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: Feb 14, 2008
Posted on: December 2, 2011 7:35 am

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

Jimmy Graham second on thus list is absurd.  He sould be number, especially since he doesn't hang out with porn stars.  He is leading all NFL tight ends in receptions and that is amazing considering how Drew Brees throws to a lot of different players, sometimes 7 or 8 in a ball game.

Since: Apr 26, 2009
Posted on: December 2, 2011 6:53 am

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

Suh will be number one on this list when its all said and done.

Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: December 2, 2011 12:18 am

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

Why is Angerer what's wrong, pimpslapped? The only game in which the Colts came within a nautical mile of winning a game this year was against the Steelers. And Angerer was all over the field on that one. Is it really his fault that he's making tackles after everyone else on that damn lazy team of yours misses? But take comfort that your team is sucking epically for Luck. You should probably be blaming just about everyone else in that organization. It's disgusting the way that team has folded up into the fetal position. And you want to blame the guy that's cleaning up the mess for that.

Since: Feb 19, 2007
Posted on: December 1, 2011 11:58 pm

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

5. : He has to be on this list, right?
4. : [...]Just think what he could do if he had a quarterback who could actually make NFL throws.
I think this inconsistency invalidates your argument entirely.

Since: Feb 2, 2009
Posted on: December 1, 2011 11:22 pm

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

mike williams sucks

Since: Jun 22, 2007
Posted on: December 1, 2011 9:28 pm

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

@B_lake7032232: Because you're incredibly arrogant. this is not a new notion. people were saying it last year too. 

Since: Jun 4, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2011 9:02 pm

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

Dez Bryant? LOL
  • Dez 2010 - 45 catches, 561 yards, 6 TDs
  • Mike Williams 2010 - 65 catches, 964 yards, 11 TDs
  • Dez 2011 - 38 catches, 620 yards, 6 TDs
  • Williams 2011 - 52 catches, 573 yards, 3 TDs
And no LeGarrette Blount either?  

Since: Mar 1, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2011 9:01 pm

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

Absolutely, 100% agree. He's a hundred times better as a WR then Tebow is as a QB.

Since: Oct 28, 2006
Posted on: December 1, 2011 8:42 pm

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

I like Antonio Brown for the Steelers.

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: December 1, 2011 4:47 pm

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-year players

Are you shitting me? Pat Angerer? He is exactly what is wrong with the Indy defense. Undersized. He has so many tackles because he plays MLB, the weakest part of their run defense, the middle. He is just the last guy to latch on to the runner, FROM BEHIND. You stat nerds don't know shit.

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