Last offseason, Darrelle Revis placed fifth on the NFL Network’s list of the Top 100 Players in the league. This year, he comes in at #67. It’s hard to say which honor is more impressive.
The NFL Network has compiled its Top 100 list, using exclusively ballots cast by NFL players themselves, since the 2011 offseason. In each case, the series of shows revealing the list has been titled with the current calendar year; i.e. this year’s series is called “The Top 100 Players of 2013 Presented by Buffalo Wild Wings.” However, since the votes are cast near the end of the previous year’s regular-season, it is clear that the list reflects who the players believe are the best of their peers at that time.
And that’s what makes Revis’ placement in 2013 a rather striking complement.
By placing fifth on last year’s list, Revis took the highest ranking of any defensive player, following only the usual quarterback trio of Aaron Rodgers (#1), Drew Brees (#2) and Tom Brady (#4) plus Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson (#3). Revis was also eighth on the original list in 2011, third among defenders behind only Ray Lewis and Troy Polamalu.
It’s reasonable to predict that Revis would have remained in the upper reaches of that list in 2013…if not for the season-ending knee injury that interrupted his work before he had played two full games. While other standout players around the league emerged and others cemented their reputations with fine play, Revis spent the fall rehabbing.
In the end, then, it’s not critically important where Revis landed on the list (and, of course, the list itself is not critically important, though still an enjoyable conversation piece) but simply that he still attracted enough votes to be on the list at all. That issue is part of the debate in the supporting video on the NFL.com Top 100 page devoted to Revis. Obviously, plenty of Revis’ peers expect his dominance to continue in 2013. As former teammate and fellow cornerback Antonio Cromartie put it, “Even with him coming off the ACL this upcoming year, he’s still going to be the best corner in the NFL.”
Several other of the league’s top cornerbacks also appear in the video, and it’s clear how much respect those at the position have for Revis. Arizona’s Patrick Peterson calls him, “The best player at my position,” and Green Bay’s Tramon Williams adds: “Polished, patient, strong – everything you want to see in a cornerback.”
Revis is the third Buccaneer to appear on the list so far. S Dashon Goldson came in at #96 and DT Gerald McCoy was ranked #92. The NFL Network reveals a new segment of 10 players every Thursday evening; next week, the players ranked #51-60 will be announced.