Sports Inc. has released its annual ranking of the Top 200 players in the NFL. As Buffalo fans might have feared, the evaluations were not kind to the Bills. If you put much stock in the rankings -- and this is the judgment of a respected scouting operation -- it seems the Bills might have the least talented roster in the NFL.
There was only one Bill on the list. Receiver Lee Evans finished in a tie for 133rd. No other team had only one player selected among the elite 200. Detroit and St. Louis had two players apiece. Seattle was the only other team without a player in the top 120, though the Seahawks had five players overall.
The Cowboys, Ravens and Steelers led the way with 11 players each among the top 200. The Colts had 10 players, the Patriots and Vikings nine each. The Jets, Panthers, Saints and Bengals had eight apiece.
More bad news for Bills fans: The Bills play half of their games against the 10 teams with the most players on the list. They play the Pats and Jets twice apiece, along with the Ravens, Steelers, Bengals and Vikings. The AFC North had 34 players on the list, the most of any division. That's the Bills' intraconference matchup this season. They play all the teams in the AFC North.
Indy quarterback Peyton Manning was named the league's top player by the scouts. Houston wideout Andre Johnson was ranked second. Eight players were tied for third spot: Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis; Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware; Saints quarterback Drew Brees; Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald; Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas; Raiders corner Nnamdi Asomugha; Niners linebacker Patrick Willis; and Pats quarterback Tom Brady.
No running back was in the top 10. Adrian Peterson of the Vikings and Chris Johnson of the Titans were ranked in a tie for 11th. Of course, Buffalo rookie C.J. Spiller wasn't on the list, because it's too early to rank players who haven't appeared in a regular-season game.
A few former Bills were on the list. Jabari Greer, who left Buffalo as a free agent after the 2008 season, was a surprising 51st. Greer, who had a solid year for the Super Bowl champion Saints last season, was among the top five rated cornerbacks in the sport. That seems a tad high, but it also makes you wonder if the Bills would have been better off to re-sign Greer rather than draft Leodis McKelvin in '08.
Philly left tackle Jason Peters, another player the Bills didn't see fit to re-sign, was tied with Evans at 133rd overall. Redskins linebacker London Fletcher, still productive after 12 seasons in the NFL, was ranked as the 122nd-best player in the game.
Shane Lechler, the Raiders' Pro Bowl punter, was the only special teams player on the Top 200.
It's all subjective, of course, but the Scouts Inc. rankings reflect the dubious drafting the Bills have done over the past decade. Time will tell if some of their recent draft picks (Eric Wood, Jairus Byrd, Spiller) play well enough to work their way onto the list. Which Bill do you think belonged on the list? Brian Moorman, perhaps?