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!
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.
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.