Five Saints players appeared on the NFL Network's "Top 100: Players of 2011."
Drew Brees was the highest ranked Saints player at No. 9 followed by OL Jahri Evans (No. 34), Vilma (No. 37), WR Marques Colston (No. 53) and OL Carl Nicks (No. 55).
Below are some notes on the rankings.
#9 Drew Brees
Brees was selected by teammates as one of five season-long captains in 2011 He started all 16 regular season games and NFC Wild Card playoff contest. He completed 448-of-658 (68.1%) for 4,620 yards with 33 touchdown passes and a 90.8 passer rating. He was the first Saint to be selected to three consecutive Pro Bowls since WR Joe Horn (2000-02).
Quarterbacks on the Top 100
Ranking Player Team #1 Tom Brady Patriots #2 Peyton Manning Colts #9 Drew Brees Saints #11 Aaron Rodgers Packers #20 Michael Vick Eagles #26 Philip Rivers Chargers #41 Ben Roethlisberger Steelers #52 Matt Ryan Falcons #72 Tony Romo Cowboys #86 Josh Freeman Buccaneers #90 Joe Flacco Ravens #100 Donovan McNabb Redskins
#34 Jahri Evans
Last season, Evans started all 16 regular games for the fifth consecutive season and opened one playoff contest. He has started every game since being drafted, now having opened 80-consecutive contests – the most for a Saints offensive linemen to begin his career and the second-most by a Saint overall. He is part of one of only two offensive lines in the NFL to start all 16 regular season game.
Offensive Linemen on the Top 100
Ranking Player Position Team #28 Jake Long Tackle Dolphins #34 Jahri Evans Guard Saints #39 Logan Mankins Guard Patriots #43 Joe Thomas Tackle Browns #47 Nick Mangold Center Jets #55 Carl Nicks Guard Saints #57 Andre Gurode Center Cowboys #59 Jeff Saturday Center Colts #67 Brian Waters Guard Chiefs #77 Chris Snee Guard Giants #79 D'Brickashaw Ferguson Tackle Jets #87 Jordan Gross Tackle Panthers #99 Chad Clifton Tackle Packers
#37 Jonathan Vilma
Vilma was elected by teammates as one of five team captains last season. He started all 16 regular season games and NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Seattle. He led the defense with tackles for the third straight year with 131 (69 solo), adding a career-high four sacks, one interception, four passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery on his way to being named to the Pro Bowl for the second-straight season and third time of his career.
Linebackers on the Top 100
Ranking Player Team #4 Ray Lewis Ravens #12 Demarcus Ware Cowboys #19 Clay Matthews Packers #21 James Harrison Steelers #23 Patrick Willis 49ers #37 Jonathan Vilma Saints #40 Terrell Suggs Ravens #49 Brian Urlacher Bears #62 Jerod Mayo Patriots #63 Cameron Wake Dolphins #82 LaMarr Woodley Steelers #92 Lance Briggs Bears #95 Jon Beason Panthers
#53 Marques Colston
Colston started 11 of the 15 games he appeared in last season and led the Saints in catches and yardage with 84 receptions for 1,023 yards (12.2 avg.) with seven touchdowns. He finished ranked sixth in the NFC and tenth in the NFL in receptions and ninth in conference and 15th in the league in yardage.
Wide Recievers in the Top 100
Ranking Player Team #7 Andre Johnson Texans #14 Larry Fitzgerald Cardinals #24 Roddy White Falcons #27 Calvin Johnson Lions #29 DeSean Jackson Eagles #31 Reggie Wayne Colts #32 Devin Hester Bears #45 Dwayne Bowe Chiefs #50 Wes Welker Patriots #53 Marques Colston Saints #58 Brandon Lloyd Broncos #61 Brandon Marshall Dolphins #70 Miles Austin Cowboys #74 Greg Jennings Packers #76 Santonio Holmes Jets #83 Mike Williams Buccaneers #84 Josh Cribbs Browns #91 Terrell Owens Bengals
#55 Carl Nicks
Nicks started at LG in all 16 games last season on his to his first Pro Bowl selection. He was part of an offensive attack that finished ranked third in the NFC and sixth in the NFL, averaging 372.5 yards per game. He is part of a line in which all five players have started 22 consecutive regular season games together (dating back to 2009) and four postseason games, the longest current streak in the NFL.