We need to accept this list for what it is.
NFL Network's "The Top 100 Players Of 2016" -- compiled through an enigmatic voting process that includes some players -- excels at generating weekly talking points and mystifying head-scratchers. That kind of attention, in June, is exactly what the NFL is going for.
Landing at No. 41, the Steelers All-Pro is ranked behind three other running backs. That feels wrong for one of the NFL's most versatile and dangerous weapons. What's even more ridiculous is that our visionary horde of player-voters see 40 of their peers as better than Bell.
Look, we get it by now. If you missed games due to injury last year, you'll be punished on this list, which -- according to its name -- is crystal-balling 2016 . That's why Andrew Luck is buried down at No. 92, a horse we're tired of beating into the godless dirt.
Back to Bell. I can't get behind an exercise that doesn't recognize Pittsburgh's Mr. Everything for what he is: A game-changing force of nature who shattered his team's record for catches by a running back in 2014 while finishing that year second in rushing yards. Does last season's knee injury turn Bell into just another guy?
I'm not buying it.
Elsewhere in the "Top 100":
- Twelve years after they were the first two quarterbacks off the draft board, Philip Rivers (No. 46) and Eli Manning (No. 47) remain closely linked. Their careers have been endlessly compared ever since Manning -- chosen No. 1 overall by the Chargers in 2004 -- was shipped to the Giants on draft day in return for Rivers and a flock of future picks. After a decade-plus of play, their peers see them as near equals.
The voters -- if nothing else -- got the order right. Manning has the Super Bowl hardware, but Rivers, for my money, is the better player. Let's not forget, Eli is three seasons removed from leading the league in interceptions.
- Both quarterbacks landed below Redskins bookend Trent Williams (No. 45) and Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith (No. 42). I'd imagine Bill Callahan, the vaunted line coach who has tutored both players, has no problems with them landing this high. Tucked in between the two is Tyler Eifert (No. 44), one of the game's most promising young tight ends. With Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu no longer in Cincy, Eifert -- assuming his ankle heals in time -- could be in for a nice season.
- Cardinals pass rusher Chandler Jones (No. 48) is a valuable roster addition in Arizona, but he doesn't belong above Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (No. 49).