Ranking NFL Players: Position by Position

Divya ParmarSenior Analyst IApril 12, 2008

I saw some all-time mock drafts, then started thinking about ranking players. I decided it was not fair to compare positions, like is this defensive end better than this wide receiver, so I broke it up into position by position.

Keep in mind: this is a mix of current ability and past track record. I take into account if a player has been great for many years in the past, and how good he is now.


1. Tom Brady – What can I say? Three championships. Everyone said the numbers weren't outstanding. After getting a supporting cast, 50 TDs and only eight INTs. Brady's leadership and clutchness are undeniably great, and now his stats are great as well.

1A. Peyton Manning – I put him 1A because comparing him and Brady is like splitting hairs. Peyton is so smart, and knows every defense inside and out. He can make any throw. He also has a championship ring.

3. Carson Palmer – I was conflicted between him and Romo, but went with him because of his longer track record of success. Palmer has a cannon arm, and has played excellent at times. I don't bring him down for the problems in Cincinnati, which are mainly defense (remember the 51-45 loss to Cleveland) and off-the-field legal issues.

Honorable Mention: Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger

Running backs

1. LaDainian Tomlinson – What’s left to say? LT (sorry for stealing the name Lawrence Taylor) is an absolute fantasy stud. Can catch, run, and throw and is extremely fast and agile. Can carry an offense by himself. Widely accepted as the best running back in the NFL.

2. Adrian Peterson – The rookie emerged as an elite running back. Had games rushing for totals of 296 and 224 yards. The total physical package. Strong, fast, and can find the holes.

3. Steven Jackson – This may be controversial. Jackson missed four games and had to deal with injuries all season, but is an elite talent. He had over 1500 yards last season. He is great when healthy.

Honorable Mention: Joseph Addai, Willie Parker, Brian Westbrook, Frank Gore

Wide Receivers

1. Randy Moss – This guy totally dogged it in Oakland, but once he started trying, he was unstoppable. Moss is unbelievably athletic, and always gets the jump balls. Moss always requires a double team because of his speed and strength. I know he isn't a great route runner, but with that body and talent, he doesn't need to run short curl routes. Just go deep, baby.

2. Terrell Owens – In 2007, Owens had over 1300 yards and 15 TDs. Owens had problems with drops, and could have had even more TDs. He has a great work ethic, and if you look past his ego and teammate bashing, is always working hard.

There is no doubt Owens always wants to win, and tries his best. Owens can go deep, run short, and go over the middle. TO is an elite wide receiver with eight 1,000 yard seasons, and seven seasons with at least 13 TDs.

3. Marvin Harrison – I know he was hurt this year, and is on the decline, but there is no denying his consistent greatness and sportsmanship. Before this injury-plagued season, Harrison had eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, including seasons with over 1,600 and 1,700 yards. The streak also included eight consecutive seasons with 10 TDs or more. For those who ask why he isn't higher, he is getting older and on the decline, so I put two players in their primes above him.

Honorable Mention: Reggie Wayne, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Braylon Edwards, Larry Fitzgerald

Offensive Line

I won't even pretend to understand how the offense line position works, and who is good at pass protection and run blocking and so on. Sorry about that.

Defensive Line

I won't pretend to know defensive lineman either. I know big names like Dwight Freeney and Julius Peppers, but couldn't rank them.



1. Shawne Merriman – This guy is incredible. He can pursue like no other, and is a sack machine. Merriman, steroids or not, dancing or not, is fast and strong and is the prototype pass rushing linebacker. In my opinion, he is on the rise, and is going to be absolutely unstoppable.

2. Brian Urlacher – He is still great. Urlacher had over 120 tackles, and even had five interceptions last year. He anchors the defense, is tough and fearless, and gives opponents nightmares. Urlacher is very opportunistic, and makes plays all over the place.

3. Patrick Willis – I saw him every week on my Niners. He can pursue the ball carrier from sideline to sideline, and has great range. His will and desire are off the charts, and were shown when he chased down a wide receiver (think about it: a linebacker chasing down a receiver) to save a game for the Niners.

Willis has the complete package, and is on the rise. The Niners have a special talent, who happens to be and will be one of the NFL's great linebackers.

Honorable Mention: Ray Lewis, Nick Barnett, Lofa Tatupu, Kirk Morrison, Jon Beason


1. Champ Bailey. This guy may not have had that many INTs or passes defensed last season, but that is because of the respect he gets. No one throws his way because he could pick it off and return it to the house.

2. Nnamdi Asomugha – This guy is the key to the Raiders’ D, and is a total shutdown corner.

3. Nate Clements – What a corner. He is key to an excellent Niners secondary.

Honorable Mention: Rashean Mathis, Chris McAlister, Pacman Jones (when not in a strip club), DeAngelo Hall (when interested and playing hard)


1. Troy Polamalu. He is all over the field. He is very versatile. I'm no expert or scout, but to me, he's the best.

2. Ed Reed – Reed is a great veteran, and was and is part of a good Ravens D. Reed is very tough, and had seven interceptions last season.

3. Bob Sanders – This guy is arguably the most valuable of this group. The Colts’ defense suffered so much with him out. He sets the tone and leads that defense.

Honorable Mention: Brian Dawkins, Rodney Harrison, Roy Williams

Thanks for reading, and feel free to disagree with me, argue with me, and rip to shreds.


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