Finally, one of the NFL's favorite faces spoke out on the NFL's egregious annual ranking of players. The NFL Top 100 started out as an idea to let the "players" have a voice on who were truly the league's best performers. If we're honest, yes, the players of this league typically do pay attention to this communal exercise. For the most part, players will laugh it off and respond to their rankings with the usual "I'm better than that" response. Fans of certain teams will also weigh in on how the credibility of these ratings is questionable at best.
Yet, today, we're commending the honesty of one of the premier faces of the National Football League; that's perennial All-Pro J.J. Watt from the Texans. Watt was rated as the NFL's 35th best player despite only playing three measly games in 2016. Watt is certainly better than the NFL's 35th best when healthy, but he was appalled that the NFL would rank him this high even though he barely played. How could a guy with 1.5 sacks and eight tackles be rated so highly?
Watt didn't mince words:
Watt just dropped a truth bomb.
The NFL Top 100 is a "joke" and it's been that for some time. What is evident is that the players that are picked to vote on this have no true idea as to what happens in their own league. Before we judge the judges, we must understand that all of these participants are active players worried about their own individual performances.
The powers that be at the NFL offices could help make this process what it was intended to be, a respectful tribute to the best in the game. Instead, they allow for these ratings to stand no matter how perplexing they may be. Allow me to show you what we're talking about using only this year's ranks.
Not only is it dumbfounding to rate J.J. Watt as the 35th best player in only three games played, the NFL's sack leader, Vic Beasley, ranked 40th. Beasley had 15.5 sacks last season and his team appeared in the Super Bowl. If someone with the personal confidence of Watt is questioning this process, you best believe there are issues.
Bringing this to the home front of our Dallas Cowboys, Dez Bryant ranked 60th this year. That's not terribly wrong until you see that he ranked 51st last year having played only nine games, had career lows in yards, average yards per catch, and touchdowns at three.
In 2016, Bryant missed three games but he scored seven touchdowns in the last 10 games. Bryant also has more touchdown catches than any player since 2011 at 64. It makes no sense to rate Dez 51st in 2015 and downgrade him in 2016. Especially not based on whatever mathematical evidence this platform uses.
The current highest rated Cowboy on this list offers up even more questioning. Zack Martin, the three-time All-Pro, three-time Pro Bowler, the best player at his position in the league ranks 58? Zack Martin...really? 58? We're not sure that any player in the league is as good at their position as Martin is at playing right guard.
If that's not bad enough, Travis Frederick comes in at 87th though he is certainly playing like the very best center in the game. Sean Lee is a few spaces ahead of Fredbeard but even his ranking is laughable.
In what world does an All-Pro Linebacker, two-time Pro Bowler, who ranked among the very best in the league with 145 tackles sit at 79th? How does J.J. Watt make it to 35 when he missed 13 games and the Buccanneers' Gerald McCoy is at 52? Brian Orakpo had 10.5 sacks and is at 78. It's apparent that people do not pay attention.
Now, were sure that the Cowboys will have some of their players ranked fairly high as this process continues. It doesn't matter where they find themselves ranked in the coming weeks, the chicken has already flown the coop.
Though the NFL Top 100 started out as a clear idea to have peers show respect for one another. For crying out loud, guys like Jason Peters put their NFL Top-100 ranking in their Twitter profiles, it’s supposed to mean something. It has quickly turned into an absolute laughing stock with zero credibility and a heavy dose of confusion. As Watt proclaimed, it's a joke. There truly are no better words to describe it.
The NFL Top 100 should be renamed to the NFL's Top Names We Know. It literally has become sillier every season. Most NFL ranking systems will always be met with some criticism but the Top 100 has tried to pass themselves off as the most legit when they're anything but the definition of that word. It's pretty awesome that finally, a huge face in the NFL didn't mind humbling himself in efforts to point out these gaffs.