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Jonathan Vilma's high ranking out of whack

John Kuhn is off the hook. I didn't think we'd have a more inexplicable ranking in the "Top 100: Players of 2012" than the No. 92 ranking for the Green Bay Packers' mediocre fullback, but it's happened.

New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has somehow landed at No. 58. My argument with Vilma's ranking has absolutely nothing to do with the team's "bounty" scandal. It has everything to do with Vilma's lackluster 2011 campaign.

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Vilma played in only 11 games last year, and he struggled in them. I have made the case against Vilma as a quality starter earlier this offseason, but let's sum it up quickly. He was a huge reason for the struggles of New Orleans' run defense last year. Injuries have sapped his ability to defend the pass. ranked him No. 45 out of a possible 50 inside linebackers last season.

We don't doubt that Vilma brings extra leadership skills that don't show up in the box score. He's clearly respected by his peers, which helps to explain this ranking. But this isn't just about 2011. Vilma was ranked No. 50 out of 50 in PFF's 2010 rankings (and No. 28 in 2009). He's been in decline for a while, and his injury history is partly why the New York Jets traded him away in the first place.

Vilma is a coach on the field, and that has value. But his job was likely to be up for grabs in New Orleans even before the league suspended him for the season.

He's not one of the 58 best players in the NFC South.

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