NFL Network's The Top 100 Players of 2014 wraps up this week with the 10 highest-ranked players in the league. Now that we have a good idea of the superstars about to be unveiled, we have enough information to compile a list of this year's biggest snubs.
Without further ado, Around The League presents 10 players noticeably absent from this year's Top 100.
1. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons quarterback: As we explained in our recent quarterback rankings, the 2013 game film shows Ryan to be the same player he was in 2012 when he finished in the top five in every meaningful category. It's not fair to dock him for a porous offensive line and the absences of Julio Jones and Roddy White. Ryan is a better player than at least a handful of quarterbacks voted to the Top 100, which is why he was ranked 17th in 2013.
2. Calais Campbell, Arizona Cardinals defensive end: Perhaps the one player in today's game most similar to former Patriots All-Pro Richard Seymour, Campbell slides around Todd Bowles' defensive line, terrorizing quarterbacks and shutting down the running game. On a defense with big names such as Patrick Peterson, Daryl Washington, Darnell Dockett and Karlos Dansby, Campbell was the most dominant player.
3. Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver: Harvin must prove he can stay healthy, but he showed in Super Bowl XLVIII that he's a game-changing talent when he's on the field. Harvin was the NFL's most impressive wide receiver in the first half of the 2012 season before an ankle injury put him on the shelf.
4. Jairus Byrd, New Orleans Saints safety: Byrd might not be quite as rangy as Earl Thomas, but he has the best ball skills of any safety in the game. He's been a deserving Pro Bowl selection in three of five NFL seasons, including 2013.
5. Thomas Davis, Carolina Panthers linebacker: Luke Kuechly gets all of the credit among Panthers linebackers, which ignores Davis' outstanding work in coverage and run support. Game Rewind subscribers should check out Davis' closing speed against the Saints in a Week 16 victory that clinched the NFC South for the Panthers.
6. Jurrell Casey, Tennessee Titans defensive lineman: As far as the NFL is concerned, Nashville might as well be remote Vladivostok. Casey was one of the NFL's most disruptive defensive linemen in 2013, racking up 10.5 sacks as a three-technique tackle. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain that level of effectiveness with a position change in Ray Horton's 3-4 scheme.
7. Karlos Dansby, Cleveland Browns linebacker: In the discussion for Defensive Player of the Year in December, Dansby was somehow left off the Pro Bowl roster and the Top 100 list. He led an underrated Cardinals defense in tackles, passes defensed and interceptions while pitching in 6.5 sacks. He'll be charged with helping Mike Pettine install his defense in Cleveland this season.
8. Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns tight end: I recently watched all of Cameron's 118 targets from Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer and Jason Campbell last season. The inescapable conclusion: he's a star. Cameron was on pace for 98 receptions, 1,192 yards and 12 touchdowns when Campbell took over at midseason, which would have put the tight end in Jimmy Graham's neighborhood.
9. Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos tight end: Whereas Cameron excels on contested catches, Thomas is a demon after the catch. We suspected Peyton Manning would go on to break single-season NFL records as soon as we saw Thomas and Wes Welker giving defenses fits in preseason action last August. The former college hoopster is a mismatch for NFL linebackers.
10. Jason Hatcher, Washington Redskins defensive lineman: Although a knee scope has Hatcher's early-season success in doubt for the Redskins, he earned this spot by consistently crashing the pocket in Dallas last year. His 11 sacks were the most among all defensive tackles in 2013.