This week, we finally crack the midway point of our top 100 NFL players of 2011 countdown -- with numbers 50-41.
Here we go.
50. Tony Romo - QB, Dallas Cowboys: Yes, I know. Romo hasn't exactly excelled in pressure situations in the past, but the numbers don't lie. The guy can play. Last season, he threw for 4,184 yards, 31 touchdowns, and only 10 interceptions. Romo also currently sits second on the all-time career passer rating list (96.9), trailing only Aaron Rodgers (104.1). So for those of you that think he's not worthy of being in the top 50, think again.
|Photo by: Joe Robbins|
48. Steven Jackson - RB, St. Louis Rams: Jackson is the total package at the running back position. He has the speed to out run defenders, and if need be, the power to go through them. In 2011, he cracked the 1,000-yard mark for the seventh-consecutive season, and added an additional 333 yards receiving to boot. Expect the same kind of production out of him this year.
47. Jason Babin - DE, Philadelphia Eagles: Babin has transformed himself into an absolute sack machine. After six relatively anonymous seasons, he exploded for 12.5 sacks in 2010 with the Titans. He followed that up with a career-high 18 last year. Over the course of the last two seasons, only two players have more sacks (30.5) than Babin -- DeMarcus Ware (35) and Jared Allen (33).
46. Brian Urlacher - LB, Chicago Bears: The heart and soul of Chicago's defense for over a decade, Urlacher is still a difference maker, even at 34 years of age. An extremely intelligent linebacker, he's a master of the pre-snap read. Fully capable of both stuffing the run and dropping back into pass coverage, last year Urlacher registered 102 total tackles, and also snagged 3 interceptions.
45. Champ Bailey - CB, Denver Broncos: Quite frankly, Champ Bailey is one of the best cornerbacks to ever play in the National Football League. He's recorded at least 2 interceptions in every season but one during his 14-year career, and even at 34, he continues to be a big playmaker in Denver's secondary. Look for that trend to continue in 2012.
44. Jason Peters - T, Philadelphia Eagles: Peters has been one of the most dominant tackles in football over the last half-decade. Last season, he earned his fifth-consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl. Unfortunately, an offseason injury will probably keep Peters on the sidelines this year, but expect him to be right back dominating defensive lines again in 2013.
43. Maurkice Pouncey - C, Pittsburgh Steelers: Pouncey fits the mold of the Steelers to a T -- very aggressive and nasty play. In just two short seasons, he has already established himself as one of the league's best centers. With a rare combination of athleticism and strength, few defensive linemen can match Pouncey's speed and power off the ball. And at only 23 years of age, he's only going to get better.
42. Mike Wallace - WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Wallace doesn't need a football, he needs a baton. One of the fastest receivers in the NFL, Wallace has become Pittsburgh's top playmaker on offense. Last season, he hauled in 72 receptions for 1,193 yards and 8 touchdowns. With the Steelers being more of a passing team now, look for this guy to put up even bigger numbers in 2012.
41. Tamba Hali - DE, Kansas City Chiefs: Bottom line -- Hali is one of the premier defensive ends in the National Football League. He thrives as both a run stopper and pass rusher, and those traits have helped him make the Pro Bowl each of the last two years. In 2011, Hali had 66 tackles, 12 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles, so don't expect anything less this season.
Hope you enjoyed these ten. Be sure to check back here next Sunday for numbers 40-31!