Every Wednesday at 9:00PM ET, the NFL Network will be unveiling another 20 members of their “Top 100 Players of 2014.” The subjectively voted rankings are determined by the players, themselves, and are supposedly meant to project how their professional colleagues will stack up in the upcoming season. Last season, the players completely snubbed the St. Louis Rams, failing to rank even one member of their squad on the list. How are the Rams fairing this year?
As of last night, NFL Network has officially unveiled No.100 through No.71 on their Top 100. So far, no St. Louis Rams have been listed. However, some of the more recently releases picks may help shine a light on the probability that a golden horned player might make the Top 100.
At No. 75 and No.78 are Joe Staley and Tyron Smith, respectively. The two offensive tackles collectively made up the bookends for the 2013 AP 2nd-Team All-Pro roster last season. In fact, Joe Stanley made the 1st-Team cut for the Professional Football Writers of America, and Tyron Smith made the 1st-Team roster for Sporting News. What does that mean for the St. Louis Rams? Well, it likely omits Jake Long from the list, who last ranked No.59 on the 2012 list while playing for the Miami Dolphins. He did not make the cut last year, after ending the season on IR due to a torn bicep.
On a positive note, the Top 100 did not list off any additional running backs in the No.71-No.80 slots, which could pave the way for Zac Stacy to sneak onto the list.
Each year since the list started in 2011, there have been, at least, 10 running backs in the Top 100. So far, there are only four: Matt Forte, Eddie Lacy, Reggie Bush, and DeMarco Murray. In terms of pure rushing yards, those aforementioned players ranked 2nd, 8th, 13th, and 10th, respectively. The players left above Zac Stacy on the rushing list that are “locks” for the Top 100 are: LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Alfred Morris, Adrian Peterson, and Marshawn Lynch. The other names include the injury-prone Ryan Matthews, the aging Frank Gore, the freshly-released Chris Johnson, and the seemingly-unwanted Knowshon Moreno. So, adding together the already-unveiled running back and the other “locks” for the Top 100, there are only nine backs; 12 made the list last year. Could Stacy sneak his way onto the list after piling up 973 yards in only 12 regular season starts? Maybe. Remember, the list is merely the subjective ranking of players based off of other players’ opinions.
We do know that Robert Quinn will break the mold somewhere in the Top 25. However, outside of the reining Professional Football Writers of America’s Defensive Player of the Year, it is anyone’s guess as to which, if any, member(s) of the St. Louis Rams will crack the list.