- Matt Williamson, ESPN.com
After watching games and breaking down film, Scouts Inc., in conjunction with ESPN.com's Matt Williamson, has evaluated and graded more than 2,500 NFL players heading into the 2012 season. Here's how the top 200 players stacked up.
Note: No rookies were included in this exercise. Age refers to player's age at start of 2012 season on Sept. 5.
In today's ever-changing NFL, it is imperative for every front office to constantly update the scouting reports and grades for every single player in the league. These reports, along with the player's college scouting reports, are saved to review over the years when deciding who to pursue in free agency and any other potential roster moves.
Much like in an NFL front office, with the 2012 Big Book you will find a comprehensive ranking of the top 200 NFL players, plus the top 50 players in each position group. Each player profile features a short synopsis of the player, as well as his 2011 stats and vital bio information.
Unlike a front office, we do not evaluate these players based on the specific team and scheme we work for. For example, a true 3-4 defensive end type is worth much more to a 3-4 defense than he is to a team that employs the 4-3. Instead, ours is a broader evaluation of the player as a whole.
With a list of this magnitude -- or, for that matter, any ranking -- there is much room for debate and controversy. Judging a guard against a safety is not an easy thing to do. And of course, quarterbacks carry more weight than say, kickers or fullbacks. But one thing is certain: Choosing the top NFL player overall in 2012 was very easy.
Rodgers has good size with excellent arm strength and athleticism. His vision, instincts and anticipation are tops in the league.
He has a quick release and can fit the ball into tight spots. He has excellent accuracy and rarely throws into coverage. He can avoid and improvise to make plays downfield. Rodgers has become an outstanding leader and is considered one of the best signal-callers in the NFL.
Brady's anticipation, accuracy and timing in the passing game are outstanding. He continues to work best from the pocket and rarely makes plays with his legs to move the chains.
His vision and ability to process information are second to none. He can pick apart defenses when given time to scan the field. He has great poise, intelligence, instincts and leadership qualities that make him one of the best QBs of his generation.
Brees is a dynamic playmaker with everything you want in a quarterback except height. He has an excellent understanding of the passing game and gets involved in game-planning.
He is quick to read coverages and go through his progressions, and he rarely forces the ball. He is very accurate both from the pocket and when scrambling to extend a play. He may lack a cannon for an arm but the ball jumps off his hand with good velocity and a high rate of rotation. He shows poise in the pocket and is a leader on and off the field.
Johnson is an outstanding combination of size, strength and athleticism for the position. His length and strength create mismatches in most NFL secondaries.
Opposing coordinators have to game-plan for him, and his impact is evident. He is physical with the ball after the catch and as a perimeter blocker. He wins most jump-ball opportunities and shows courage and concentration in traffic.
Revis continues to be one of the most durable and productive perimeter defenders in the league and had another excellent season in 2011. He has adequate size, outstanding athleticism and deceptive strength.
His anticipation and ability to jump routes are excellent and enable him to make big plays. Many offensive coordinators will game-plan to work the opposite side of the field to negate his potential game-changing performance.
Scouts Inc. and Matt Williamson ranks the top 200 players in the NFL in its annual Big Book. Aaron Rodgers leads a trio of QBs that tops the list.