Our top 100 NFL players of 2011 countdown continues this week -- with numbers 70-61.
Here we go.
70. Alex Smith - QB, San Francisco 49ers: While Smith may not have been spectacular last season, he certainly played well enough to be worthy of a spot on our top 100. His 90.7 passer rating was ninth-best in the league, and his 5 interceptions were a league-low. Besides, if you don't believe Smith belongs on this list, ask the Saints what they think.
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68. Earl Thomas - S, Seattle Seahawks: In just two short seasons, Thomas has become one of the better safeties in the NFL. A factor in the secondary and on special teams, Thomas has also shown that he's not afraid to come up and and help with run support when Seattle's defensive line breaks down. Last year, he had 98 total tackles and 2 interceptions.
67. Joe Flacco - QB, Baltimore Ravens: While Flacco may not be the best quarterback in the league by any stretch of the imagination, he has developed into a pretty solid one. Last season, he hit the 20 touchdown pass mark for the third-consecutive year, and also became the first signal caller in NFL history to win at least one playoff game in each of his first four seasons.
66. Elvis Dumervil - DE, Denver Broncos: Dumervil's primary job is to disrupt the passing game and get to the quarterback, and more often than not -- he does just that. Last year, he had 9.5 sacks to go along with 42 total tackles. Expect more of the same from him in 2012.
65. Michael Vick - QB, Philadelphia Eagles: Vick may have had an up-and-down 2011 campaign, but the fact still remains that when healthy -- he's one of the toughest quarterbacks in the league to game plan against. Last season, Vick threw for over 3,300 yards, and also added an additional 589 yards on the ground.
64. Lamarr Woodley - DE, Pittsburgh Steelers: Woodley has become one of the anchors of Pittsburgh's defense. Despite missing 6 games last year with a hamstring injury, he still managed to register 9 sacks and 39 total tackles. Look for a healthy Woodley to once again be wreaking havoc on opponents this season.
63. Jake Long - T, Miami Dolphins: Long has all the intangibles an offensive lineman needs. He's strong, smart, fast, and overall -- just technically sound from top to bottom. Long missed 2 games in 2011, but was still voted to the Pro Bowl for the fourth time.
62. Trent Cole - DE, Philadelphia Eagles: With his combination of power, speed, and savvy, Cole has become one of the cornerstones of Philadelphia's defense. He registered double-digit sacks for the third-consecutive season last year, and also added 44 total tackles and a forced fumble.
61. Roddy White - WR, Atlanta Falcons: Many people believe White had a "down" season last year, but if 100 catches, nearly 1,300 receiving yards, and 8 touchdowns is down, I'd love to see the type of numbers he'd put up if he were productive. White has had at least 80 receptions and 1,150 yards for five-consecutive seasons, so the bottom line is -- he's one of the best in the business.
Hope you enjoyed these ten. Be sure to check back here next Sunday for numbers 60-51!