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Blog Entry

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

Posted on: December 1, 2011 11:22 am
 
Gronkowski

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It’s too easy to talk about the best rookies of the season (Von Miller, Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, blah, blah, blah) -- hell  you could find that list just about anywhere online. But the Top Ten with a Twist list strives to take you a little deeper than the surface. So, we talk about the best players who are in their SECOND year of playing in the NFL.

Like last year when we touted players like Clay Matthews, Arian Foster and LeSean McCoy, as well as players like (sigh) Johnny Knox, Knowshon Moreno and Mark Sanchez, we’re giving it another shot to discuss the best players from the 2010 draft. But this year, we guarantee the players on this top-10 list will be Hall of Fame bound one day.

Because if there’s one thing we know for certain, by the time NFLers are in their second year of playing pro football, they’ve got it all figured out. Or maybe not.

10. Earl Thomas: As a rookie safety last year, he recorded 76 tackles and five interceptions. While he’s only got one pick this season, he’s already at 71 tackles. Some observers before this season compared him to Troy Polamalu, and while Thomas clearly hasn’t reached that level yet, Thomas has plenty of talent to justify his first-round selection.

9. Jason Pierre-Paul: He didn’t get much notice last season, but the injuries to Osi Umenyiora and a slew of other Giants have gotten him more playing time. He’s taken advantage, recording 10.5 sacks and 50 tackles on the season. And he’s still only 22 years old. That’s scary.

8. Pat Angerer: If you don’t know much about Angerer, that makes sense. He plays in the black hole known as Indianapolis. But he’s quietly put together one of the best seasons by a linebacker this year. He leads the league with 112 tackles. He’s made at least seven tackles in every game this season, and four times, he’s entered into double digits (including 21 in Week 3 vs. the Steelers, the most for the Colts since Bob Sanders in 2005). Just think how much you would know about him if he played for a team that could win a game.

7. Dez Bryant: He’s shown immense talent the past two seasons, but he’s also shown erratic behavior on the field (ranting and raving on the sideline) and off the field (lawsuits for alleged unpaid jewelry services, charges of sagging his pants at a mall). He should be -- and could be -- one of the best receivers in the game at some point in the near future, but if you’re in the Cowboys organization, how much can you really trust the guy?

Tebow6. Joe Haden: He’s a little more invisible than many others because he’s playing for a franchise that struggles, and he doesn’t have the stats of a top-notch cornerback (he’s recorded exactly zero interceptions this season vs. six during his rookie year). But he certainly has big-time play-making ability (opposing offenses have tended to avoid throwing his way), and though he can be a little inconsistent, he’s got the talent to move into that elite level of defensive back.

5. Tim Tebow: He has to be on this list, right? And I’m not even kidding.

4. Eric Decker: Hmm, maybe Josh McDaniels’ 2010 draft wasn’t all that terrible after all. Decker has become the team’s best receiver, and when Tebow gets rolling in the last few minutes of every game, Decker is usually the one making amazing catches to help the cause. Just think what he could do if he had a quarterback who could actually make NFL throws.

3. Ndamukong Suh: As we’ve been saying since the beginning of forever ago, Suh needs to get a better handle on his intensity if he wants to keep the NFL out of his wallet, because it’s pretty clear that he’s one of the dirtiest players out there. And now that he’s been suspended two games, it’s hurting his team. He hasn’t been as good this year as he was last season -- facing more double-teams and all -- but still, he’s one of the most feared defenders in the league.

2. Jimmy Graham: If Rob Gronkowski is the best all-around tight end in the game (see below), Graham is close on his heels. Graham didn’t begin making an impact in New Orleans until midway through his rookie season, but he’s a hot commodity now, leading all tight ends with 67 catches for 957 yards. He has quickly become Drew Brees’ favorite target, and for any pass-catcher in the NFL, that’s a very good thing.

1.Rob Gronkowski: In his second season, he’s already become the most complete tight end in the game. He can block, he can catch, he can score touchdowns and he can spike the hell out of the ball when the play is finished. Plus, the guy hangs out with porn stars. He’s living the life right now. He’s got 60 catches for a 14.4 yards average and 11 scores (more than anybody not named Calvin Johnson), and simply put, he has been a pleasure to watch this season.

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Comments

Since: Mar 6, 2009
Posted on: December 2, 2011 7:42 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

I understand both the pros and cons for putting Tebow on the list. The NFL has become a pass, pass, and more passing league. Watching games where quarterbacks throw three passes and than punt the ball to the other team as opposed to a ball control type of offense that has been employed in Denver since Tim Tebow took over it's a small wonder that a better rested Defense has ruled the day for the Broncos. Yes give some credit to Tebow but don't forget to throw some towards that defense that has been great since Tebow took over behind center. I wonder if this lesson of a ball control offense and a well rested defense has any converts brewing. I believe that the one critisism of Tebow is his lack in the passing game but the excess in the running game along with a stalwart D has been the recipe for success. This type of offense can keep those quarterbacks of the likes of Brady, Rodgers, and Manning on the sidelines watching a grind it out ( dare I say boring ) ball control, clock eating style that can and has success as long as the defense plays very well when asked to. Yes the Niners employ a somewhat similar style and along with their fantastic defense has had great success.



Since: Mar 16, 2008
Posted on: December 2, 2011 3:46 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

Donth65 Your comments on Tebow's play pretty much says it all. "He has to be on this list, right? And I’m not even kidding." Oh, wait, you don't say anything about why he should be there, other than He Is The Tebow. In 6 starts, his offense has scored 20+ pts once.



But, He won five of those six games. Orton won only one of five.  The only change was at QB.

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Check out the defensive numbers throughout those 6 games compared to the previous 5. The Broncos have been a top 5 defense since Tebow has taken control of the team. This same case could be made about the 49ers. Alex Smith has been as much of a game manager as Tim Tebow but where is his praise? He doesn't get it because the people actually congratulate a thriving defense which is what the niners have. These teams are eerily similar since Tebow has taken over. They both utilize the run, play great defense, and, when called upon, each teams quarterback has executed big drives to help their teams to victory. But Alex Smith is nowhere near Tim Tebow, right? I disagree.



Since: Mar 16, 2008
Posted on: December 2, 2011 3:37 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

Josh Katzowitz, you are more of a prisoner of the moment than most of the brainwashed NFL community about Tim Tebow. Neither he nor Decker deserve to be on this list when you really break it down. Your article said "Top 10 Second Year Players" not "Top Stat Guys of the Past 3 Months", which Tebows stats aren't anything to applaud outside of the fact that he doesn't turn the ball over. Pat Angerer's massive amount of tackles is a direct result of his offense not being able to hold the ball. Hell I could record 10 tackles per game if i were on defense 2/3 of the time.

Also, where is Legarrette Blount? If not for injuries, he would surely be guaranteed of a 2nd 1,000 yard rushing performance in as many seasons in the league. That said, he only needs roughly 350 more yards to achieve that feat again and with 5 games remaining, I would not count him out.

I also agree with the Antonio Brown argument. This guy continues to prove me wrong on a week to week basis. And injuries should not affect who is chosen in your top 10 list at this stage because most of these athletes are 25 years old or under, they heal much better than a seasoned vet! Which makes me wonder how anyone would leave Eric Berry off of this list.

Here would be my list of top 10 2nd year players taking all variables into consideration.
1. Ndamukong Suh
2. Dez Bryant
3. Joe Haden
4. Rob Gronkowski
5. Jimmy Graham
6. Legarrette Blount
7. Jason Pierre Paul
8. Maurkice Pouncey
9. Antonio Brown
10. Earl Thomas

And some honorable mentions: Sean Weatherspoon, Ryan Mathews, Pat Angerer, Sean Lee, Tim Tebow, Navorro Bowman

Patriots keep composure, overcome early SC lead




Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 2, 2011 3:33 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

No, Navorro Bowman, you got to be kidding me, the only rason Anger is the tackle leader is because indy defense never leaves the field, and their offense can`t move the ball.... Bowman in the leader tackler in one of the best defenses in the league, and its hard to see the deference beteween him and P. Willis... Bowman should be Top 3 at least!!!



Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 2, 2011 3:06 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

JPP should to be higher IMHO. But more importantly, NaVorro Bowman says hello



Since: Nov 17, 2009
Posted on: December 2, 2011 3:05 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

No Navarro Bowman???






Since: Mar 17, 2009
Posted on: December 2, 2011 2:49 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

Winning!!!!!!!



Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: December 2, 2011 2:42 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

Donth65 Your comments on Tebow's play pretty much says it all. "He has to be on this list, right? And I’m not even kidding." Oh, wait, you don't say anything about why he should be there, other than He Is The Tebow. In 6 starts, his offense has scored 20+ pts once.



But, He won five of those six games. Orton won only one of five.  The only change was at QB.




Since: Nov 17, 2006
Posted on: December 2, 2011 1:49 pm
 

Um what about Antonio Brown?

Come on Josh, Brown needs to be on this list!  He should probably even be in the top 5.



Since: Mar 7, 2008
Posted on: December 2, 2011 1:34 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

How can you leave Antonio Brown off of this list? I think he's having a better year than 5 or 6 of these players.


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