In case you haven't heard, the NFL Network is currently showing a series called the "Top 100 players of 2011". As the name suggests, it is a list comprised of the best players from 2011 as voted on by the NFL Players. Due to the lockout, it is the only new NFL-related news coming out. I have been watching since the first episode. It became blatantly obvious that the list was flawed when I saw Donovan McNabb on the list. You know, the quarterback that got benched for Rex Grossman after throwing 14 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. It got worse as Tony Romo placed 72nd on the list despite not playing most of the year due to an injury. Nevertheless, it is by no surprise that the rankings that got me most upset were the 2 Bronco rankings, but in particular Brandon Lloyd's.
2 Weeks ago, Brandon Lloyd showed up on the list coming in at 58th. If you didn't see the video, here it is. Now, when I first saw where Lloyd was ranked, I was not upset. In his first year of truly breaking out, 58 is a very good ranking considering nobody would have had him in the past 300 if it was based on the years prior to 2010. I thought it was a pretty fair rankings. What changed? Well last week on the top 100 show, Wes Welker and Dwayne Bowe showed up on the list at 50 and 45, respectively, ahead of Brandon Lloyd. I have a big problem with these rankings, particularly Bowe's.
There was no better wide receiver then Brandon Lloyd in 2010. He led the league in receiving yards, 2nd in yards per game, and was tied for 4th in receiving touchdowns. He also made his first pro bowl appearance. He had a year that most wide receivers only dream of having. So why is it that 8 other wide receivers rank higher then Lloyd on this list? Now, as I stated before, the list is obviously based upon more then 1 year as evidenced by the rankings of McNabb and Romo, but the ranking of Ndamakung Suh at 51 shows that last year did play a significant factor in the voting. The wide receivers that I would have ranked over Lloyd are Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, Reggie Wayne, and Roddy White. Nevertheless, the NFLN didn't ask me, but I still believe there is a legit argument that Lloyd deserves to be higher then Welker and especially Bowe. Dwayne Bowe has had a 1,000 yard season before, but last year was his career year. However, Bowe's career year was not as good as Lloyd career year.
In 2011, the stats for Lloyd and Bowe look like this.
Brandon Lloyd: 77 receptions, 1,448 yards, 18.8 average, 11 touchdowns
Dwayne Bowe: 72 receptions, 1,162 yards, 16.1 average, 15 touchdowns.
Some more interesting stats include:
Brandon Lloyd: 72 1st down catches, 93.5% 1st down rating, 23 receptions of 20+ yards, 9 receptions of 40+ yards.
Dwayne Bowe: 55 1st down catches, 76.4% 1st down rating, 19 receptions of 20+ yards, 4 receptions of 40+ yards.
Now, the one stat that Chiefs fans will point out is the touchdowns. Dwayne Bowe caught 4 more touchdowns then Brandon Lloyd, but in that instance, the stats do not tell the whole story.
Dwayne Bowe was the only real receiving threat in Kansas City. Bowe had the most receptions by far on Kansas City with 72. The 2nd person on the list was their tight end Tony Moeaki with 47 receptions, 25 less then Bowe. 3rd on the list was running back Jamal Charles with 45 receptions. Bowe caught 50 more passes then the next actual wide receiver which was Chris Chambers who caught just 22 passes. Basically, when Kansas City threw the ball, most of the time it was going to Bowe. They ran their pass offense, largely through him. That is why he caught so many touchdowns.
On the flip side, Lloyd played for a very pass happy Denver offense which featured 3 wide receivers (including Lloyd) catching more then 50 passes. Jabar Gaffney caught 65 passes for 875 yards and Eddie Royal caught 59 passes for 627 yards. As you can see, Lloyd was in a passing offense that was not run exclusively through him like Dwayne Bowe was. Lloyd had to share catches with 2 other wide receivers while Bowe was the only true wide receiver getting the ball for the Chiefs.
I'm not trying to take anything from Dwayne Bowe. He had a very good year last year, but I do not understand how he gets ranked above Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd had a better year in every major statistical category except touchdowns despite playing in a pass offense that was not run through him. Lloyd was the better receiver last year and should have been ranked above Dwayne Bowe. Lloyd deserves the title of the best WR in the AFC West if not the entire NFL in 2010.