49ers begin run on NFL Network's 'Top 100 Players of 2014'

49ers begin run on NFL Network's 'Top 100 Players of 2014'
June 1, 2014, 12:00 am
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Colin Kaepernick accounted for 3,721 all-purpose yards and 25 touchdowns in 2014. (USATSI)

NFL Network's annual 'Top 100' countdown is underway for 2014, and three San Francisco 49ers players have been named to the list, scattered between Nos. 100-61.

The rankings are aggregated entirely by the votes of current pro players. There is no statistical basis, continuity, vetoed rulings or structured format of any kind. 

It's mostly a popularity contest featuring the hottest names in the league right now, peppered with veterans that have been playing at a high level for quite some time. 

To kick off the run of 49ers players, Colin Kaepernick checked in at No. 81, following his first full year as the starting quarterback. Kap found himself at the exact same spot in the 2013 countdown as well, when he relieved Alex Smith for half a season.  

Three-time Pro Bowl tackle Joe Staley came in at No. 75, which is three spots higher than he was a year ago. Staley has staked his claim as one of the more consistent and athletic blindside protectors playing the game today. 

All-Pro defensive tackle Justin Smith was named at No. 69 -- one of the more notable snubs on the list thus far.

Though Smith's play did not decline, he dropped 40 spots on the 'Top 100' list, after being named at No. 29 in 2013. 

Nos. 60-51 will air Wednesday on NFL Network, starting at 6 p.m. PST, when more 49ers players are sure to be revealed.