The latest person to have a major problem with the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2011 is Darnell Dockett. The veteran defensive tackle from the Cardinals didn’t make the list, and he isn’t happy. He made that perfectly clear through one of his tweets on Wednesday. Here’s what he wrote: “I’m looking at this top 100 who picked this! RAY CHARLES! did they put Raji from GB in there and not DOCKETT! Smfh.”
Three things struck me about this tweet. First, I have to agree with the reference to Ray Charles. It’s difficult to believe that any player blessed with the gift of sight actually voted in this charade. From Donovan McNabb at 100 to Joe Thomas at 43, it’s been one head-scratching moment after another for the past six weeks. Second, Dockett might be the new E.E. Cummings. Just look at the typography in that tweet. Like the famous 20th century poet, Dockett shows no regard for the accepted rules of grammar. And finally, his complaint about B.J. Raji being on the list proves just how clueless most athletes are when it comes to fellow players.
How anybody could complain about Raji being on the list is beyond me. In fact, the only complaint should be that the former Boston College star isn’t ranked high enough. Based on how he finished last season, it’s difficult to believe there are 80 better players in the NFL. The 340-pounder became a difference maker for the Packers – two words seldom associated with a nose tackle. Raji had 4 sacks in the last five regular season games, and then for good measure, added another sack and returned an interception for a TD in the playoffs. Just as importantly, the 24-year-old became much more consistent against the run.
I’m no expert, but I feel safe to opine that general manager Ted Thompson wouldn’t trade his mountainous man in the middle for any other nose tackle in the league. Guys like Casey Hampton (Steelers), Vince Wilfork (Patriots), Paul Solial (Dolphins), Aubrayo Franklin (49ers) and Jay Ratliff (Cowboys) are very good, but none of them possess the Freezer’s unique combo of size, strength and athletic ability. I feel even safer to opine that Thompson wouldn’t trade Raji for Dockett, an overpaid 30-year-old coming off an ordinary season. So let me speak for Packer fans everywhere when I say, “THe helL WITH u DArnEll DoCKetT.”