Aside from the smattering of news that comes this time of year with the start of training camps across the NFL, arbitrary rankings are also part of the media’s summer mix. Whether it’s team power rankings or the best players at certain positions, these lists always pique interest. The MMQB gang at Sports Illustrated recently released their list of the top 400 players in the league, which is sure to spark much fan debate as well.
Of course, it’s difficult to make a list of the top 400 players in the NFL, but this list is almost funny.
Current free agents were a part of the compilation, but 2017 rookies were not. The list did a relatively fair job of spreading the wealth, in terms of the amount of players making the list from each team, but where some landed raises questions. Overall, there were 11 Bengals players who made the list, with many predictable names featured. Also seeing The MMQB writer criticisms on character issues with the Bengals was something that most would see coming in their analyses.
Here are some of the more interesting Bengal names and their placements on the list:
Kicking off the list at No. 400 was embattled Cincinnati center, Russell Bodine. While he has drawn a fair share of criticism since his being drafted by the team in 2014, there were signs of some improvement last year, at least by Pro Football Focus’ standards. Only 17 centers made the list, so it’s a relatively high ranking for Bodine in his position group.
Quarterback Andy Dalton came in at No. 338 overall, which was the third-lowest rating of the 23 signal-callers on the list (only Alex Smith and Ryan Tannehill had lower rankings). MMQB’s reasoning with Dalton’s placement was with his mechanics. “Better pocket mechanics, particularly footwork, would go a long way toward ironing out Dalton's wrinkles of inconsistency.” It seems kind of crazy to think Dalton could be the NFL’s 338th best player, but get ready for the next one...
Former Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict came in at No. 282 overall, which also far-too low. Sure, he’s missed somewhat-significant time over the past few seasons, but he is a star when on the field. Predictably, his on-field demeanor was part of The MMQB’s assessment of his ranking.
He's the ultimate double-edged sword. Burfict can change the face of your run defense but also lose his mind and derail your club.
Here are all of the Bengals who made the list and their respective rankings, many of which seem off.
A.J. Green, WR, No. 33 overall
Geno Atkins, DT, No. 55 overall
Tyler Eifert, TE, No. 123 overall
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, No. 158 overall
George Iloka, S, No. 197 overall
Carlos Dunlap, DE, No. 208 overall
Vontaze Burfict, LB, No. 282 overall
Giovani Bernard, RB, No. 300 overall
Andy Dalton, QB, No. 338 overall
Adam Jones, CB, No. 388 overall
Russell Bodine, C, No. 400 overall
Even if we were ranking just the Bengals, this is not how the list would go. What do you think of this list and where the Bengals players rank? Do you think some other quality players were snubbed?