I am doing this mostly out of boredom, but nothing ignites good conversation like a top 5 list. I am going to try to be as impartial as possible, but let's remember this is only MY opinion.
Top 5 QB's
1) Peyton Manning: In all honesty I believe Tom Brady is an amazing quarterback, he is clutch and rarely falters in the heat of the moment (the three super bowl rings don't hurt either). Although I recognize his great talent, Peyton Manning is the Indianapolis colts. Remove him from that team and it all falls apart. Of course Tom Brady matters to the Patriots, but watching Manning orchestrate an offense is beyond human. In addition, I simply cannot see a Matt Cassel type player replacing Manning and the colts ending up with an 11-5 record.
2) Tom Brady: Like I stated earlier, the guy is an immense talent who seems to play his best football when it matters most. He embodies the word leader in every way, and Brady does hold the single season records for passing touchdowns and yards. While he may not be as important to his team as Peyton Manning, the difference is not all that great.
3) Ben Roethlisberger: Statistically his numbers may not be as glamorous as Peyton or Brady, his winning record cannot be denied. As well as his great track record as a winner, its not like he has never had great statistical years. In 2007 he threw 32 touchdowns and for over 3,100 yards. While his impact in his first super bowl win may have been minimal, he did throw the winning TD in his second.
4) Philip Rivers: Rivers has thrown for over 4,000 yards in back to back years, and completed 63 touchdowns passes in the same time period. The amazing part is that Philip Rivers in only 28 years old, and so far this year he is having another great statistical year (even without Vincent Jackson). If only the San Diego Chargers had a coach ...
5) Matt Schaub: Schaub may not have the name recognition as the previous four qb's on this list, he is an extremely talented QB. Last year Schaub had a great year (completed 68% of his passes, while throwing for 4,700 yards and 29 touchdowns) and led the Texans to their first winning season in their franchises history.
Top 5 RB's:
1) Chis Johnson: He ran for over 2,000 years in his second year as a pro. Johnson is most likely the fastest man in the NFL, and as he progresses he will mostly likely be able to utilize his speed even more effectively in the following years.
2) Maurice Jones Drew: Personally he is one of my favorite players. He is the ultimate professional and goes about his business the way all NFL players should. Not to mention he already has 50 rushing touchdowns in his first 5 years as a pro.
3)Ray Rice: Last year Ray Rice averaged 5.3 yards per carry, which ultimately resulted in a season which he ended up with over 1,300 yards and 7 rushing touchdowns. Rice is also one of the best receiving running backs in the league, as he had over 700 receiving yards last year as well.
4) Rashard Mendenhall: His rookie year was disappointing, but he followed up with a solid sophomore season. It will be fun to watch both Ray Rice and Rashard Mendenhall cause havoc in the AFC North.
5) LaDanian Tomlinson: This choice was probably one of the hardest for me to make, for I truly believed his days as an upper-echelon running back were over. Fortunately for me and the Jets, I and many others were dead wrong. He clearly has something left in the tank and is averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Why a difficult choice? I wanted to put him higher simply because of his legacy, but I also contemplated leaving him off the list due to his age. But this is my list so this is where he ends up ...
Top 5 WR's:
1) Andre Johnson: Making Andre Johnson the top WR in the AFC was the easiest choice thus far. The man is a monster, plain and simple. His stats are crazy and is athletic ability is even more impressive. Andre Johnson is clearly the best WR in the entire NFL.
2) Brandon Marshall: When I realized that the Miami Dolphins had acquired Brandon Marshall I was quite disappointed, for I recognize he is a heck of a player. Marshall is constantly in the league leaders in receptions and YAC. While he may not have the top end speed Andre Johnson possesses, he physical nature more than makes up for it.
3) Anquan Boldin: What a great addition the Ravens made with the trade for Boldin. He is the offensive equivalent to Ray Lewis in terms of physicality. As Flacco progresses into a top-tier QB, Boldin will only see his statistics increase. The guy catches everything and is never "dogs-it" like some elite WR's.
4) Reggie Wayne: While Wayne may be a result of the Peyton Manning effect, I have seen him make spectacular catches left and right. His route running is top-notch and constantly hustles, Reggie Wayne is one of my favorite players to watch in the NFL.
5) Santonio Holmes: I cannot wait to see the Sanchez-Holmes connection grow, and Holmes will make Sanchez a much better QB. Last year Holmes had over 1,200 yards in the NFL, and averaged 15.8 yards per reception. Oh yeah, he is also a former Super Bowl MVP.
Top 5 TE's
1) Antonio Gates: A dominant force on the football field and a match up nightmare for defensive coordinators across the country. His immense size and solid hands make him an elite weapon in the passing game, his blocking is also very solid.
2) Dallas Clark: Pass blocks, run blocks, and catches with great effectiveness. He is Manning's go to guy and rarely drops the big catch. Clark also led all TE's in the NFL in Yards last year, and had ten touchdowns as well.
3) Dustin Keller: While Keller may not possess the blocking ability that both Gates and Clark excel at, he is improving. But it is his ability as a pass catcher that truly makes him a top 5 TE in the NFL. Five touchdowns so far this year, it is clear Sanchez loves throwing to this guy, and there is no reason why he wouldn't.
4) Zach Miller: One of the most underated players in the NFL, Zach Miller has been playing great football over the past two years. Miller is fourth in the NFL in receptions this year, and that is without consistent play from the QB position.
5) Mercedes Lewis: He is one of the few pass catching weapons the Jaguars have, but he is a weapon. A solid blocker but also has five touchdowns this year already. As a 6-6, 275 pound tight end, try putting a corner on him and lets see what happens.
Top 5 Offensive Lineman:
2) Nick Mangold: The best center in football, he is the leader of one of the top o-lines in the league.
So those are my top 5 lists, I hope you guys don't hate it too much. One more thing .... GO JETS!!!