Yesterday, the annual rankings of the NFL’s Top 100 players revealed players number 20-11, and with Pro-Bowl cornerback Antonio Cromartie not announced yet it seems doubtful that he will find a spot on the coveted list. Cromartie was probably the only New York Jet with the potential to be on the list. The fact that he is not on the list is just outrageous because it is not easy filling in the shoes of the best cornerback in the league, but when Darrelle Revis got hurt Cromartie played just as well as Revis did.
Last year, Cromartie shut down some of the league’s top receivers, including holding Larry Fitzgerald (Number 22 on the list) to just one catch for 23 yards. Playing against exceptional receivers, including Wes Welker, Michael Crabtree, Reggie Wayne, Larry Fitzgerald, and Stevie Johnson, Cromartie on average gave up just 0.2 touchdowns a game, proving that he can assert his dominance as a shutdown corner in the red-zone as well as the rest of the field.
So there is no doubt that Cromartie has the talent to be a member of the NFL’s top 100 players, but for arguments sake lets say that there were other players just as deserving. For example, some secondary players that made the list over Cromartie were Troy Polamalu (#91), Charles Woodson (#85), Brandon Flowers (#75), Tim Jennings (#69), and Patrick Peterson (#33). Out of this list of players supposedly ‘better’ than Cromartie, Polamalu, Woodson, and Flowers all didn’t make the Pro Bowl like Cromartie did, and Peterson all the way up at #33 was the 3rd string CB in the NFC, much like how Cromartie was the 3rd string CB in the AFC.
A counter-argument to this would be that the players who make the Pro Bowl are voted upon by the fans who are constantly watching the players perform, and besides, what do they know? They’re just watching all the Pro-Bowlers they vote for play every week, its not like they have an educated opinion or something of the sort. However, lets just say that Cromartie’s Pro Bowl appearance was indeed a fluke. The next best way to analyze defenders is by the stats they put up, which once again support Cromartie.
When comparing Cromartie to #75 Brandon Flowers, they both finished the year with 3 interceptions and 13 passes defended. However, when Flowers played receivers that are currently in the Top 100 list, on average he gave up 5 catches, 92 yards and 1 touchdown per game to the top receiver he was covering. Cromartie, on the other hand, gave up on average 4 catches, 52.4 yards, and 0.2 touchdowns per game against receivers in the Top 100.
These stats are phenomenal and when compared to Cromartie, #75 Brandon Flowers looks like a college backup. And somehow, now only is he on the list over Cromartie, but he is ranked SEVENTY-FIVE, meaning that at the very least he is 26 players above Cromartie!
The Pro-Bowl appearance and season stats don’t lie, but if for some reason you still think Cromartie is worse than Brandon Flowers and Troy Polamalu, there are most likely players on the list that play other positions that are less valuable than Cromartie. There is no way that players such as Dennis Pitta, Heath Miller, and Jacoby Jones are better football players than Antonio Cromartie, and yet they are on the list over Cromartie.
It is definitely safe to say that Cromartie was snubbed out of the Top 100, and now it seems that no New York Jet will make the list, putting the Jets in the same category as the Rams and Raiders, who also failed to have a player in the Top 100.