We are halfway through the NFL preseason and so close to the regular season that you can very nearly taste it. But we’re not there yet and that means we still have national media outlet lists to deal with. ESPN released a three-part ranking of the top 100 players in the NFL.
The parameters, such that there were any, involved ranking every player on a scale from 1-100. They had some number in excess of 50 of NFL analysts, reporters, statisticians, former players, and NFL front office members complete this task.
The results were zero Chargers in the top 25 or top 50, and two Chargers in the top 100. The included Chargers are no real surprise as Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen are among the very best at their respective positions. What does come as a bit of a shock is that Jason Verrett was omitted from the list.
Verrett, as you all already know, is one of the top three or so cornerbacks in the NFL, but apparently, it was more important to include players like Desmond Trufant, Aqib Talib, and Vontae Davis on this list. You have to wonder who these “experts” really were.
But back to the players that did make the list, about Rivers, who ranked 77th (just ahead of Eli Manning), they wrote:
Just call him Mr. December. Since taking over as the team's starter in 2006, Rivers has led the Chargers to a 35-13 record in regular-season games played in December and January. "Philip is one of the best at getting the ball out of his hands," Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. "You're not going to sack him very often, so your coverage has to be tight. He knows what he's doing."
And about the 92nd ranked Keenan Allen they said:
Allen finished the first half of 2015 with 67 catches, tied for the third-most receptions in the first eight games of a season in NFL history, before a lacerated kidney ended his year. "Knowing that I did it, and knowing that I can dominate the league is definitely motivation for me," Allen said. "Hopefully I can keep it going." The Chargers saw his potential and locked him up to a four-year extension this summer.
It’s difficult to argue too forcefully that a 4-12 team deserved greater representation on a list of the league’s best players, but the lack of one of the elite corners on the list does cut into whatever “legitimacy” such a ranking has. Hopefully, the 2016 Chargers as a team can have the kind of success that will allow its stars to get the recognition they deserve.