June 27, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVE
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CSNCalifornia.comPolls are like, um, opinions -- everybody's got one. And just about everyone is more than willing to share theirs with you.So what makes the NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2011 poll different? Well, for one thing, the voting was done by the players themselves. Players were asked to vote for a Top 20 of their own and the ballots were counted until a Top 100 list was reached.And while the Top 10 is still to be unveiled, the Raiders had three players listed among the Top 100. Unless, of course, punter Shane Lechler or placekicker Sebastian Janikowski somehow sneak into the Top 10 to up the number for Oakland. I kid, of course. Kinda...
The three Raiders listed - No. 98 Darren McFadden, No. 66 Richard Seymour and No. 18 Nnamdi Asomugha.Asomugha, of course, is the most intriguing choice, seeing as how the free agent has most likely played his last game in Silver and Black and will be among the most coveted when the lockout ends and the free agency period begins.At No. 18 overall, Asomugha is only the third highest cornerback, behind Green Bay's Charles Woodson, who checked in at No. 16, and the New York Jets' Darrelle Revis, who will presumably be in the Top 10, which will be unveiled next Sunday.Raiders fans will disagree, vehemently. And Denver receiver Brandon Lloyd presented Asomugha in the NFL Network vignette on the Raiders free agent which aired Sunday night."What makes Nnamdi so good is his intelligence, knowing splits, and if I'm lining up five or six yards outside the numbers, he's anticipating and breaking route," Lloyd said. "It's pretty remarkable the studying you have to do as a receiver to change those tendencies."If I'm running and breaking route and I cut my split down, coach is like, 'Why are you doing that?' I say, 'Because Nnamdi's going to do undercut my route.'"In citing Asomugha's size -- he's 6-feet-2, 210 pounds -- long arms, quickness and his ability to anticipate the snap, Lloyd called Asomugha a "stick-to-you-like-glue guy."The show said Raiders opponents attempted 470 passes against Oakland in 2010, with only 13 being completed against Asomugha. None for a touchdown.A highlight was also shown of former Raider great cornerback Lester Hayes greeting Asomugha before a game."You a monster, man," Hayes told a giggling Asomugha. "Son, you can play bump and run. I love how you play bump and run."In what was perhaps the most telling portion of the segment, though, former Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall needled safety Michael Huff when he came over to help Asomugha in a game."Ya'll going to play me like that?" Marshall shrieked. "You got Nnamdi. That's the best in the league. Damn."Raiders fans might be cursing just as loudly if and when he signs elsewhere.Part of the reason for Asmougha probably leaving will be the hefty raise Al Davis gave Stanford Routt and Seymour, who was listed as a defensive end, even though he played defensive tackle in 2010.As such, Seymour was the sixth defensive end listed, behind Kansas City's Tamba Hali (No. 64), the New York Giants' Justin Tuck (No. 60), Indianapolis' Robert Mathis (No. 44) and Dwight Freeney (No. 15) and, again, presumably, Chicago's Julius Peppers (Top 10).McFadden may have enjoyed a breakout season but was only the 11th running back listed, behind the 49ers' Frank Gore (No. 94), Houston's Vonta Leach (No. 65), Baltimore's Ray Rice (No. 56), Atlanta's Michael Turner (No. 42), St. Louis' Steven Jackson (No. 38), Kansas City's Jamaal Charles (No. 33), Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew (No. 30), Houston's Arian Foster (No. 25), Tennessee's Chris Johnson (No. 13) and, no doubt, Minnesota's Adrian Peterson (Top 10).So which Raiders were snubbed in the Top 100? Tight end Zach Miller, perhaps? Lechler and SeaBass?The poll made for good water cooler fodder in the lockout. So who are your Top 10? Still to be listed include quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, running back Peterson, receiver Andre Johnson, defensive end Peppers, linebacker Ray Lewis, cornerback Revis and safeties Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu.