Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The NFL has begun the announcement of their top 100 players of 2013, and I noted yesterday, I already disagree strongly with the ranking of Darrelle Revis. So I wanted to see if our friends in the NFC South agreed with these rankings, and we all decided to rank the NFC South separately and come up with our top players in the division. Chris Roling of our New Orleans Saints blog Who Dat Dish, and Ken Dye of Cat Crave (our Carolina Panthers site) both took the time to rank their top 13 players in the division, and I combined them with my rankings to provide to top 13 consensus rankings. Why 13? The NFC South is 1/8 of the NFL, and 13 is approximately 1/8 of 100, so this is cutting out all the other divisions and focusing the rankings on the teams in the NFC South only.
Without any further introduction, here’s the list:
- 1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
- 2. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
- 3. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
- 4. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons
- 5. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- 6. Darrelle Revis, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- 7. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
- 8. tie: Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers and Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
- 10. tie: Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
- 12. Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers
- 13. Charles Johnson, Carolina Panthers
- Honorable mention: William Moore, Atlanta Falcons; Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
So what are my three biggest takeaways from this list?
- The Falcons are an extremely top-heavy team. An injury to a key player would be devastating to the Falcons, who seem to have woven a strong core in the passing game that might be ruined with one piece missing. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez combine to form a dangerous passing attack, but if Ryan or Jones were to miss time, it would decrease the value of the others in a major way.
- The Buccaneers are the only team without a quarterback on the list. That’s not surprising, but it does show the uphill battle it will be for Tampa Bay to succeed in this division. I was the lowest on Matt Ryan, as I don’t believe he is an elite NFL QB, but I agree that the three other QBs in the division are ahead of Josh Freeman at this moment. Freeman has a chance to change that in 2013…
- Darrelle Revis is still underrated. I have him as the second best player in the division, behind only Drew Brees, but my fellow NFC South bloggers ranked him lower than I did, dragging down his ranking. I understand that Revis is coming off an injury, and I have had my doubts about him, but every indication I have seen leads me to believe that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are getting the real Darrelle Revis in 2013 and beyond. The Darrelle Revis of 2011 is one of the five best players in the NFL, and might even be more important to his team than Drew Brees is. So I’m not ready to count him out just yet.
So what do you think, Bucs fans? What players do you feel should be higher? Which ones should be lower? Who is missing from the list? Let us know in the comments below.