By: James Johnson
We’re back with yet another edition of IES Top 100! From here on out things should get a little more interesting (not that they weren’t before ) as we are now heading into who I believe are the top 50 players in the league. This week on the countdown we have a trio of San Francisco 49ers and a trio of Chicago Bears featured. You might also take to note of the defensive line dominating the countdown this week taking 4 of the 10 spots. So just who are they? Well, I won’t keep you waiting–here are the latest entrants in our top 100 countdown.
49.) Joe Staley – LT, San Francisco 49ers – The leader of what most would say is the best offensive line in the game. He’s about as rugged as you’ll find in a left tackle, and graded 10.9 points higher (in the run game that is) than any other left tackle in the league according to PFF.
48.) Vernon Davis – TE, San Francisco 49ers – His stats were down, but I believe it was due to the 49ers QB change from Alex Smith to Kaepernick. I believe now that Kaepernick has gotten situated with this offense, Davis will see a lot of targets. Also keep in mind that this offense will be minus Michael Crabtree, so that can only help Vernon’s cause.
47.) Julius Peppers – DE, Chicago Bears – The old savvy veteran continues to show the league he can get it done at the age of 33. He came away from 2012 with 11.5 sacks and is still a force to be reckoned with in the run game.
46.) Navorro Bowman – MLB, San Francisco 49ers – What is this an all-49ers countdown? In all seriousness though, I believe one of the rarest players to find in the NFL is a linebacker that can cover. Bowman is pretty much the best in class when it comes to that. He’s no slouch in the run game either. That said, I also feel like when you find an athlete that can do what Bowman does you hang on to him. San Francisco recognized that and gave him a nice contract extension. Alongside Patrick Willis, he’ll be terrorizing the NFC West for years to come.
45.) Dez Bryant – WR, Dallas Cowboys – I had Bryant on my fantasy roster and man was he exciting to watch! He seems to continually get better each year, and ended this season with 92 catches for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns. Scary to think he’s just scratching the surface. With his steady improvement I could see he coming away with 100 plus catches and roughly 1,500 yards in 2013.
44.) Brandon Marshall – WR, Chicago Bears – After being reunited with his old buddy Jay Cutler his production increased. He was 2nd in the league in terms of receptions with 118, 3rd in yards with 1,508, 3rd in receiving yards per game. I’d say that 3rd rounder that Chicago gave up for him was well worth it, wouldn’t you think so?
43.) Gerald McCoy – DT, Tampa Bay – The Bucs were pretty much the best run defense in the league, and much of that is owed to McCoy (as well as former Buc Roy Miller, GO JAGS!). Though it took him a little longer to settle, he’s become better than Ndamukong Suh who was taken ahead of him in the 2010 draft. Who could’ve seen that coming?
42.) Muhammmad Wilkerson – DE, New York Jets – Wilkerson is probably the most underrated player in the league since most people don’t know who he is. But I’m here to tell you, he’s LEGIT! Just pop in the tape–he sticks out and it isn’t because there isn’t much around him, it’s because he’s truly a beast!
41.) Henry Melton – DT, Chicago Bears – The perfect combination of strength and speed. He is great at penetrating offenses, and is just too quick for guards to deal with. I’d probably say he’s the best three-technique defensive tackles in the league.
40.) Ryan Clady – OT, Denver Broncos – He just recently got a nice contract extension and it’s not hard to see why he got a big pay day. He’s a very smart player and a superb pass blocker. There were times where it looked like Manning could grill burgers in the pocket with Clady on his blindside. Now if only he could tighten up his ability as a run blocker.