Blog Entry

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

Posted on: December 1, 2011 11:22 am

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It’s too easy to talk about the best rookies of the season (Von Miller, Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, blah, blah, blah) -- hell  you could find that list just about anywhere online. But the Top Ten with a Twist list strives to take you a little deeper than the surface. So, we talk about the best players who are in their SECOND year of playing in the NFL.

Like last year when we touted players like Clay Matthews, Arian Foster and LeSean McCoy, as well as players like (sigh) Johnny Knox, Knowshon Moreno and Mark Sanchez, we’re giving it another shot to discuss the best players from the 2010 draft. But this year, we guarantee the players on this top-10 list will be Hall of Fame bound one day.

Because if there’s one thing we know for certain, by the time NFLers are in their second year of playing pro football, they’ve got it all figured out. Or maybe not.

10. Earl Thomas: As a rookie safety last year, he recorded 76 tackles and five interceptions. While he’s only got one pick this season, he’s already at 71 tackles. Some observers before this season compared him to Troy Polamalu, and while Thomas clearly hasn’t reached that level yet, Thomas has plenty of talent to justify his first-round selection.

9. Jason Pierre-Paul: He didn’t get much notice last season, but the injuries to Osi Umenyiora and a slew of other Giants have gotten him more playing time. He’s taken advantage, recording 10.5 sacks and 50 tackles on the season. And he’s still only 22 years old. That’s scary.

8. Pat Angerer: If you don’t know much about Angerer, that makes sense. He plays in the black hole known as Indianapolis. But he’s quietly put together one of the best seasons by a linebacker this year. He leads the league with 112 tackles. He’s made at least seven tackles in every game this season, and four times, he’s entered into double digits (including 21 in Week 3 vs. the Steelers, the most for the Colts since Bob Sanders in 2005). Just think how much you would know about him if he played for a team that could win a game.

7. Dez Bryant: He’s shown immense talent the past two seasons, but he’s also shown erratic behavior on the field (ranting and raving on the sideline) and off the field (lawsuits for alleged unpaid jewelry services, charges of sagging his pants at a mall). He should be -- and could be -- one of the best receivers in the game at some point in the near future, but if you’re in the Cowboys organization, how much can you really trust the guy?

Tebow6. Joe Haden: He’s a little more invisible than many others because he’s playing for a franchise that struggles, and he doesn’t have the stats of a top-notch cornerback (he’s recorded exactly zero interceptions this season vs. six during his rookie year). But he certainly has big-time play-making ability (opposing offenses have tended to avoid throwing his way), and though he can be a little inconsistent, he’s got the talent to move into that elite level of defensive back.

5. Tim Tebow: He has to be on this list, right? And I’m not even kidding.

4. Eric Decker: Hmm, maybe Josh McDaniels’ 2010 draft wasn’t all that terrible after all. Decker has become the team’s best receiver, and when Tebow gets rolling in the last few minutes of every game, Decker is usually the one making amazing catches to help the cause. Just think what he could do if he had a quarterback who could actually make NFL throws.

3. Ndamukong Suh: As we’ve been saying since the beginning of forever ago, Suh needs to get a better handle on his intensity if he wants to keep the NFL out of his wallet, because it’s pretty clear that he’s one of the dirtiest players out there. And now that he’s been suspended two games, it’s hurting his team. He hasn’t been as good this year as he was last season -- facing more double-teams and all -- but still, he’s one of the most feared defenders in the league.

2. Jimmy Graham: If Rob Gronkowski is the best all-around tight end in the game (see below), Graham is close on his heels. Graham didn’t begin making an impact in New Orleans until midway through his rookie season, but he’s a hot commodity now, leading all tight ends with 67 catches for 957 yards. He has quickly become Drew Brees’ favorite target, and for any pass-catcher in the NFL, that’s a very good thing.

1.Rob Gronkowski: In his second season, he’s already become the most complete tight end in the game. He can block, he can catch, he can score touchdowns and he can spike the hell out of the ball when the play is finished. Plus, the guy hangs out with porn stars. He’s living the life right now. He’s got 60 catches for a 14.4 yards average and 11 scores (more than anybody not named Calvin Johnson), and simply put, he has been a pleasure to watch this season.

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Since: Nov 5, 2007
Posted on: December 2, 2011 10:32 am

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

I agree with you.  Whatever happened to a better "body" of work during the year.  There ain't no "porn star" in team, so it doesn't belong in the resume.  Morality aside, that's just stupid to put in there.  I hope Graham keeps up the good play and keeps his nose clean.

Since: Jun 30, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2011 10:23 am

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

Aaron Hernandez.Boom!

Since: Mar 13, 2008
Posted on: December 2, 2011 10:07 am

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

Suh that is

Since: Mar 13, 2008
Posted on: December 2, 2011 10:06 am

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

If he can't get his temper under control he will find himself out of the league or in prison.  Very good talent but a headcase.

Since: Aug 1, 2007
Posted on: December 2, 2011 10:06 am

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

Whether the players on this list are the best ten second year players is questionable. BUt how on earth do you guarantee that they will all get into the Hall of Fame. Only 5 players a year get in so the premise of the guarantee in simple terms is that noone gets in from last year or perhaps next year. Kinda sucks for Clay Matthew, Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy and all the guys you wrote about last season. By all means throw a list together, but you made a thoughtless guarantee pretty much like the Jon Kitna who thought that a 4-0 preseason in Detroit last year meant they would win the Superbowl, or Vince Young on the "Dream Team"

Since: Oct 13, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2011 10:02 am

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

as much as i hate the giants victor cruz has to be somehwere in here

Since: Aug 6, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2011 9:58 am

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

No Navarrow Bowman? No Aaron Hernandez? Tebow possibly in the Hall of Fame? That is ridiculous. You can use the "he just wins game argument" to death but the fact is, the NFL is having an AWFUL season all-around. There are only two good divisions in the entire league, both the AFC and NFC North, and poor Chicago took a huge hit losing Cutler. Tebow is terrible and so are most of the teams in the league this year. Green Bay is excellent and that is about it. Pitt is nice, Balt is way to erratic, NE has no defense, running game, and if you bump their receivers at the line, their passing game falters. If Eric Berry didn't go down, he'd be on this list, and I still think anyone with common sense would take Sam Bradford over Tebow any day, any year, any draft. What about Maurkice Pouncey? Jermaine Gresham? Give me a break with this Tebow trash, everyone I just named is light years ahead of him and it would impossible for you to debate that. I would take Ben Tate and his fantastic fill-in role over Tebow.

Since: May 6, 2008
Posted on: December 2, 2011 9:39 am

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

How can this list of the top ten best second year players be taken seriously when you do not include Victor Cruz. He has almost a thousand yards receiveing and 7 TDs on the year.

Since: Apr 11, 2009
Posted on: December 2, 2011 9:34 am

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

Who the heck is Nawarro Bowman?  You must be a homer... never heard of him.

Since: Jan 15, 2008
Posted on: December 2, 2011 8:17 am

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

Nice list but how about Navarro Bowman???

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