NFL Network Top 100: Jairus Byrd and C.J. Spiller should be on the list

The NFL Network has been putting together a list of the Top 100 Players in the National Football League, but aside from Mario Williams, who came in at No. 72, no Buffalo Bills made the cut. While this was voted on by the players, who probably have a different view of our beloved Bills than we do, just how accurate was this list?

Here at BillsMafia.com, we decided to take a look at two Bills players and see how they stacked up to their NFL Network Top 100 counterparts.

Disclaimer: You will be angry!

Jairus Byrd (Photo by Rick Stewart, Getty Images)
Jairus Byrd (Photo by Rick Stewart, Getty Images)

Safety Jairus Byrd

Five safeties made the cut for the NFL Network Top 100 list; No. 18 Ed Reed, No. 66 Earl Thomas, No. 87 Bernard Pollard, No. 91 Troy Polamalu, and No. 96 Dashon Goldson.

While each of these players (with the exception of Polamalu, who appeared in just seven games last year) have been successful, Byrd not making this list is utterly ridiculous. Here’s why:

Dashon Goldson- 67 tackles, three interceptions, 10 pass deflections, one forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries

Troy Polamalu- 34 tackles, one interception, one sack, three pass deflections

Bernard Pollard- 98 tackles, one interception, six pass deflections, two sacks

Earl Thomas- 61 tackles, three interceptions, nine pass deflections, one forced fumble

Ed Reed- 58 tackles, four interceptions, 15 pass deflections

Jairus Byrd- 76 tackles, five interceptions, six pass deflections, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries

While stat lines are deceiving, Byrd’s statistics are clearly above each player except for pass deflections. In order to get a more clear view on that, we turned to ProFootballFocus’ Premium Stats (subscription required) to see just how often these safeties were targeted to help determine why Byrd didn’t have as many pass deflections.

Goldson- 40 targets, 1 TD allowed

Polamalu- 11 Targets, 0 TD allowed

Pollard- 49 targets, 0 TD allowed

Thomas- 44 targets, 1 TD allowed

Byrd- 21 targets, 0 TD allowed

Reed- 38 targets, 3 TD allowed

ProFootballFocus had this to say about their No. 25 player on their Top 101 list.

Is there a better deep safety in the league than Byrd right now? A legitimate playmaker that quarterbacks have to be mindful of on every down, Byrd comfortably finished the year our top ranked cover safety. Now, the way he’s used may not make him the most complete safety out there, but he’s so good at what he does you can’t help but appreciate the Bills’ franchise player.

(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
C.J. Spiller (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Running Back C.J. Spiller

C.J. Spiller was criminally underutilized in the 2012 season, touching the ball just 250 times (207 carries, 43 receptions). However, he still managed to accumulate 1,244 rushing yards and another 459 receiving yards. Always a threat to break a huge run, Spiller failed to crack the NFL Network Top 100 list.

But was he better than the 10 other running backs who made the list ahead of him (excluding Adrian Peterson who is expected to be announced on the next episode)?

Let’s take a look.

C.J. Spiller- 207 carries, 1,244 yards, six touchdowns, 43 receptions, 459 yards, two touchdowns

Ray Rice- 257 carries, 1,143 yards, nine touchdowns, 61 receptions, 478 yards, one touchdown

Jamaal Charles- 285 carries, 1,509 yards, five touchdowns, 35 receptions, 236 yards, one touchdown

Marshawn Lynch- 315 carries, 1,590 yards, 11 touchdowns, 23 receptions, 234 yards, one touchdown

LeSean McCoy- 200 carries, 840 yards, two touchdowns, 54 receptions, 373 yards, three touchdowns

Doug Martin- 319 carries, 1,454 yards, 11 touchdowns, 49 receptions, 472 yards

Chris Johnson- 276 carries, 1,243 yards, six touchdowns, 36 receptions, 232 yards

Alfred Morris- 335 carries, 1,613 yards, 13 touchdowns, 11 receptions, 77 yards

Trent Richardson- 267 carries, 950 yards, 11 touchdowns, 51 receptions, 367 yards, one touchdown

Maurice Jones-Drew- 86 carries, 414 yards, one touchdown, 14 receptions, 86 yards, one touchdown

Now, this list isn’t as mind boggling as the safety selections were, but when you dig deeper it’s insane that Spiller couldn’t crack this list.

Maurice Jones-Drew played five games. Trent Richardson scored 12 total touchdowns, but at a 3.6 yard-per-carry average. LeSean McCoy had just seven fewer carries than Spiller, but C.J. gained over 400 more rushing yards than “Shady.”

According to ProFootballFocus, Spiller was the most elusive running back in the NFL last year, scoring a 94.6 on their Elusive Rating scale, which factors in forced missed tackles as well as yards after contact. His score was 22.6 points better than the No. 2 running back.

They had this to say about Spiller, who came in at No. 18 on their Top 101 list.

The only reason Spiller isn’t higher is because he didn’t get enough carries in 2012. When he did, he was something to behold. As explosive a player as there was in the league during the 2012 season, he made his blocking seem better by turning nothing into something, frequently. His 6.0 yards per carry average is amazing, while forcing 53 missed tackles on 207 rushes is astonishing. A real game-changer.

Byrd and Spiller each being slighted on the NFL Network’s Top 100 of 2013 is pretty astonishing, considering it was voted on by their fellow peers. Both earned Pro Bowl nods as alternates, but it’s interesting that the players don’t hold them in high regard.

Whether it’s the whole “Buffalo” thing, or if they just forgot about them, when you line up Byrd and Spiller’s individual statistics next to those that made the cut, it’s inconceivable how they weren’t mentioned in the top of their class.

3 Replies to “NFL Network Top 100: Jairus Byrd and C.J. Spiller should be on the list”

  1. Wow that was just as I suspected and yes I think the slight to Byrd and Spiller was due to the “Buffalo” thing. Not only do we not get respect because of the highly publicized and often talked about 13 year playoff drought but also the infamous 4 super bowl losses in a row. There are a lot of young and older but especially younger football fans in Buffalo that have turned away from the Bills because of those 2 things alone, so we shouldn’t be surprised when young football players take the same attitude about Buffalo and the Bills. It’s unfortunate for those 2 guys in particular, but they have the ability to do something about it, such as score more touchdowns individually and win more games collectively. I for one hope that our players not only sees it that way but also take it upon themselves to stop the “Buffalo” thing from them getting the recognition that they’ve earned just because of our losing ways. In sports winning is a cure all.

  2. It was nice to see this linked to the Buffalo Rumblings site ( a site that I visit almost daily ) and hopefully many more because I think it was one of your best and worthy of widespread recognition ( maybe even national ) and should at the very least garner a hardy response and in some places great debate. Well in any case I said previously I think you did a fine job with this piece and I thank you.

  3. I don’t think these guys will be ingnored in the future. CJ is just hitting the prime of his career and will be an all purpose yards animal for many years. With a defense that doesn’t just sit back in the base formation and wait for things to develop, I think you will see some stars rise on that side of the ball as well. Mainly Byrd and Mario.