How Many Packers Are in the Top 400?

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Aaron Rodgers

I just got Sports Illustrated’s NFL Preview 2017 issue. I’ve been reading the mag for over 50 years. They are a knowledgeable group, and one with no hometown bias. You are probably familiar with the top 100 ranking of NFL players; this year SI decided to numerically rank the top 400 guys in the league.

The Packers landed 11 players on the list – middle of the road. By comparison, the top two teams were the Patriots and the Chiefs, with 19 each. Below them were the Falcons, Bucs, Panthers, and Lions, with 16 apiece. The Titans, Broncos, and Eagles each had 15 on the list.

At the other end of the top 400 spectrum are the Bills, Browns, and Redskins, with nine, the Jaguars and Bears with eight, and the hapless Jets, with only five.

This is a good indication that you’re not going far in this league without a good bit of star power.

The Green Bay entries were: Aaron Rodgers (6), Mike Daniels (58), David Bakhtiari (63), Jordy Nelson (97), Martellus Bennett (143), Bryan Bulaga (145), Clay Matthews (154), Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (180), Morgan Burnett (200), Randall Cobb (209), and Nick Perry (226).

There’s a big gap after Perry, as no other player on the team was among the last 174 players named. Other than for Matthews, Clinton-Dix, and perhaps Cobb, most of the rest have slowly but steadily gotten better – testaments to the team’s “draft and develop” philosophy.

Wide Receivers

I paid particular attention to the wide receivers – and I think Jordy is under-valued, as he has been throughout his career. I’ve got no big problem with Julio Jones (9), Antonio Brown (10), Odell Beckham, Jr. (23), A.J. Green (33), or Mike Evans (70). Dez Bryant at 75, 22 slots higher than Jordy – I don’t think so. The same goes for Alshon Jeffery at 89. They at least have Jordy ahead of Larry Fitzgerald (108), Demaryius Thomas (109), T.Y. Hilton (115), and Julian Edelman (119).

Despite two off years, Randall Cobb gets a decent rating of 209, while Davante Adams is nowhere to be found.


This list, which contains a few surprises in my mind, goes: Tom Brady (1), Aaron Rodgers (6), Ben Roethlisberger (16), Matt Ryan (28), Andrew Luck (30), Drew Brees (37), Philip Rivers (88), Eli Manning (104), Matthew Stafford (117), Derek Carr (124), Joe Flacco (136), Russell Wilson (139), and Carson Palmer (155). I’d have Russell Wilson higher on the list by about 100. Big Ben ahead of Matt Ryan?

You probably know that the Lions just agreed to pay Stafford $27 million a year over the next five years. General manager Bob Quinn came to Detroit in 2016 after working his way up in the personnel department of the New England Patriots for 15 years. If SI’s ranking of Stafford is sound, this biggest-ever NFL contract will be the ruin of Quinn’s career, and one that will throw off the Lions’ budget – and prospects – for years to come. Quinn’s Folly!

The QB grouping looks more like a lifetime achievement listing that a current rating heading into 2017. Very few of the top prospects of the last several years have continued their ascent up the ladder, including: Derek Carr (124), Cam Newton (162), Jameis Winston (164), Kirk Cousins (261), Marcus Mariota (287), Andy Dalton (338), and Ryan Tannehill (347).

Last season’s diamond in the rough, Dak Prescott, comes in at only 223. The Vikings’ Sam Bradford gets no respect at 249.

Sports Illustrated’s playoff predictions are eagerly anticipated every year. We’ll weigh in on that shortly.

About The Author

Rob is currently twiddling his thumbs on Whidbey Island in Washington. He likes to do research, although he has no shortage of opinions. He saw his first live Packers game in 1958, the only win of the year.

6 Comments on "How Many Packers Are in the Top 400?"

  1. PF4L

    Bradford got robbed, he should have been ranked a lot higher, like 245.

    Rob, here’s another testament to the Packers “draft and develop” philosophy. From the 5 drafts 2009 through 2013, the Packers retained a total of 7 players. I’m not the sharpest pencil in the drawer, but that’s a retention rate of 1.4 players per draft. I’m not sure in whose world that indicates a successful draft and develop philosophy, but everyone should be comfortable in their own world….i guess.

    As far as Bob Quinn, i’m not a Lions fan, or a Bob Quinn fan, but he impressed enough people at a highly successful team that they catapulted him to the top in relatively short order. If you want to disrespect Quinn because you thought he overpaid Stafford, then so be it. But then, closer to home, tell it like it is when Thompson overpays players. The difference between Ted and Quinn is Quinn doesn’t waste roster spots for years when he makes a mistake drafting the wrong players, he doesn’t keep them around for years under the guise of draft and develop.


    It’s almost impossible for any such ranking to be truly accurate or please everyone.

    I’m a admirer of Mike Daniels — even as a Vikings fan — but, c’mon, he ain’t no #58 ! If you took the two best players from each team you are already at 64 players. A #58 is also a “for sure” pro bowler type. Daniels is borderline at best.

    I’d certainly rank Bahktiari and Jordy Nelson above Daniels. I would say he is the 4th best Packer.

    Matthews is on the Top 400 based purely on reputation. I’m not even sure he is in the top 11 of a poor Packers defense. OK, he is, but only because it is so poor. Literally Mathews would be a back up on the Vikings. Literally and for certain. And not because of the whole 3-4, 4-3 thing. Actually, he wouldn’t, because we’d have the sense to cut him and his crazy contract.

    So, 10 players in the top 400 who actually belong somewhere in there. If you do the math the average team would have 12.5 players on the list. No jokes about the .5 being a very short kick returner please. So, even with the misguided bonus of Matthews, the Packers are below average.

    How about the Vikes? Have not looked at the list but here is who should certainly be on there:

    Xavier Rhodes
    Harrison Smith
    Anthony Barr
    Eric Kendricks
    Linval Joseph
    Everson Griffen
    Danielle Hunter
    Sam Bradford
    Riley Reiff
    Kyle Rudolph
    Stefon Diggs
    Adam Thielen

    If you went by most recent performance — 2016 — then Terrence Newman and Joe Berger would also make the list. Fact is, though, at age 39 and 35 respectively, they are not going to get respect. Probably. Newman was the #9 rated CB last year and was actually #1 in yards allowed per defensive snap played (only just .57 yards per snap! Incredible! {I think Demarious Randle allowed 23.2 yards per snap or some such [haha]}. But SI likely imagines him falling off a cliff due to age. (Could be)

    So Vikings should have 12 to the Packers 10 (we can’t count Matthews now can we?) or 14 to 10 if age was not taken into consideration.

    Another consideration is the rookie crop. None of them make the list. It looks like Packers got somewhere between diddly and squat with their draft picks while the Vikings got an absolute hall of fame style bumper crop.

    • PF4L

      lol…Hall of Fame crop huh?

      How about taking that crop of Hall of Famers and try to at least get to the playoffs, then, if and when you get there, try taking the next step and actually winning a playoff game.

      This might help…get a good start to the season, maybe try to go 5-0. That almost guarantee’s a team getting into the playoffs…………………..almost.

    • PF4L

      lol…yea they would. Funny, an hour ago i was just thinking what if the Packers could get to the Super Bowl with the most udfa in the league.


    I did check out the list and, as I said, it would be impossible to please everyone or truly be accurate.

    That said: “Whatchoo say, Willis!??”

    They put Cobb on there, quite high actually, when he only got 600 yards last year and 800 the year before — in a pass heavy offense! He is the Packers #3 receiver and is ranked #209. The Packers #2 receiver, Davante Adams, goes unranked despite getting just 3 yards shy of 1000 and AND 12 touchdowns. This single example pretty much invalidates the entire list as a fraud.

    But wait, there’s more (in true infomercial fashion) — Kyle Rudolph of the Vikings was unranked. He is not really an unknown either having made the pro bowl before and being awarded the pro bowl MVP with a 5 catch 122 yard effort in a couple quarters of action. Last year Rudolph the Red-Nosed Tight End had the 2nd most catches of any TE and the 4th most yards of any TE and tied for 2nd most TDs for any TE in the NFL. Yet we have players like Martellus Bennett, not nearly as good, ranked in such unlikely spots as 143 overall when Rudolph was not ranked at all! Yes, welcome to bizarro world. Put another way, Rudolph, at TE, had 23 more catches, 230 more yards, and 3 more TDs than Cobb at WR in a pass heavy offense and Cobb makes the Top 400 but Randolph does not!

    SI has lost any semblance of legitimacy as per this list. Heck, Letroy GUION made the Top 400 !!!!!!!!!! The Falcons #3 WR, a waiver wire pick up, made the list but Adam Thielen with nearly 1000 yards (about 400 more yards than Gabriel) and, um, actually starting, did not !! Thielen, by the way, started only 11 games last year and still nearly made 1000!

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