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Top 100: Where will Nnamdi finish?

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 at 8:54 am in Oakland Raiders.

The Raiders’ third and presumably final player named to the NFL Network’s Top 100 list will be cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

Asomugha’s name hasn’t come up yet even though the countdown continues at No. 20 through No. 11 Sunday on the NFL Network.

It speaks to Asomugha’s reputation among his peers, given that voting is done by fellow players. The only Raiders to be voted among the top 100 players in the NFL were running back Darren McFadden (No. 98) and defensive tackle Richard Seymour (No. 66).

Only two cornerbacks have been listed so far _ Philadelphia’s Asante Samuel (No. 54) and Denver’s Champ Bailey (No. 48).

Asomugha and probably two others remain _ the Jets’ Darrelle Revis and the Packers’ Charles Woodson.

Players were asked to list the top 20 players in the NFL then votes were tabulated to reach a top 100. The current list is in the lower right hand corner of the link provided here.

The series has been a good way to kill time during the work stoppage, a way to spark the kind of bar stool arguments and debates which otherwise would deteriorate into discussions about rookie wage scales, percentage of the gross and 18-game regular seasons.

For instance:

– Given the format, the list doesn’t remotely resemble what NFL teams would think about a prospective player. Take for instance, McFadden’s ranking at No. 98. Ranked ahead of McFadden are the 49ers’ Frank Gore (No. 94), Baltimore’s Ray Rice (56), Atlanta’s Michael Turner (42), the Rams’ Steven Jackson (38), the Chiefs’ Jamal Charles (33), Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew (30) and Houston’s Arian Foster (25). Still to come are the Titans’ Chris Johnson and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson.

Put all those names in a box and allow teams to draft and McFadden, based on his third season, would leapfrog at least three players. At the NFL scouting combine the year McFadden came out, he’d be an instant starter on the 49ers _ ahead of Gore, who had already established himself as a Pro Bowl runner.

I thought about that for two years while McFadden battled injuries and looked nothing like the player he’d been at Arkansas. Last season, that evaluation was spot-on.

– Considering Seymour’s track record, his inclusion at No 66 seems a bit low. That’s well behind former teammate Vince Wilfork (No. 35), second-year player Ndamukong Suh (No. 51), and Miami end/linebacker Cameron Wake (No. 63) and Chiefs rush end Tamba Hali (No. 64).

Seymour is considerably older than all those players and all would probably be preferred in an open draft situation. But NFL players probably aren’t thinking that deeply. They’re simply putting down the first names that come to mind. And I’m surprised Seymour’s mind didn’t come to mind on more ballots than players with less of a pedigree.

– Donovan McNabb’s inclusion at No. 100 means some players listed him as among the top 20 players in the NFL, when I’m not sure he’s a slam dunk for being among the top 20 quarterbacks. (OK, top 15, maybe).

– Devin Hester at No. 32? Still more of a gimmick guy as a wide receiver, although the occasional returns are nice. Way too high. At this point, I’d rather have Jacoby Ford.

– Eight players deemed by their peers to be among the top 100 players in the NFL were selected in the 2007 NFL draft after JaMarcus Russell went No. 1 overall _ Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson (No. 27, second overall pick), Browns tackle Joe Thomas (No. 43, third overall pick), Peterson (TBA, seventh overall pick), 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis (23rd, 11th overall pick); Revis (TBA, 14th overall pick), Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (No. 45, 23rd overall pick), Carolina linebacker Jon Beason (No. 95, 25th overall pick) and Steelers linebacker LeMarr Woodley (No. 82, 46th overall pick).

– As for Asomugha vs. Revis vs. Woodson here’s how Atlanta wide receiver Roddy White broke it down for the NFL Network:

1) Revis: Revis is the number one cover guy in the league right now. He’s strong at the point of attack . . . He always gets his hands on you. He disrupts the timing of routes. That’s the biggest thing about the passing game, everything has to be on time — precision. And he does such a good job of (disrupting timing).

2) Asomugha: Nnamdi’s the same way. He disrupts timing. The only thing about Nnamdi, he’s not as good of a ball-catcher as Revis. That’s why I put Revis over him. He’s not a ball-hawking guy, but you can’t complete any balls over Nnamdi.

4) Woodson: He’s like a wild card not really a corner. He does it all. He’s the only guy that’s just a playmaker at the corner position . . . he can’t cover like he used to, but he does a good enough job.”

(He ranks Bailey above Woodson)

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