The MMQB, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King-run football site, came out with their top 400 players in the NFL yesterday. It is predictably dumb, because these kind of rankings are inherently silly.
Sorting through and ranking hundreds of players is a frivolous exercise. Determining that one player is the 278th player and another is the 279th is semantical. Whenever I see lists like this, I prefer to look at it from the angle of what players are on the list from a team, and what order are they in. Forget about if a guy is the 117th player in the league, is he the 4th best player on his team and does the ranking reflect that? If the team lists are about right, that’s about the best you can expect.
The Eagles have 14 players on the MMQB 400. None of them are Brandon Brooks, Jordan Matthews, or LeGarrette Blount. That seems odd to me. In no particular order, I’d have Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, Brandon Brooks, Alshon Jeffery, Jordan Matthews, Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, LeGarrette Blount, Darren Sproles, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Timmy Jernigan, Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod in my top 15, and I just listed 16 names.
|26||Fletcher Cox||4-3 DT|
|98||Brandon Graham||4-3 DE|
|231||Vinny Curry||4-3 DE|
|340||Timmy Jernigan||3-4 DE|
|359||Jordan Hicks||STACK LB|
-Jordan Hicks is one of the ten players on the Eagles, perhaps one of the five best. Putting him 12th and behind Vinny Curry is nonsense.
-Curry also ahead of Jason Peters, Jernigan and Zach Ertz is awful.
-Brent Celek’s been a fantastic Eagle throughout his career, but heading into the 2017 season he’s undeserving of being on this list. I wouldn’t put him in the top 20 of the 2017 Eagles.
What makes all of this so silly is how arbitrary this all is. The list was created by the MMQB’s resident tape grinder, Andy Benoit. Benoit gives no methodology, offers no introduction, and has no complimentary second article explaining it. So we’re left to take it as a serious undergoing that is supposed to be definitive based on the appeal to Benoit’s supposed authority because he watches a lot of tape.
This means we must take at face value the guy who has said things like “Joseph Randle can average well over 5.0 getting 20-plus carries a game” and that Cam Newton is “not a better player” than Andy Dalton, among many other hot takes; comes up with nonsense terms like “man free lurk” and in this piece “stack linebacker”; and who thinks that the sports we should illustrate are only ones that men play (apparently he’s never watched the Olympics) has fool proof reasoning.
But hey, it gives us something to talk about, so he wins.