80. D.J Williams (LB, Broncos)– Williams in his 6-year career has never made a pro-bowl, but in no way does that take away the value he provides for a defense. He excels in coverage from the linebacker position, and racks up well over 100 tackles every year.
Williams will not wow you with spectacular plays, but he is always consistent and can make any defense, in any scheme, better.
79. Chris Snee (G, Giants)– Eli Manning has had a lot of protection over the years because this guy has been blocking for him. Very powerful at the line-of-scrimmage, and does well opening up running lanes for the ball carrier.
78. Nick Mangold (C, Jets)– Mangold is only a few years into his career and is already the best center, and probably will be for years to come.
77. Jerod Mayo (LB, Patriots)– He did not live up to his awesome rookie season the following year, but that’s only because he suffered a serious knee injury and may have came back too soon. He still managed to be tough and play through it, and that is one of the alluring things with him as a player.
Mayo is a guy who can wreak havoc at the line-of-scrimmage and give you 12-15 tackles a game. He’s developing in other facets such as, pass coverage, and getting to the quarterback. But overall is a stud at the middle-linebacker position that has a lot of promise.
76. Vincent Jackson (WR, Chargers)– Huuggggeeee guy playing receiver. 6’5, 240 to be exact. Size like that is unheard of for a guy that can run, and be as agile as him. Could become the premier deep threat in the league for the next couple of years to come. If he handles his situation with the Chargers, he could have a monster season coming up.
Also had one of the dumbest plays I ever seen in the playoff game against New York, where he gave up on a ball to complain to the ref.
75. Matt Schaub (QB, Texans)– Last year he finally fulfilled the promise he has had for so many years. 4,700 yards passing cannot be ignored, although playing with the best receiver in football will help that cause. Schaub has good accuracy, and decent arm strength, but he hasn’t proven that he can be a franchise quarterback just yet.
74. DeSean Jackson (WR, Eagles)– When nothing seems to be going right and there’s a big ‘goose egg’ on the board, Jackson can change that in one play with a wide-receiver screen, reverse, streak, or even a punt return.
As good of a return man he is, you know he has to be an invaluable receiver because last season his punt return totals went to 29 from the 50 he had in 2008. That’s because this guy is becoming a marquee receiver for the Eagles, something they haven’t had since Harold Carmichael in the 70’s.
73. Darren Sharper (DB, Saints)– One of the reasons the Saints were so effective last year on defense was because of the amount of turnovers they forced. Sharper had 9 interceptions alone, and 3 of them he returned for touchdowns.
At the age of 34, Sharper benefited highly from Gregg Williams’s defensive scheme that forced a lot of pressure and allowed Sharper to capitalize on QB mistakes. I’m not taking anything away from Sharper as a football player, because he has been great ever since he stepped foot in the league. But his production is the result of a great scheme that fits his the abilities he has now as a 34 year-old.
72. Marcus McNeill (T, Chargers)– Behind most elite quarterbacks is a quality left tackle. The asking price is pretty high coming from McNeil, but he is a much needed asset for that San Diego offense.
71. Matt Ryan (QB, Falcons)– You can call last year a sophomore slump for Matty Ice, but that’s only because what he did in his first year was almost impossible to live up to again, considering how much that Falcon team in ’08 overachieved.
The bottom-line is, Matt Ryan may have produced the greatest sample of any quarterback who stepped in right away for his first two years, with a 20-10 record on a team that was 4-12 the previous year, and void of their franchise QB.
At Boston College you could see that this guy always had the knack for winning games, most notably the one at Blacksburg in the pouring rain with an undefeated season on the line against a very tough Virginia Tech team. Ryan was getting hit and pressured all night, but in the final minutes led his team on two touchdown drives to win the game. In his rookie year facing the Bears he exhibited similar heroics, with a last second 25-yard touch pass in between the safety, and corner right on the sideline to put his kicker in field goal range, and eventually win the game.
You will see Matt Ryan leading the Falcons to 10+ wins, year-in and year-out.
70. DeAngelo Williams (RB, Panthers)– It’s funny how you don’t make the pro-bowl after rushing for over 1,500 yards, and scoring 20 TD’s. and the next year you do with 400 yards less, and 11 TD’s less. Either way Williams is a premium running back in this league that has averaged over 5 yards per carry the last three seasons with over 600 carries.
A big play threat from the running back position, with quick feet, and also has good break away speed. Has not carried the ball over 300 times in a season, and probably won’t as long he is playing with Jonathan Stewart, but it still decreases his value as a player for not being the horse that the guys are ahead of him on this list.
69. Kris Jenkins (DT, Jets)– Put this guy in the middle of the front-line and the other team will have little success running the ball. In his years in Carolina, while Peppers and Mike Rucker got most of the press clippings for their sack totals, it was Jenkins who required the attention to allow those guys to have the success they did.
And in his new role as a nose tackle in the 3-4, it’s been a lot of the same while this guy draws significant attention from blocking schemes other guys have more freedom to make the plays. One big problem with Jenkins though is durability. His size is sort of a gift and a curse, as it helps him become the force that he is on the D-Line, but it may be the cause of why he has missed so much action in his 9 year career.
68. Jordan Gross (T, Panthers)– Franchise left tackles are highly valued on this list. Gross is one of them. It will be interesting to see if he can bounce back to all-pro form after missing half of last year with an injury.
67. Roddy White (WR, Falcons)– You know the NFL is not short of talent when a receiver like White is at the bottom third of the list. Because the last three seasons Roddy has been one of the most productive in the league.
Embodies what a primary receiver should be in the NFL because he can stretch the field, and hurt you underneath. Uses his body really well, and plays bigger than what his 6’1 frame would indicate.
66. Jonathan Stewart (RB, Panthers)– A hybrid of a violent runner that is real effective breaking tackles, and is also excellent in creating space with his speed and quickness for his massive 235 lbs.
This could be a breakout year for Stewart, not necessarily production wise, because that will be difficult considering he is splitting time with another great back. But it could be a year where everybody gets a close up of how good he really is. If he was in a situation where he got over 300 carries, he would be a 1,600 yard rusher
65. Brett Favre (QB, Vikings)– Too low? Think ahead to the playoffs and tell me how good he is then?
64. Logan Mankins (G, Patriots)– It would be a good idea for New England to sign this guy, because he may be the best offensive-lineman they have depending on how Sebastian Vollmer develops in his second-year. Either way, Mankins is an essential part when it comes to protecting Brady, which is the most important item in the Patriots scheme, on offense and defense.
63. Demeco Ryans (LB, Texans)– This is a player every coach wants running their defense because they know that with his leadership, and intelligence on the field he will be an extension of their philosophy.
In his four-years he has shown to be a very instinctive linebacker, and as soon as the weaknesses on his defense are filled in around him then this guy will be even better than he has shown as the ability to make more plays on the ball become more opportunistic for a guy like Ryans who has the play-making ability on defense.
62. Sidney Rice (WR, Vikings)– It was a matter of time before this guy broke out the way he did in the ’09 season. Rice was a phenomenal receiver at South Carolina, and has the capability of being one of the biggest vertical threats in the NFL with last year serving as a brief sample of what this guy can do.
Playing with a veteran presence, and someone who has great arm strength like Brett Favre is certainly good for Rice’s development. But make no mistake about it, he helped Brett out, as much as Brett helped him.
61. Jammal Brown (T, Redskins)– Man, Reggie Bush is getting way more pussy for winning a Super Bowl, and he hasn’t contributed half as mush to the Saints as Brown did. Now that he is in Washington and not New Orleans, he’s looking to help McNabb win his first Super Bowl (Doubt it though).