When it comes to voting for NFL Network's The Top 100 Players of 2014, NFL players habitually fall into the "What have you done lately?" trap.
That approach is perhaps best reflected in the ranking of Joe Flacco, who was unveiled as No. 58 on the list during Wednesday's episode.
Flacco is merely coasting off his Super Bowl XLVII victory (he came in at No. 19 in 2013's Top 100).
A greater issue is that there are only nine more quarterbacks remaining in the top 50 picks. If we assume that Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees are lead-pipe locks, that means one from the group of Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and Russell Wilson has been left out in the cold.
Each one of those quarterbacks is superior to Flacco, who finished an underwhelming 16th in Gregg Rosenthal's season-ending Quarterback Index.
Here are five more takeaways from Wednesday's show:
- Alshon Jeffery's No. 54 ranking places him ninth among all wide receivers. He beat defenses in more ways than any receiver last year, excelling on slants, screens, go routes and even a bevy of end-arounds. If he repeats that effort again, Jeffery will move into the top 30 on this list.
- The Bengals' defense never suffered a dropoff when Geno Atkins went down with an ACL injury, in part because Vontaze Burfictemerged as the heart and soul. The NFL's leading tacker doesn't contribute much as a pass rusher, but stuffs the run and hangs with tight ends and running backs in coverage. His No. 52 ranking is fair.
- It's almost impossible for the lay fan to analyze an interior offensive lineman, but the Marshal Yanda ranking is a head-scratcher. He was left off the list after the 2012 season, when he was widely regarded as the NFL's best guard. He is now being rewarded with a No. 55 ranking even though the Ravens' 2013 rushing attack was one of the most futile in league history.