Now that NFL Network's "The Top 100 Players of 2011" series is wrapped up, we asked our experts: Which player who failed to make the list definitely deserved to be on it?
I said it before, and I'll say it again: Eli Manning should have been in the "Top 100."
Sure, he threw 25 interceptions last season, but he also was tied for being the least-sacked quarterback in the NFL because he gets rid of the ball. Oh, and he wins games for the New York Giants. He threw more touchdown passes than Michael Vick, Josh Freeman, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers, all of whom were on the list.
I have a hard time believing Osi Umenyiora isn't one of the top 100 players in the game. Whenever he has been healthy, he has posted double-digit sacks. He's also coming off a season in which he set an NFL record for forced fumbles.
Umenyiora excels as a commodity in short supply in the league -- getting after the passer -- and he creates plays that can shift momentum in favor of the Giants. Say what you want about Umenyiora's issues against the run, but the Giants have found ways to use him very effectively over the years.
You can't tell me there are 100 players better at what they do than Umenyiora is at what he does to leave him off this list.
Minnesota Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield being snubbed is a surprise.
<table align="right" width="315px"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <content:static src="/widgets/custom/packages/latest_debates.html"></content:static></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> I know he's at the tail end of his career, but even so, Winfield still is arguably the best tackling cornerback in the NFL. He's a high-volume tackler who has a great nose for the football and always is around the action. He had 91 tackles, two interceptions, five passes defensed, two sacks and two forced fumbles at age 33 last season. That's par for the course for the 5-foot-9, 180-pound, 12-year veteran.
Winfield has 23 career interceptions, and he has posted seven seasons with at least 80 tackles. Those aren't all because teams target him. He's a monster against the run, and he covers up a lot of mistakes made by other people.
Eli Manning deserves to have a spot among the "Top 100" based on his past production and performance. He was the Super Bowl XLI MVP, has a ring and the type of production that puts him on the cusp of being considered elite.
Manning is one of three quarterbacks to pass for at least 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns in each of the past six seasons. Although he led the league in interceptions, he finished fourth in touchdown passes (31) and ranked fifth in completions of more than 20 yards.
If Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco can earn spots on the list with their limited résumés, then Manning definitely is deserving.
Matt Schaub. I worked on every one of the "Top 100" reaction shows, and I can tell you that nearly every player we had come through said the Houston Texans' quarterback deserved to be on the list. The guests we had on the show, be it DeMarcus Ware, Darren Sharper, Ronde Barber, Antonio Gates and Brandon Lloyd, all said in our meetings that Schaub could play.
And I won't differ. With more than 9,000 yards and 53 touchdowns passing the last two seasons, Schaub certainly has the stats. But it's more than that. If the Texans' defense, particularly the secondary, could have showed up last season, they would have won at least 10 games. Schaub has command of that huddle and the offense, and he makes play after play to win games. Look no further than games against the Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs, when Schaub brought Houston back from certain defeat. He definitely deserved to be ranked higher than the No. 100 player, Donovan McNabb.
This is pretty sad when fans voting for a Madden video-game cover are savvier than actual NFL players. I would like to know what Peyton Hillis did to his peers after they left him off the list despite having 1,654 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns for the Cleveland Browns last season.
Oh, that's right, he punished opposing defenders and made them look silly.
Honestly, look at Hillis' highlights, and it's very hard to find instances of where he was tackled by somebody. In most cases, opposing defenders corralled him out of bounds or he just wound up in the end zone.
And, mind you, this came on a team with Jake Delhomme, Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace at quarterback. In other words, there isn't a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball in Cleveland.
How Hillis didn't make the list, when a fullback and an assortment of offensive linemen did, is beyond me.