By: James Johnson
My apologies for the delay last week, folks, but IES Top 100 is back this week as we take a look at players 69-60. In this week’s top 100, the offensive line dominated the countdown again with 4 more lineman revealed, the DB’s also get some love with three players, and a savvy veteran receiver that could stir up some controversy makes the cut. That said, I won’t keep you waiting any longer–here’s the latest edition of IES Top 100. Enjoy!
69.) Andy Levitre – G, Tennessee Titans – I don’t know if I would’ve gave him the payday the Titans did, but I do believe he’s one of the top guards in the league. He’s superb as a pass blocker, but, as PFF points out, he could be better as a run blocker.
68.) Devin McCourty – DB, New England Patriots – A rare jack-of-all-trades defensive back and probably the best all around secondary player of 2012. He started the season at corner then made a move to safety mid-season due to the Patriots’ secondary woes. The Patriots’ secondary minus him wouldn’t be pretty (and yes I know they have Talib). According to PFF, he ranked in the top 15 as a corner and safety.
67.) Jahri Evans – G, New Orleans Saints – The league really got a good look at Evans this year as the other pro-bowl guard who started opposite him, Carl Nicks, went on to Tampa Bay. He’s a mountain of a man that does his due diligence in protecting Drew Brees and I believe that the Saints need to run more behind Evans.
66.) John Sullivan – C, Minnesota Vikings – Not exactly a household name, but this young man deserves a lot of credit for paving paths for Adrian Peterson who, as we all know, had an unreal season. Without Sullivan (and Loadholt) there is no question in my mind that Peterson wouldn’t have came close to Eric Dickerson’s record.
65.) Brandon Flowers – CB, Kansas City Chiefs – Yet another overlooked player from Kansas City who’s starting to slowly get the recognition he deserves. He may be a “smaller corner”, but he plays big as he’s physical with receivers, a great tackler and isn’t afraid to sick his nose in the run game either.
64.) Jerod Mayo – LB, New England Patriots – Mayo’s developed to a solid all-around linebacker over the course of time. I remember watching him in Tennessee thinking, “He’s going to be a heck of a player in the NFL.” Lo and behold that’s exactly what he did. He ranked third in terms of stops for a 4-3 linebacker with 56 in 2012, according to PFF.
63.) Calais Campbell – DE, Arizona Cardinals – He’s a terror in the run game and has consistently shown growth as a pass rusher with an averaged 7 to 8 sacks these last 4 years. Those sack numbers are quite impressive considering he’s a 3-4 defensive end.
62.) Max Unger – C, Seattle Seahawks – Remember that “other” Seahawks offensive lineman I mentioned in the last top 100 article? Well, this is him. Loved him coming out of Oregon University and I love what he’s developed to. Like Okung, Unger is a big part of Russell Wilson’s and Marshawn Lynch’s success. He only gave up one QB hit on the whole year, according to PFF.
61.) Antonio Cromartie – CB, New York Jets – I must say he held his own without Revis. This should come as no surprise as he’s been a solid corner throughout his career. He’s what I call a “new-school” corner due to his size, length, and physicality. Not to mention he’s a sure tackler as he only missed 4 tackles for the whole 2012 season.
60.) Wes Welker – WR, Denver Broncos – His presence will be missed in New England and his addition is one that I feel will put the Broncos in the position to be in the Super Bowl. He’s consistently an x-factor for opposing defenses and I don’t expect much of that to change with his new team. I wanted to put him a little higher on the list, but at the end of the day the WR’s ahead of him are starters as opposed to playing mostly in the slot.