Denver Broncos  

 

What makes Lloyd NFL's 58th-best? Not his entire body of work

Of all the selections made in NFL Network's "The Top 100 Players of 2011" series, none has struck me as more out of whack than Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Lloyd being No. 58.

The issue isn't necessarily with Lloyd being ranked as highly as he was, although I do have somewhat of a problem with that. The real issue is with how the question has been taken.

If the survey, answered by players, holds to the form of the series' title, then Lloyd is worthy of being among the top 100 players of 2011. He led all NFL receivers with 1,448 yards last season, had 11 touchdown catches and averaged 18.8 yards per grab, one of the league's best marks. His 77 catches were by far a career high.

There is no way I would have rated him above Green Bay's Greg Jennings (No. 74) or Miami's Brandon Marshall (No. 61), but based on his 2010 season, Lloyd earned top 100 consideration.

However, seeing as though players such as Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb, who didn't play well last season and eventually was benched for Rex Grossman, and injured Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo also made this list, there seems to be confusion as to if the series really is about the top 100 active players, based on their entire body of work.

If that's the case, then there's no way Lloyd makes the list.

In the seven seasons before his breakout gem, Lloyd never caught more than 48 passes, and that came in 2005 when he was with the San Francisco 49ers. The Redskins traded third- and fourth-round picks for Lloyd in 2006, but he flopped during two frustrating seasons with just 25 total catches and no touchdowns. Lloyd showed flashes for the Chicago Bears -- but not much more -- in 2008 and eventually was back on the street.

'The Top 100: Players of 2011'
The 10-week countdown of the list is complete with Tom Brady taking the No. 1 spot as voted on by the players. Relive the series from start to finish.

» Explore 'The Top 100' in depth

The Broncos signed Lloyd, who took advantage of being in a pass-first system under former coach Josh McDaniels. Lloyd also caught a break when 2010 first-round pick Demaryius Thomas suffered a preseason foot injury, making the veteran the main target in Denver.

Lloyd should receive credit for finally seizing an opportunity. I'm not trying to diminish what he did in 2010 because he had a great season.

It's just his previous body of work that gives me pause. I guess I'm just as confused about the nature of the list as some of the players who voted.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89.

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