84: Cortland Finnegan, CB, St. Louis Rams

After playing the first 6 years of his career with the Tennessee Titans, Finnegan took a big payday to reunite with his former coach Jeff Fisher. Finnegan is a very good corner who gets paid like one, but isn’t quite on the elite level. He will be an upgrade for the Rams defense though.

83: Chris Long, DE, St. Louis Rams

Chris Long hadn’t quite lived up to his potential as the 2nd overall pick in his first 3 NFL seasons, but broke out with a 13 sack season in 2011 for the Rams. If Long can keep this up, he’ll be one of the top pass rushers in the NFL for quite some time.

82: Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks

Another player who finally broke out, Lynch was able to get paid like one of the best backs due to a great second half of the season. A punishing back, Lynch always gets good yards after contact. It’s yet to be seen if he’ll be able to keep that up in his second full season with the Seahawks though, and his first after getting paid.

81: Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons

After winning rookie of the year in 2008, Matt Ryan has yet to make the leap that many have been waiting for from him. He did have his best NFL season in 2011 though, so maybe it’s coming soon. He does have great weapons around him and with Michael Turner getting older the Falcons may look to air the ball out more.