By now, most of you have seen the list that Matt Williamson made for ESPN. He didn't have Steven Jackson or Sam Bradford in his top 15 players, which is totally illogical to me. His top 4 were right on though, but overall I don't understand how he choose his list. He put Russell Okung on the list and not Rodger Saffold. Clearly Saffold outplayed Okung last year, and this type of list should be about how well you play, not how much potential you have. Anyways my list is after the jump.
9. Chris Long- Even though his sack numbers aren't high, he had the most QB pressures last year IN THE NFL! That alone makes him a top 10 NFC West player. At times he is unblockable one on one and his sack numbers should start to go up this year. I'm expecting double digits sacks this year.
8. Mike Iupati- he is already the best guard in the division. He is a mauler. He started off last year not so well, but by the end of the year he was in pro-bowl form. He will be a great cornerstone for the niners o-line for years to come.
7. Sam Bradford- the best QB in the division. The reigning offensive rookie of the year. He is everything you want in a QB. Had one of the best seasons for a rookie QB ever. He has great accuracy and touch, a good arm, great field vision, good pocket awareness and he is a very good leader. In 5 years I think we will be talking about Sam as one of the best players in football.
6. Aubrayo Franklin- a total beast of a NT. Like most NTs he is a bit of an unknown. This happens because NTs get little chances to make plays. What he does that makes him a top 10 NFC West player is holding the point of attack. Very few NTs do it better. A big key to the niners run defense. The 49ers defiantly want to resign this guy and if they don't their defense will suffer greatly.
5. Steven Jackson- the best RB in the divison. The man is a true beast. Even with his lost speed he still finds a way to be very effective, even behind a sub-par run blocking o-line. He played very well last year despite a broken finger which took away two major parts of his game, stiff arms and receiving. Expect nothing less than another 1300 yd rushing season from SJax with another pro-bowl.
4. Vernon Davis- he is scary good. He runs like a 4.3 at TE along with great size and strength. Reinvented his career after a bit of a fallout. He is the best downfield TE in football and he is a red zone nightmare. The ceiling is very high for Davis.
3. Justin Smith- one of the best 3-4 DEs in football. He can do it all. He is always around the ball making plays. He can pass rush very well along with great run defending. One of the top "motor" guys in football. He comes at you with 110% for 60 mins. Also I've never seen him miss a tackle, not even an arm tackle, which shows his amazing strength.
2. Patrick Willis- the first thing I think about Willis is his size (240 lbs) and his speed (4.37 40). It is so unique to find a guy that large and that fast. To me he is what Brian "The Boz" Bozworth should have been. Willis is unmatched physically. The best tackler in the game, and he often leads the league in that category. As soon as Ray Lewis retires, he will be the best LB in the NFL with no close second.
1. Larry Fitzgerald- he is unstoppable. He has a huge catching radius, amazing leaping ability, the best hands in the game, and he is a fantastic route runner. He showed in the Cardinals playoff run that he can take over games for the wideout position, which is very rare. He is also one of the classiest guys in the league. I can't help but cheer for this guy. He is everything a professional athlete should be. The Cardinals will do everything to resign him next year, and if it comes down to it they will just slap the franchise tag on him. They can't afford to lose him, he is the most valuable player on their team.
As you can see, Williamson and I have the same top 4, so he didn't even do that bad as people say. Also by the way, these lists can never be right or wrong because they are just opinions.