Movie Quote of the Day:
“The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules.”
– The Joker, The Dark Knight (2008)
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 that is 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 what I like to call 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.
Today’s list involves centers. Centers are essentially offensive guards, but more important. No one knows their names other than people who follow football closely. Centers are the anchor of the offensive line. They make calls to the rest of the offensive line at the line of scrimmage, and they communicate with the quarterback during audibles. Here’s my list of the top centers in the NFL:
Rising Star: Corey Linsley, Green Bay Packers
Linsley was a rookie last season for Green Bay and performed very well. As a Green Bay fan, I remember when they played Seattle in the first game of the year. The original starting center just got hurt a few weeks prior and I remember Seattle’s defense running their mouth about attacking Linsley during the game since he was a rookie.
I remember thinking to myself after the game that I didn’t think he gave up a single sack the entire game, because he didn’t. That paved the way for Linsley to have a great rookie season for Green Bay. Linsley started all 16 games and received votes for All-Pro honors by the end of the season. He’s about to turn 24 in two weeks. If he keeps the momentum going from his rookie season, I’d say he’s got a bright future.
Honorable Mention: Mike Pouncey, Miami Dolphins
Pouncey has been the anchor of that Miami offensive line since getting drafted in 2011. He’s had a pretty good career so far. He’s started in every game he’s played for Miami, over 50 games. He earned All-Rookie honors by the Pro Football Writers Association in 2011. He’s also been a Pro Bowler the last two seasons.
Top 5 Centers in the NFL:
5. Ryan Kalil, Carolina Panthers
Kalil is the only playmaker on that Carolina offensive line. He’s started exactly 100 games for the Panthers since becoming the starting center in 2008. Kalil is a 4x Pro Bowler (2009-2011, 2013). He was voted First-team All-Pro in 2013 and Second-team All-Pro in 2011. Kalil was voted the 93rd player of 2014 in the NFL Top 100 last season.
4. Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns
Mack missed over half of the season last year with a broken fibula, which is why he’s so low on this list. Prior to his injury, Mack had started in every game he played for Cleveland. Mack is a 2x Pro Bowler in 2010 and 2013. He also received Second-team All-Pro honors in 2013. If he can recover from his injury, he’ll be higher on the list next year.
3. Travis Frederick, Dallas Cowboys
Frederick is another young stud on that Dallas offensive line. He has only been in the NFL for two seasons, and he’s started every game for Dallas. In his rookie season, he was named All-Rookie team by Pro Football Weekly, Pro Football Writers Association, and Sporting News. Last season, he was Second-team All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl.
2. Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh Steelers
Maurkice is the identical twin brother of Mike, previously listed as the honorable mention. Pouncey has started over 60 games for Pittsburgh since getting drafted in 2010. Pouncey is a 4x Pro Bowler (2010-2012, 2014). Pouncey is a 2x First-team All-Pro in 2011 and 2014, and also a 2x Second-team All-Pro in 2010 and 2012. Pouncey had a great bounce back season last year after coming off a torn ACL and MCL in 2013.
1. Nick Mangold, New York Jets
Mangold is the oldest player on this list, he turned 31 back in January. Mangold is getting up there in age, but that’s not slowing him down on the field. Mangold has started a total of 141 games for the Jets. Mangold is a 6x Pro Bowler (2008-2011, 2013, 2014). He was also First-team All-Pro in 2009 and 2010, and Second-team All-Pro in 2011. Outside of Pouncey and Frederick, Mangold got the next highest votes for All-Pro honors last season.
Mangold has the most experience amongst these players. He’s had a very good career so far, but his days are numbered in the NFL. When an offensive lineman turns 30, it’s time to start considering younger options because it usually leads to a decline in production. It hasn’t happened yet for Mangold, he’s still the best in the league, but it won’t be long before Maurkice Pouncey takes over the top spot.
All stats from:
Tomorrow: Top 5 3-4 Defensive Ends
Thanks for reading
Follow me on Twitter – @priceisright53