Despite some very inconsistent quarterback play for the Arizona Cardinals in 2011, superstar receiver Larry Fitzgerald still had quite the season. He had over 1,400 yards receiving for just the fourth time in his career, deeming himself worthy of the 8-year, $125 million contract he signed. One can only imagine what a player of his caliber could do with an equally as good QB like Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees.
Still, NFL.com recognizes Fitz for the truly great player he is, as they named him the 7th best player in the league during the 2011 season yesterday. And to be honest, it could have even been a little higher.
Ahead of Fitzgerald on the list were some players that deserved to be there. The aforementioned Rodgers and Brees are both very key cogs to their football teams. Tom Brady is also one of the best quarterbacks the league has ever seen, so his fourth place ranking is justified.
But there are a couple of suspect choices. For starters, Darrelle Revis at number five seems a bit farfetched. Is he a tremendous cornerback? Absolutely. He is probably the best in the league. But if matched up against Fitzgerald (he will get the chance on December 2nd) I will take Fitz in the battle everyday of the week.
Also ahead of Fitz was DeMarcus Ware, outside linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys. Ware is a great player that truly knows how to get to the quarterback, but he often gets a bit more notoriety than he may deserve due to the team he plays for. If we are basing it off of stats, Jared Allen actually had a better season than Ware, as he had more tackles, sacks and forced fumbles. Fitzgerald is easily a more important piece to the puzzle for his team than Ware.
So if I were doing the rankings, I would actually have Fitzgerald around #5, and that comes without bias. Calvin Johnson had a better season than Fitz, so he deserves a higher ranking.
But if you are giving me the choice, I'll take Fitzgerald every time.