July 15, 2012

The Top 100 NFL Players of 2011: 80-71

By - Kris Fletcher

After a two-week hiatus, our weekly countdown of the top 100 NFL players of 2011 continues.

Here are numbers 80-71:

80. DeSean Jackson - WR, Philadelphia Eagles: Jackson may have suffered through the worst year of his young career in 2011, but the fact of the matter is, he's still an elite receiver, whether Philly fans wanna admit it or not. Jackson is capable of scoring on an given play, and he continues to be one of the most dangerous punt returners in the league. And hey -- now that the Eagles have finally shown him the money, perhaps he'll look more like the Jackson of old this season.

Photo by: Getty Images
79. Joe Thomas - T, Cleveland Browns: While there hasn't been much to cheer about in Cleveland of late, it's certainly not from lack of effort on Thomas' part. Since being drafted by the Browns with the third-overall pick back in 2007, he's started every game -- and made the Pro Bowl every year. Expect to see the same type of consistency out of Thomas in 2012.

78. Jordy Nelson - WR, Green Bay Packers: If 2010 was Nelson's championship year -- 2011 was his breakout one. He posted career-highs last season in receptions (68), yards (1,263), and touchdowns (15), and became one of Aaron Rodgers favorite targets along the way. That alone is reason enough to think Nelson's stock will continue to climb for years to come.

77. Nnamdi Asomugha - CB, Philadelphia Eagles: Like a lot of Eagles, Asomugha had a disappointing 2011 campaign. Still, he has to be considered one of the best press coverage corners in the game today. No doubt having to learn a new system and dealing with multiple injuries hurt his production last season, so look for him to bounce back in a big way in 2012.

76. Johnathan Joseph - CB, Houston Texans: Joseph has quickly developed into one of the best man-to-man cover corners in the NFL. In his first season with Houston, he made the Pro Bowl -- and the team made the postseason for the first time in franchise history. With Joseph leading the way in the secondary, the Texans ranked third in the league against the pass in 2011.

75. Fred Jackson - RB, Buffalo Bills: Jackson only appeared in 10 games last year due to an injury, but needless to say -- his numbers were spectacular prior to going down. He rushed for 934 yards and 6 scores, and also snagged 39 balls for 442 yards through the air. Look for Jackson to continue to be a dual-threat for Buffalo this season and beyond.

74. Lance Briggs - LB, Chicago Bears: At this point in his career, Briggs is one of the most important players on the defensive side of the ball for the Bears -- possibly even more so than Brian Urlacher. Both a great open-field tackler and ferocious hitter, Briggs tallied 105 total tackles and forced 2 fumbles in 2011.

73. A.J. Green - WR, Cincinnati Bengals: Green had a tremendous rookie campaign last year, becoming the first rookie wide receiver since 2003 to make the Pro Bowl. In helping the upstart Bengals make the playoffs for the first time since 2006, he hauled in 65 balls for 1,057 yards and 7 touchdowns. As one of Andy Dalton's favorite targets, expect Green to put up even bigger numbers in 2012.

72. Carlos Rogers - CB, San Francisco 49ers: After a total of 8 interceptions in 6 seasons with the Washington Redskins, Rogers snagged 6 last year alone with the 49ers. He also recorded a season-high 11 solo tackles during San Francisco's 20-17 overtime loss to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game.

71. Jason Witten - TE, Dallas Cowboys: Witten continues to be one of the best all-around tight ends in the game today. Both a great run blocker and receiver, Witten led the Cowboys in receiving yards (942) last season -- and eclipsed Ozzie Newsome with the third-most catches by a tight end in league history.

Hope you enjoyed our latest ten. Be sure to check back here next Sunday for numbers 70-61!

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