Movie Quote of the Day:
Ricky Bobby: “Why do you want to listen to the TV with the stereo on?”
Cal Naughton, Jr.: “Because I like to party.”
– Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
NFL analysts, experts, players, etc. have been releasing their own rankings for the top players in the NFL. The NFL Network just released their Top 100, voted on by the players. Also, Mike Miller at Bleacher Report has been coming out with his own rankings of the Top 1,000 players in the NFL.
I decided to create my own version of this, but I’m going to put it together by position (except punters and fullbacks because nobody cares about them) and it’ll only be 100 players. I’m not even sure I can name 1,000 people that I know in the real world let alone the NFL. I’m also going to add honorable mentions and the “Rising Star” of each position. Another thing I added when creating these lists is that the players have to currently be on a team. No free agents.
I’m switching to offense for today’s post and the position will be involving offensive guards. Nobody cares about the offensive line outside of the tackle position (for the most part). They don’t have stats recorded for them, and they don’t have their names in the papers. Not very many people could name ten offensive guards in the NFL (except me). Here’s my list:
Joel Bitonio, Cleveland Browns
Bitonio was just a rookie last season. Cleveland drafted him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Bitonio had a very successful rookie season; he started all 16 games. The Pro Football Writers Association even voted him on the All-AFC team. He’s going to be a solid player for the Browns in the future.
Jahri Evans, New Orleans Saints
Evans has been around the league for a while. He’s started in every game he’s played, which is 142 games. Evans is a 6x Pro Bowler (2009-2014), 4x First-team All-Pro (2009-2012), and Second-team All-Pro in 2013. The reason why Evans isn’t higher on the list is because he’s about to be 32 years old in August.
Top 5 Offensive Guards in the NFL:
5. Kyle Long, Chicago Bears
Long has been in the league for two years. Like Evans, he’s started in every game he’s played. Long was named on the All-Rookie team in 2013 by Pro Football Focus. In his two seasons, he has already made two Pro Bowls and was Second-team All-Pro last season.
4. Mike Iupati, Arizona Cardinals
Iupati just signed a new contract with the Cardinals. Previously, he spent the last four seasons in San Francisco. He started a total of 75 games for the 49ers. Pro Football Weekly put him on the All-Rookie team in 2010. Iupati is a 3x Pro Bowler (2012-2014) and was First-team All-Pro in 2012.
3. Josh Sitton, Green Bay Packers
Sitton has started 96 games and appeared in a total of 105 games for Green Bay. Sitton is a 2x Pro Bowler (2012, 2014) and 2x Second-team All-Pro in 2013 and 2014.
2. Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens
Yanda has started over 100 games for the Ravens since getting drafted in 2007. Yanda is a 4x Pro Bowler (2011-2014), First-team All-Pro last season, and 2x Second-team All-Pro in 2011 and 2012. Yanda was voted (by the players) 79th in the NFL Top 100 on the NFL Network.
1. Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys
I remember when there was a buzz about what Dallas would do with their first round pick last season. I honestly thought they were going to take Johnny Manziel or at least go defense. We were all wrong as they picked the best player on the draft board, Martin.
Martin was an instant impact as a rookie and helped establish Dallas as having the best offensive line in the NFL. Martin had an incredible rookie season, starting all 16 games. He was named on the All-Rookie Team by Pro Football Focus, had a Pro Bowl appearance, and was named First-team All-Pro.
Martin’s impact was more than just what I mentioned above. He paved the way for DeMarco Murray to have the incredible season he had last year. This kept Dallas’ defense and opposing offenses off the field. This led to Dallas having a 12-4 record and winning an NFC East division title. Other teams saw this impact and took the same approach in the draft back in April. A lot of teams made surprising picks and took the best offensive lineman on the draft board in the first round (New Orleans, Cincinnati, Arizona, Detroit, Cleveland, etc.). Even after only one season, Martin is the best offensive guard in the NFL. I have zero clue how Martin wasn’t voted into the NFL Top 100, I guess it’s due to the fact he’s only been in the NFL for one year.
Tomorrow: Top 5 Nose Tackles
Thanks for reading
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