Maurice Jones-Drew has been rated by his peers as the 30th best player in the NFL. While my brother and I sat and watched Jones-Drew’s segment on the NFL Network, my brother (a Steelers fan) said, “Apparently players are just as susceptible to the hype machine as the media is.” That’s a striking statement. Then I thought about it. Players know how well other players in their division play, but outside of that, they would rely heavily on media outlets such as ESPN. Sure, they probably know the abilities of each other than most fans, but having players rank the top 100 players is nothing but a massive, subjective list. We could make that list here at The Jaggernaut… but let’s not.
My problem wasn’t necessarily that MJD was ranked 30th (although I expected top 20). My problem is that he was ranked below three other running backs. In my opinion, MJD is the second best running back in the NFL from an abilities perspective. This is my reasoning.
Arian Foster reminds me a lot of Fred Taylor. He has speed once he’s through a hole, and he has power in the hole. Both of those traits he shares with Jones-Drew. The difference is that Foster stands at 6’1″ tall, while; Jones-Drew is only 5’7″. That allows Jones-Drew to get more leverage. Sure, Foster won the rushing title in 2010, but Jones-Drew played in 2 fewer games, and he played on an injured knee the entire year. With that being the case, Jones-Drew was still only 292 yards behind Foster.
I also have a problem ranking Chris Johnson above Maurice Jones-Drew. My argument with that is very simple. Johnson is a one trick pony. CJ2K just can’t break tackles the way the other top running backs in the league. He has phenomenal speed, but he has to have a nice hole to make that work for him. Jones-Drew has both speed and power making him an asset at the Jags’ own 20, midfield, and in the redzone.
It’s a list. Nothing more. Just because the players ranked their peers doesn’t mean it’s any more accurate or less subjective than a list made by statisticians, coaches, or members of the media. Personally, 30th best (4th best RB) doesn’t seem quite right to me, but hey, that’s just me.