NFL: I've Been Thinkin'...7/12

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

NFL.com's "Top 100" players for 2014...

How this list gets voted into being every year interests me. Why? Well, if it's the players voting on their peers - based on who they have actually played against - I guess it would be a sound list. But it isn't, so the accuracy - if a list like this can ever be called accurate - has to be called into question. The "Top 100" is entertainment, not to be taken with much more than a grain of salt. The NFL does have a minor gold mine of content with this list's annual unveiling, and fans love it for the most part.

What I find down right humorous is the clips showing players marking their "ballots". Thousands of names on the list, and they mark their choices. Now, these are the same guys who struggled to answer 50 questions on the Wonderlic Test, right? So player A.D.D. aside, I'm not really all that sure they take the time to consider which players (There are 1696 on active NFL rosters) deserve consideration. I can't help but think the whole process is somewhat skewed. What's more, the list gives fans the opportunity to scream bloody murder for their favorite players being slighted. That said, I have a few bones to pick about the 2014 "Top 100" list:

Aaron Rodgers doesn't make the Top 10? Really... REALLY? He missed a couple games due to injury in 2013, but the amount he means to his team, let alone his amazing abilities as a quarterback in the NFL, was completely overlooked. To me, the only picks they got close to right in the Top 10 were Peyton Manning at #1, Calvin Johnson at #2, and Drew Brees at #6 and A.J. Green at #9. Tom Brady would be on the bubble, but there's no way Jimmy Graham makes my Top 10. Adrian Peterson has an argument to make the elite "10", since he literally carries him team - not unlike Arron Rodgers. I'm a huge LeSean McCoy fan, but I can't help but think he was the beneficiary of Chip Kelly's offense in 2013. Jamaal Charles is a very good running back, but he doesn't have what I'd see as necessary to rank him as the #8 BEST NFL player.

It comes down to how you rank a player, and each of us have our own criteria. Plus, there's always the guys  overlooked outside the Top 10. You've got Rodgers, J.J. Watt, Earl Thomas - who should exchange places on the list with Richard Sherman - Brandon Marshall, Demaryius Thomas, Luke Kuechly, Navarro Bowman... Hmm?

My Top 10 NFL players list?

#1 - Peyton Manning

#2 - Calvin Johnson

#3 - J.J. Watt

#4 - Aaron Rodgers

#5 - Drew Brees

#6 - Adrian Peterson

#7 - Earl Thomas

#8 - Patrick Peterson

#9 - Luke Kuechly

#10 - A.J. Green

Yes, Robert Quinn doesn't make my Top 10, but if he stacks another season together with his 2013 campaign, he'll have earned it. Plus, the amount he benefited from Chris Long's presence on the left side of the Rams' defensive line can't be understated. In fact, one of the biggest problems I have with this entire list is Long's absence from somewhere in the Top 100? Playing with a painful hip injury all season, he maintained his high motor "ball of butcher knives" approach to the game throughout the year.

Josh Gordon's pending suspension...

When Gordon slink-ed out of college and into the 2012 Supplemental NFL Draft, he had "Buyer Beware" written all over him. He reminds me of Kenny Britt in a way, who has constantly battled with maturity issues during his NFL career. The Browns knew what they were getting when they took Gordon, so if they acted dismayed he's on the verge of a prolonged 'time out" from the league, they're either idiots or lying. They gave the troubled, yet talented, young man a 4 year, $5.4 million contract, and what: Expected him to instantly grow up? Issuing checks to off kilter players has become a bizarre sort of crossing their fingers and seeing if it works kind of thing. It works out sometimes, but more often than not it fails miserably.

Some are say the Browns should cut Gordon so he hits "rock bottom"? Again, applying a set descriptive to what should or shouldn't happen with the former Baylor star wide receiver would be yet another foray into the land of miscues. What works for one person, may not work for another. Tyrann Mathieu had a support system during his troubled transition to the NFL in Patrick Peterson, and it's worked out for him so far. Yet, I can't see why anyone would think cutting Gordon could be even close to a good idea if the aim is to help him? I'm sorry, but if the Cleveland Browns walk away from this young man, I'm forever done with them. They need to commit to this young man beyond a pay check. Hire Ray Lewis to mentor him, or hire Doctor Phil to cliche him into submission. Whatever it takes, exhaust all avenues before you send this young man out into a world that will chew him up, and waste his God given talents...

The NFC West Fur Ball...

The closer we get to training camp, the more I get the feeling the NFC West is not just going to be tough, but also hold a few surprises. First, I mentioned an article how I think the 49ers offense - and not their defense - is what will carry them through the 2014 season. I believe the 49ers will score more points than they have in the last two season. This could be a make or break year for offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who's been on possible head coaching radars in the recent past. If the 49ers offense doesn't make huge strides to close the gap with Seattle, look for San Francisco to have a coaching shake up.

Seattle has a talented team, but their ego meter is pegging just a bit to high. If - by chance - Seattle hits a two or three game slide - the Seahawks could find themselves in a self-induced battle to find their 2013 form. Marshawn Lynch is the guy who can keep the team on the rails if they hit a bump, but he's also the one player on their team they can't afford. He's the load-stone, make no mistake about it...

Arizona has depth issues at quarterback, and an offensive line that up to now only looks good on paper. Carson Palmer's health is an all or nothing proposition for the desert red birds. Drew Stanton could be an able game manager in the short term, but he won't take them to the post season promised land. Truth be told, I kind of like the Cardinals. But I wouldn't be too shocked if they come apart very early in the 2014 season if they're hit with a key injury. Skill player position depth is "iffy" at best. Where they look strongest is in their defensive secondary, so keep an eye on the recovery of Tyrann Mathieu from a late season injury in 2013.

The St.. Louis Rams are... What? EXACTLY! No one has any idea of how this team will perform in 2014. The only given seems to be their defensive line, which may have the best position depth in the entire NFL. The key for the Rams' defense may very well rest with some "tweener" players Jeff Fisher has been developing. Chief among them could be undrafted free agent Ray Ray Armstrong, who transitioned from a college safety to outside linebacker. A strong special teams player in 2013, some dumb penalties marred his rookie outing. The Rams have depth issues at linebacker, so Armstrong could be pressed into service. This is a great player to keep an eye on going into training camp and the preseason.

Now, for something which should literally blow you away. If you aren't, you need to check your pulse and see if you're alive... Enjoy your weekend...


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