During this offseason, the NFL Network has been releasing its list of the Top 100 players in the league. While this list always causes some controversy, it is voted upon by the players who aren't always the top judges of talent. Another set of rankings posted by the league on NFL.com lists its writers' rankings of players position-by-position, breaking the league's best down by tiers. As you might expect, several Green Bay Packers appear on the lists for the skill positions.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers rolls in as the top player at the most important position in the sport, ranking in the top tier of "Three Kings" along with Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. We all know how impressive Rodgers has been over the past several years, so I don't think we really need to analyze that ranking much.
At the wide receiver position, the Packers' top three options are all listed. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb both rank in the third tier, called "Not-Quite-Number-1s", with Nelson coming in 15th overall and Cobb at 19th. Recently departed wideout Greg Jennings finishes off that category at the 21st spot. James Jones is farther down the list, coming in at 36th in the "Trick or Treat" category, where NFL.com's Chris Wesseling describes him as one of "the game's best second fiddles." I think he's on to something with Jones - he wouldn't be a game-changing receiver as the primary option in a passing game, but in 2012 he proved that he can be a terrific option in one-on-one coverage when he can use his strength to go up and fight for tough catches, especially in the red zone.
Gregg Rosenthal took a stab at the league's best edge rushers and ranked Green Bay's Clay Matthews second, behind only Von Miller from the Denver Broncos. Rosenthal spent quite a bit of time praising Miller, but said this about #52: "Matthews can be just as disruptive as Miller if fully healthy. He still should have a Defensive MVP season in him." Given Miller's ridiculous start to his NFL career, I can't really disagree. With the word "still," Rosenthal seems to suggest that Matthews is on the downslope, however, something that I vehemently disagree with. Now that he has more pass-rushing talent around him in the Packers' defense with Nick Perry, Mike Neal, and rookie Datone Jones, I wouldn't be shocked if that Defensive MVP season comes here in 2013.
All in all, seeing the Packers get individual recognition is certainly encouraging. We all know how good these players are, and to see them recognized among the best at their positions is always a good thing. Hopefully, after this season the Packers will place someone on the list of the league's top running backs as well.