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Top 50 Players In The NFL Today
9th December, 2009 - 1:17 pm

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By Jeff Risdon

These lists always cause some controversy, and most of that stems from readers not understanding the criteria or intent. I?m creating this as the top 50 players in 2009, with some influence from the last couple of seasons. This does not look forward beyond the end of this season, so young up-and-comers aren?t as high here as you would find on other lists.

I also tend to value line play more than most, so I probably rate linemen higher as well. This is not a ?who would I start a team with? list either.

1. Peyton Manning, QB, Colts: The best QB of the Super Bowl era having his best season.

2. Chris Johnson, RB, Titans: His speed and versatility are game-changing.

3. Jared Allen, DE, Vikings: Sack master fundamentally alters how offenses play Minnesota.

4. Drew Brees, QB, Saints: Ringleader and commander of one of the greatest offenses ever.

5. Patrick Willis, LB, 49ers: Incredibly dominant player deserves more spotlight.

6. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals. The complete package at wideout, without the trappings of most.

7. Ryan Clady, T, Broncos. As awesome right away as Anthony Munoz was once upon a time.

8. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans. A very close 1A to Fitzgerald.

9. Brett Favre, QB, Vikings. Cut back on the INTs to have his best year in a decade.

10. James Harrison, LB, Steelers. Reigning DPOY still in the mix.

11. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots. Still playing extremely well but not at his sharpest.

12. Dwight Freeney, DE, Colts. Still an elite pass rusher, has anchored against the run better this year.

13. Darnell Dockett, DT, Cardinals. Disruptive interior force sets the tone for an underrated D.

14. Will Smith, DE, Saints. Major part of the defensive revival in New Orleans, 8 sacks in last 5 games.

15. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings. Always a threat but not as complete as once thought.

16. Charles Woodson, CB, Packers. Setting the tone for one of the league?s top defenses.

17. Albert Haynesworth, DT, Redskins. Not his fault the team isn?t very good.

18. Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers. Fearless and confident, with the talent to back it up.

19. Lance Briggs, LB, Bears. His stellar play is lost in a lost season in Chicago.

20. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars. Does more by himself than any other top RB.

The Rest of the List

21. Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers
22. Elvis Dumervil, LB, Broncos
23. Darren Sharper, S, Saints
24. Demarcus Ware, OLB, Cowboys
25. Randy Moss, WR, Patriots
26. Troy Polamalu, S, Steelers
27. Thomas Jones, RB, Jets
28. Jay Ratliff, DT, Cowboys
29. Darelle Revis, CB, Jets
30. Shaun Rogers, NT, Browns
31. Trent Cole, DE, Eagles
32. Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Raiders
33. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
34. Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts
35. Kevin Williams, DT, Vikings
36. London Fletcher, LB, Redskins
37. Steven Jackson, RB, Rams
38. Haloti Ngata, DT, Ravens
39. Jon Beason, LB, Panthers
40. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions
41. Donovan McNabb, QB, Eagles
42. Wes Welker, WR, Patriots
43. Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons
44. Brian Cushing, LB, Texans
45. Nick Mangold, C, Jets
46. Aaron Schobel, DE, Bills
47. Anquan Boldin, WR, Cardinals
48. Davin Joseph, G, Buccaneers
49. Antoine Winfield, CB, Vikings
50. Ed Reed, S, Ravens