The NFL Top 100 Players of 2011 finished up a week or so ago on the NFL Network (I know I’m a bit late).
After watching the players numbered 100 through 11, the 2 most famous Ravens players were still missing. Those 2 players: Ed Reed and Ray Lewis. I knew they would make the top 10 as did most people but the question is: do they deserve to be there?
The top 10 went down like this:
10. Julius Peppers, DE Chicago Bears
9. Drew Brees, QB New Orleans Saints
8. Darelle Revis, CB New York Jets
7. Andre Johnson, WR Houston Texans
6. Troy Polamalu, S Pittsburgh Steelers
5. Ed Reed, S Baltimore Ravens
4. Ray Lewis, LB Baltimore Ravens
3. Adrian Peterson, RB Minnesota Vikings
2. Peyton Manning, QB Indianapolis Colts
1. Tom Brady, QB New England Patriots
As you’ll notice, Ed Reed is ranked one slot higher (or is it lower? I never know how the language works with countdowns) than Troy Polamalu. This adds to the who’s better debate because the players have spoken and say Ed Reed is a tad better. Though this post is not dedicated to this debate, it’s very tough. I really think you could go either way; there’s no debate that they are the best 2 safeties of all time. It’s just hard to choose between them because they play the game so differently. Troy is on the line of scrimmage often and is very aggressive and makes great plays forcing fumbles and just stopping a drive at the critical time. Reed, on the other hand, is like a shark in the water. He sits in the backfield and waits for the perfect time to strike, jumps in front of a player running his route, grabs the ball, and typically returns it for a nice gain. They both add immense athleticism to their respective team and would be a great addition to any team so it’s almost impossible to pick.
Anyways, does Ed Reed deserve the number 5 overall player in the NFL last season. My answer: yes. He missed 10 games with injuries and STILL led the league in interceptions with 8. That’s hard to do. He played hard during the games he was active and made a big impact for the team.
Now onto Ray Lewis. Every single Ravens fan will never love another Ravens player the way they love Ray Ray. That’s just fact. He IS the Ravens. The first thing anyone thinks of when they think Baltimore Ravens is number 52. He is the greatest linebacker of all time if not the greatest defensive player of all time (if not, he’s pretty damn close). Everyone knows Ray Lewis and everyone thinks of him when they think of defensive. However, can you still say that about him today when he’s almost 35 years old? Many people think so, as do the players and some analysts on NFL Network who expressed their opinions during the Reactions Show, but I do not agree. It’s hard for me to say but DeMarcus Ware and Patrick Willis (among others) are far better linebackers in the game today than Ray Lewis is. I’m not dissing him or denying his amazing feats and game play in his prime, I’m saying that at his older age, he’s not the Ray he used to be and that is NORMAL. He was number 5 in the league last year in sacks. He still has that same passion and fervor that he always had but he doesn’t have that same speed or agility. He misses tackles and makes mistakes that are obvious when you watch the game sometimes. Other times (against the Jets last season, against the Chargers a few seasons ago) he makes that game-changing hit or interception (against the Steelers last season). But, with all that said, he is not the number 4 overall player of last season. Not even close. He deserves to be on the Top 100 but not the Top 10.
What do you guys think? They both deserve to be in the Top 10 or just one or none? What about other Ravens you think SHOULD have made the list? What about the players who did that you think should be higher? Joe Flacco was number 90. Ray Rice was voted at 56. Terrell Suggs was 40 and Haloti Ngata was 17.
As for me, I think Suggs is the best player on the team by far and that HE should have made the Top 20, if not the Top 10. Haloti Ngata deserves a spot in the Top 20 but has more of an impact and is better than Ray Lewis. I love Ray, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t seem him as one of THE BEST player in the National Football League TODAY.