Thursday, August 22, 2013

If It Ain't Steel's 2013 Top 25 NFL Players

Written by Jayden and Jason

As the season gets ready to begin, it's time to take a look at the top players in the NFL. It's an extension of If It Ain't Steel's Top 12 Quarterbacks. -

Each year we're blessed and disappointed, we cheer and we cry, we scream and we...scream. The NFL is America's true pastime and the five months that we have it always go entirely too fast.

So, before it's too late...

1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers - Honestly, he just seems to get better every year. The thing that should scare every man with a "DC" attached to his name is that he is just now getting into his prime.

2. J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans - Nicknamed J.J. "SWAT", he was as dominant as any down lineman we may have ever seen. He was completely unblockable. Maybe that should be his new nickname: "C-Block." He was so dominant that the Texans might utilize his high level of talent on offense. -

3. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions - How do you stop the 6'5", 235-pound Megatron? With 122 receptions, 1,964 receiving yards, 122.8 yards per game average, 16.1 yards per catch and 11 100-yard receiving games, he commands a double on almost EVERY play. Oh, and he'll turn just 28 a month into the 2013 season.

4. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots - The Dorian Grey of NFL quarterbacks. He doesn't seem to be slowing down, as he threw for nearly 5,000 yards, had 34 touchdown passes and just eight interceptions in 2012.

5. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings - If he came back from his ACL injury legally, then to do what he did was amazing. Think about it - he almost took down the single-season record for total (not yards per game) rushing yards.

6. Geno Atkins, DT, Cincinnati Bengals - He was a true force in 2012 with 12 sacks from the defensive tackle spot. Very special and scary player.

7. DeMarcus Ware, OLB-DE, Dallas Cowboys - Whether a rushing down end or an outside linebacker, Ware is a true force. His sack numbers were down (11½) some last season, but it doesn't change the fear factor.

8. Patrick Willis, ILB, San Francisco 49ers - An athletic freak, he can run, tackle and get to a lot of plays you didn't think he would. Best middle/inside linebacker in the game.

9. Von Miller, OLB, Denver Broncos - Great speed, intense and is a good tackler, Miller has the goods. Goods you'll see in 2013 after the first six games.

10. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints - Despite last season's results, he threw more interceptions than in 2011, he remains one of the top players in the league.

11. Richard Sherman, CB, Seattle Seahawks - The best cornerback in the NFL - just ask him. But he backs up his cockiness. He can cover, had eight interceptions and led the league with 32 passes defended.

12. Cameron Wake, DE, Miami Dolphins - Another guy who moved to a rushing down end spot from a 3-4 pass rusher and responded with 15 sacks. Just damn good.

13. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals - He has an incredible catch radius and brings in nearly everything he lays even a finger on. He led all receivers in 2012 with seven 40-plus-yard receptions and had nearly 100 catches total.

14. Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos - The Sheriff bounced back to look like the Manning of old. His monster of Frankenstein act didn't stop him from coming back and dissecting the NFL in the regular season.

15. Duane Brown, T, Houston Texans - He simply pancakes guys. Makes lot of pass rushers look pedestrian. Simply the best in the game right now.

16. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals - The best thing we can say about him is that only bad quarterback play keeps him from being the best.

17. Clay Matthews, OLB, Green Bay Packers - He had 13 sacks in 12 games. 'Nuff said. Whether you call him Samson or Goldilocks, he's a beast.

18. Aldon Smith, OLB, San Francisco 49ers - One half of the Smith brothers had 19½ sacks, but he didn't get any during the absence of...

19. Justin Smith, DE, San Francisco 49ers - A shoulder injury derailed what was a very good season. He demands the double team and allows other player to be great. Just ask Aldon.

20. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons - Explosive. A big-play threat. A man among men. So many superlatives can be thrown his way. He's simply the real deal.

21. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers - No. 7 with/times 3 Super Bowls = 21 on our list. He threw 26 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions in just 13 games. He was injured in week 11 and was in some MVP talks before that. Look for him to return to that form this season.

22. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots - He is the league's best pass-catching tight end and can block too. He's a true weapon for Brady.

23. Haloti Ngata, DT, Baltimore Ravens - He has been slowed by injuries lately, but when he's healthy he's a bruising inside player. Just ask Big Ben's nose.

24. Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens - We're giving him the benefit of the doubt here, because he had didn't even complete 60% of his passes last season and he had the two worst quarterback ratings since the system was invented. But he did have a remarkable playoff and Super Bowl run.

25. Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants - In some ways he's better than his brother, and he's twice better than Brady, but he does have his inconsistencies. He's still one of the better in the game.

The Next (Magnificent) Seven:

Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons - Matty Ice!

Marshal Yanda, G, Baltimore Ravens - Rock at guard.

Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints - 85 receptions and nine touchdowns despite time missed with injuries.

Gerald McCoy, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The anchor on the league's best run defense.

NaVorro Bowman, LB, San Francisco 49ers - Great against the pass and defends almost as well as his line mate.

Lawrence Timmons, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers - Very underrated. Second on Steelers in tackles with 106 and had six sacks, three INTs and two forced fumbles.

Patrick Peterson, CB, Arizona Cardinals - A cover man (7 INTs) and return man (4 TDs) and now catches passes too.